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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!

Who turned the lights on in January? According to a report of showing activity comparison of December to January on Centralized Showing Service, showings on active listings increased around 30% in the Houston metro area. The real estate market seems to be heading in a positive direction for 2019!

Oil prices also started the year off in a positive direction, and although the prices are still bouncing up and down, we are starting to see an influx of relocation within the oil industry again. In fact, relocation activity has been more active than I have seen in years. It is time that the Houston housing market heads in a positive direction.

Try not to be discouraged by the national reports talking about the national housing market hitting all time lows because again, our market does not typically parallel the national market.  On the other spectrum the Houston news continues to report increased sales and prices in 2018 that is not reflective in our days on the market and continued price drops, so I am still trying to understand this data. Perhaps the numbers are up because after 200,000 homes flooded, the market was inundated by investors purchasing flooded homes and displaced home owners moving.

Houston has always been a great market for investors, and Harvey brought even more investors in.  Unfortunately, some of these investors may be on the verge of foreclosure in 2019 because they over estimated the after flood value of these homes. While it appears that consumer confidence in flood areas is improving, we are still seeing 50% of buyers refusing to consider a “flood” home.

Appraisers and Realtors are having a hard time determining the diminished value of a “flood” home in neighborhoods where the entire neighborhood did not flood and some homes are not being remodeled to the standard that appeals to the average home buyer. Although I am a huge proponent of HAR (Houston Association of Realtors) and feel that they have one of the best MLS platforms in the country, we all need to appeal to HAR about adding a Harvey flood tab on MLS so that Appraisers and Realtors can at least gather the data effectively.

As a homeowner of two “flood” homes, I do not want to push values down,  I just want to understand it so I can advise our clients. I feel strongly that our values will come back as people realize again that the location of these homes outweighs the risk, and now these homes are better than ever. #houstonstrong.

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