By Natalie Terchek
An article by CultureMap says Houston arguably has the best overall real estate market in the nation right now.
Residentially, sales are active, builders are constructing new houses and the inventory of homes for sale is the lowest it has been in many years. Commercially, rents are up and vacancies are down. Companies that want to be located in popular areas have few options because the best office buildings are mostly occupied. The CBRE commercial realty firm reported that vacancy in Houston’s Class A office buildings is at 8.8 percent, the lowest vacancy rate since 2008.
“It’s just good news all over,” said office leasing expert, Sanford Criner, of CBRE.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting reports that builders in the Houston area registered 27,000 single-family building permits for the 12-month period ending in August. This was the largest in the nation. Second place was distant Dallas (Little D) with 11,460 permits.
CultureMap says despite the dry spell, builders of inexpensive starter homes have shown recent signs of life.
“Much of the growth in new home activity has occurred in the upper price points over the last five quarters, though recently the lower price points have shown signs of growing demand,” said housing consultant David Jarvis of Metrostudy.
The Houston Association of Realtors reports that Houston’s existing home sales increased 14 percent from last year, and the inventory of homes for sale decreased 18 percent, dropping to a total of 39, 319.
Can anything go wrong for Houston?
Home sales have gone up, but it is still difficult to get approved for a mortgage. Home sales often fall through because appraisals come in below the aged-upon sales prices. Tax reformers are also continuing to talk about taking away the mortgage interest deduction.
Even though Houston has added 90,000 new jobs over the last year (many of which are energy jobs), these opportunities could be reduced because of environmental regulations.
While we don’t know what will happen in the future, we do know that Houston can enjoy being the leader of the market right now.
Sayeth Mark Taylor, senior managing director of CBRE’s local operations, said, “Compared to the rest of the nation, it’s good to be in Houston.”