Archives for March 2013

Why recent college grads should make Houston their home

Done with college?   Houston is a great place to move to, both for low housing costs and job availability.With graduation season approaching, college students are determining where in the country is the best place for them to live in, taking into consideration job availability, average earning income and cost of living. According to a report from business magazine Forbes, it doesn't get much better than Houston.Based on economic and cost of living data from a variety of sources – such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Rent.com – Forbes deemed Houston to be among the best cities new college grads to move to or stay in if they're already in the area. That's because the mean annual income for Houstonians fresh out of college is about $47,500, which is near to what the national median is for income-earners in the U.S. of all ages.In addition, it's relatively inexpensive to rent a unit if that's what college students prefer, with the median price at $800 for a one-bedroom apartment.Houston also boasts one of the country's lowest unemployment rates at 6 percent, almost two full percentage points lower than the national average.While recent college grads may not have the financial resources to purchase a Houston home right away, they have a better chance of affording one there than in other parts of the country. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University found that based on housing affordability data, Texas has routinely been a part of the country where cost of living is more reasonably priced than the U.S. average.
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Number of millionaire households nears all-time high

Hong Kong has the world's most expensive properties.Though not at its peak, millionaire households are becoming more common?across the country, new data shows.According to market research firm Spectrem Group, there are roughly 9 million households within the contiguous U.S. with a net worth exceeding $1 million,?after increasing by 400,000 last year. The number of luxury households are still below 9.2 million, which is a record high that was reached in 2007.George Walper, president of Spectrem, indicated that many people who were hit hard by the recession have been able to mount a significant recovery, largely because of the improvements made in the stock market.Recently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at the record level of 14,563.While Lone Star State residents know that Texas has its fair share of homes that qualify as luxury, particularly in the Houston real estate scene, they don't make business magazine Forbes' list of the world's cities that have the most expensive properties. At approximately $11,000 per square foot, that distinction goes to Hong Kong,?Tokyo, London, Paris and Moscow round out the five international cities where luxury properties are the priciest. The only domestic metropolitan area to make the list was New York City, coming in at number six.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Proximity to public transit aids home values, report finds

Public transportation may help fuel rising home values.While a nearby public transportation system may give city-based workers the ability to reach their workplace without a car, it may also suggest that their residence is worth more compared to homeowners who are far removed from one.The survey, which was conducted by the National Association of Realtors as well the American Public Transportation Association, found that during the recession, homes located near?public transit systems were an average of 42 percent more valuable than residences several miles away.Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, indicated that these properties are in higher demand because they provide prospective buyers with an easy access point to the city, which tend to have more job?opportunities.”Transportation plays an important role in real estate and housing decisions, and the data suggests that residential real-estate near public transit will remain attractive to buyers going forward,” said Yun. “A sound transportation system not only benefits individual property owners, but also creates the foundation for a community's long-term economic well being.”Approximately 42 percent of the nation, on average, is?located in relative proximity to public transportation systems. This includes Houston homes and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, which is expanding its services.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Houston population continues to multiply

Many people made Texas their new home last year.It's little wonder that the Houston real estate market has performed as well as it has lately, given the rate at which people have moved to Texas' most-populous city.According to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Houston registered some of the most significant gains in overall population from July 2011 to the same month last year. In addition to Los Angeles, New York and the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, each metro saw an increase in residents of more than 100,000 people.

Southwestern living appears to be what people are looking for in a new location. Of the 50 fastest-growing major metropolitan regions, 40 of them were in the South or West.The Lone Star State had significant representation in the Census report, illustrated by the fact that 11 of the 50 fastest-growing counties in the 12-month period were in Texas and nearly a dozen Texas counties were among the 50 counties nationwide that saw the biggest numerical increases in population.Since their arrival, many have purchased Houston homes. The Houston Association of Realtors recently reported that more than 4,400 single-family homes were sold in February and more than 5,300 when considering all property types.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Another stellar home sales period for Houston

Homeownership increased by 15 percent from last February, according to new housing numbers.Houston real estate sales in February were emblematic for how they've been operating for the past several months now, which may best be described as robust.According to the Houston Association of Realtors, housing sales jumped approximately 15.5 percent in the shortest month of the year when contrasted with the same period in 2012. That makes it 21 straight occasions in which home sales posted back-to-back monthly increases.As for how many Houston homes were purchased, HAR says that more than 4,400 contracts were signed and closed in February, with some of the most sought after residences valued at between $250,000 and $500,000.Danny Frank, HAR chairman, noted that how the market is playing out now is strikingly similar to what happened in the late-1990s, when demand outpaced supply. Currently, Houston has an inventory of 3.6 months.High demand and diminished inventory at the local level has been witnessed at the national level as well. According to recent data released by real estate broker Redfin, the only market that logged an increase in housing supply levels in February was Phoenix, rising 2.2 percent in year over year readings.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Redfin: February home values increase in all of U.S.’ major metros

Redfin: February home values increase in all of U.S.’ major metros

Baltimore, Maryland was one of the few places in which home sales declined in February.Home prices in some of the countries largest metropolitan areas surged by double-digit rates in the month of February, further fueling the notion that the housing sector is back from the brink.According to real estate broker Redfin, home values edged northward by 13 percent last month when contrasted with the same period in 2012 for 19 of the markets tracked. Prices were also higher on a monthly basis, up 2.4 percent from January.The market that saw the biggest upswing in home prices was Phoenix. Redfin data reveals that prices increased more than 30 percent year-over-year. However, the market that saw that largest number of properties purchased was Denver. Home sales in the Mile High City jumped more than 33 percent from February 2012. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Baltimore, where home sales eased approximately 13 percent from last year.The speed with which properties were purchased also trended higher this past month. The online real estate broker notes that approximately one in every three properties listed as for sale was under contract within two weeks of being advertised.The Houston real estate scene is known for properties being snapped up relatively quickly. A separate report also conducted by Redfin shows that Houston was home to the third-fastest real estate market between October 2012 and February 2013.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Real estate transactions swift in Houston

The home sales process doesn't take long in Houston when compared to other metro areas.If prospective homeowners are interested in purchasing a property as quickly and as seamlessly as possible, the Houston real estate market may be their best bet.According to new statistics released by national real estate broker Redfin, Houston is home to the third-fastest real estate market in the country. This was determined through the analysis of so-called “flash sales,” or transactions that went under contract in 24 hours or less. In the past five months, approximately 190 took place in the Lone Star State's most-populous city.Across the country, Phoenix led the way for flash sales overall, totaling nearly 550, followed by Chicago at 261. Fellow Texas locations Dallas and Austin rounded out the country's fastest real estate markets at 184 and 163, respectively.Houston homes have been in the news with great frequency as of late. ZipRealty recently described the city as having the second-most affordable housing market in the country, while cities like Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, San Francisco and San Diego are exceedingly expensive. Cost estimates like house price-to-income level, are far higher than the national average.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Homeownership well within reach in Texas, according to national brokerage firm

Austin, Texas is one of three metropolitan areas in the Lone Star State that made the cut for the most affordable U.S. housing markets.Of the 10 most affordable housing markets in the country, three are in the Lone Star State of Texas – including the Houston real estate market – a new report shows.According to housing brokerage firm ZipRealty, some of the best bargains to be found in the country's largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas are in Texas, according to a two-year analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau. The most?affordable?in the country is in Dallas-Ft. Worth, followed by Houston and Minneapolis. Meanwhile, Orlando and Las Vegas round out the top five.Lanny Baker, president and CEO of ZipRealty, pointed out that location is everything when it comes to home prices.”Purchasing a home is a major ticket item for people in any city, and yet our research clearly shows that housing affordability can differ vastly from one city to the next,” said Baker. “It is important for consumers to understand how housing in their local market tends to be priced relative not only to local income levels, but in comparison to other areas of the nation.”There's something about the Lone Star State that makes listing prices eminently affordable. Last year, Texas A&M University released a report, saying that Texas homes were as inexpensive, if not more, “by almost any measure” when comparing it to other parts of the country.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Texas’ unemployment rate remains in bottom-dwelling territory

Jobs became more available in January within the state of Texas.Texas continues to be one of the best states in the U.S. to live for people who work for a living based on the latest unemployment statistics.According to the Texas Workforce Commission, employers increased the size of their payrolls in the first month of January, adding 10,400 nonfarm jobs in January, putting the Lone Star State's unemployment rate at 6.3 percent. By comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate during the same period was 7.9 percent.Andres Alcantar, chairman of the TWC, noted that eight of the state's 11 major employment industries saw more net jobs in January, proving to be a great time for job seekers to send in their resumes.”I encourage job seekers and employers to visit WorkInTexas.com, or a local Workforce Solutions office, to take advantage of the quality services available to them,” said Alcantar.Once applicants land a position, they may want to consider the vast selection of Houston homes for a place to live at, a city that was declared America's “Coolest City” by Forbes Magazine last summer. The business magazine determined this after researching 65 of the countries largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas, taking into account where recreational opportunities, entertainment options as well as college and professional sports teams were the most prevalent.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

Mortgage delinquencies move lower in January

Mortgage delinquency levels edged lower in January.A new report suggests that many of today's homeowners are doing better with their mortgage expenses.According to Lender Processing Services, the total U.S. loan delinquency rate fell to 7 percent in January, down from 9 percent in December and from 8.3 percent during the same month in 2012. The delinquency rate refers to home loans where the payment is more than 30 days past due and the property is not in foreclosure.From a standpoint of raw numbers, approximately 3.5 million properties are delinquent by one month or more, with 1.5 million properties whose homeowners are in arrears by 90 days or more.Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada and New York, have the highest rate of loans that are non-current, while Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota has the lowest percentage, according to LPS.Were metropolitan areas detailed in LPS' analysis, the Houston real estate picture may have been on the latter list. Delinquencies were fairly infrequent in January for Houston homeowners, evidenced by a 12 percent decline in foreclosure property sales. The average price of a foreclosed home in Houston in January was $81,074.
Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.

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