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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!

Almost 12 months after Harvey flooded over 200,000 homes in Houston, we continue to see remodeled homes coming on the market that are better than ever, yet they aren’t moving! When I spoke to one relocation agent last week, she said that only 1 out of 5 of her rental clients will consider a flooded home. Why are buyers and renters still reluctant to buy or lease a flooded home?

While I can blame some of the reluctance on the fact that many communities are still in the rebuilding process and neighborhoods are not yet fully restored to their former glory, I get the same response from many of my clients-they don’t want to consider a home that flooded. The big question that is looming in most people’s minds is what is the City or County doing to ensure that a flood of this nature will never happen again?

The $2.5 billion bond proposal vote that is outlined in the article below clearly identifies the flood control projects, confirming that the City of Houston and Harris County are making plans to prevent another Harvey. However, we need everyone to vote YES!  The projected annual increase to our property taxes is $5 a year beginning in 2020. I think it is worth sacrificing the cost of one Starbucks coffee to insure the safety of our neighborhoods!

See Article.

At Energy Realty, we are working hard to help neighborhoods recover and offering guidance to flooded home owners. The media continues to report that Houston home sales are at an “All-Time High”, yet I wonder if these numbers are skewed by the flooded homes that sold to investors. The Houston Chronicle reported that 1 out of 8 homes that sold six months after Harvey was a flooded home sold to an investor.

Based on what I am seeing in the Energy Corridor, Katy, and surrounding communities, homes are still taking longer than normal to sell, and prices are continuing to drop. Houston is a big city, so zip codes that were impacted by Harvey and the oil downturn have still not rebounded.

The good news is that relocation activity has picked up, and we are getting more calls daily about rentals. I am hoping to see a strong 4th quarter!

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