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West Houston Market on the Road to Recovery

Energy Realty just hosted the first annual Energy Corridor International Festival last weekend to help remind residents and local businesses why the Energy Corridor is a great place to live, work, and play. Overall, the festival was a great success as many local businesses came out and shared their food, culture, services and product on a beautiful sunny day, and the live performances and DJ created a lively atmosphere.

                This was a grass roots effort pulled together by myself and other volunteers, Amy Dukes of Energy Corridor Living Magazine and Barbara Denson, author of the Gary the Go-Cart series. As residents of the Energy Corridor, we have seen businesses and neighborhoods hit hard by first the downturn of the oil industry and second by Hurricane Harvey, and we want to revive this community again. Our hope is that this annual event will continue to grow every year and become as popular as White Linen Nights in the Heights.

                While driving through the neighborhoods that were hit hard by the release of the reservoir in 2017, I am happy to see that the neighborhoods have come back to life and are beautiful and pristine again for the most part.  As a result, the home sales in these neighborhoods and the Energy Corridor have picked up again, although the market still remains saturated with a 9 month supply of inventory.

                We are finding that in order to compete in a market full of remodeled flood homes that are often priced below pre-flood value, homeowners have to update and freshen their homes to sell, even if they did not flood. In 77077, there are 294 single family homes on the market;  205 in 77079; and 1147 homes for sale in Katy! That’s a lot of homes to choose from, so buyers can be picky right now.

                As the memory of Harvey slowly fades away and the neighborhoods look better than ever, the desire to live in the Energy Corridor will far outweigh the risks of flooding and this area will come back stronger than ever! At the same time, as oil prices continue to stabilize in the $60’s and are predicted to go up to $70/barrel in a year, the empty office spaces will start filling up again, and home values should follow this trend.

                There are great things happening in West Houston and I am excited to be in the middle of it!

Happy New Year! 2018 ended with more of a thud than a bang as both oil prices and the stock market dropped in December. The national media is predicting a potential recession in 2019, but I have to recall that typically the Houston economy and real estate market does not follow the rest of the nation.

I am optimistic that 2019 will be a good year for the real estate market in Houston. According to Market Watch, “Gasoline prices at the pump have dropped to their lowest in about a year and half, but could jump by 35% as soon as May, with output cuts by major oil producers expected to boost the price of oil, according to gasoline-price tracker GasBuddy.” While oil prices are not the only driver of Houston’s economy, it is our largest driver, so we should see our real estate market rebound as well.

In the article below, mortgage interest rates should also continue to rise to just above 5%. Please keep in mind, that the average interest rate in the last 20 years is 8%, so 5% is still a reasonable rate. Although the higher interest rate may affect affordability for some buyers, to put it in perspective, a 1% increase (4% to 5%) on a $350,000 home will increase the monthly payment by about $160.

A new year signifies a fresh start! The devastating affects of Harvey will continue to fade into a distant memory as the majority of flooded home owners have either remodeled and moved back home, or they have moved on. We should feel optimistic that a “Harvey” is not likely to happen for a long time, and the bond passed last August will put money into fixing the issues that caused this. Our neighborhoods are coming back better than ever.

At Energy Realty we have lots of big plans to not only assist our community in recovering in 2019, but also to maintain a competitive edge in real estate. It is a constant struggle to keep up with emerging technology, but we continue to stay on the cutting edge to provide the Best Move for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in Houston. I am also working with a team of innovative women to start a grass roots International Festival in the Energy Corridor this year to help revive businesses and interest in what I feel is one of the best places to live in Houston. Stay tuned as our plans emerge into what I hope will become an annual event.

Best wishes to all of you for an amazing 2019!

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