As we rang in the New Year, optimism seemed to creep back into Houston. On December 31st, my phone started ringing off the wall again with people inquiring about homes for sale. It was like a light turned on, and everyone stopped holding their breath.
The elections are over, holidays are finished, and oil prices seem to be re-balancing in the $50-$55 per barrel, so Buyers are gaining confidence in the real estate market again.
The reports about Houston’s real estate market are confusing because on one hand, we hear that homes are selling and prices are going up. It is important to understand the segment of the housing market that remains strong are homes priced under $250,000. However, across the board, inventory levels rose and prices continued to drop in the higher price range. To be frank, 2016 was the toughest market that I have ever tried to sell a home in. If you were a Seller, you felt that pain as we all watched homes sit on the market for 6 months or more.
70,000 oil related jobs were lost in the last 24 months, and many employed in that industry faced the uncertainty of a lay off. While Houston’s economy does not rely solely on the oil industry any longer, this is a large segment that purchases homes from $300,000 and up.
As confidence in oil prices goes up, so will confidence in the housing market. With my newly expanded office in the heart of the Energy Corridor, I am looking forward to a healthy and productive 2017!