What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for Houston Real Estate?

This Week’s Federal Shutdown has brought many questions with it. While we don’t have all the answers to every question,  we thought we might share with you some of the answers we have. Remember that we are not experts but mere mortal Realtors.
1. How long will the shutdown last? Sorry, that is something that we cannot answer. However, if you have a crystal ball that is in working order, we would be happy to discuss purchasing or leasing it for our office.
2. How will this impact my buying or selling a home? What about getting a Mortgage?
The only concern that the shutdown brings to real estate is in relation to getting a mortgage. As far as can be ascertained at this moment by those we know in the mortgage industry and in various other fields, most home loans and purchases will be impacted slightly, if at all. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while federally owned institutions, are independent organizations that for most purchases will continue to function as normal.  On the other hand, the FHA and VA derived loans most likely will see some delays, as those agencies are federally operated.
3. Should I wait to sell or buy?
As Realtors we have seen the market grow hot over the last 18 months. Prices have risen, inventory has constricted, and interest rates have remained at the low end of historical norms even though we’ve seen them rise slightly. Before the government’s shutdown, we expected rates and prices to continue to increase.  Now may very well be the best time to buy and sell because we believe (oh where, oh where is that crystal ball?) the market in Houston will continue to see prices increase and  interest rates rise even further over the next year.  
4. When the government reopens will I win the lottery, and will there be peace on earth?
We don’t see that in the cards (oops, sorry, I meant crystal ball–hate to mix things up too much). However, we suspect it will never be less expensive to buy a home at historically low interest rates than now.
We are fortunate to live in one of the best economically performing cities in the U.S. The housing market is alive and well, and thousands of people are moving to Houston each month. This bodes well for real estate and for our economic future as a whole. Whether the Federal government reopens quickly or stays in slow down for a few weeks, we think that real estate in Houston will keep moving forward.
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