Every week, we ask a Houston real estate professional for their thoughts on the top three stories from the week before.
This week, we talked with Sissy Lappin, the broker/owner of Lappin Properties in Houston; Lappin has worked in real estate for 29 years and has closed on more than $500 million in sales.
Houston Agent (HA): We recently wrote about Census Bureau data that showed Houston to have the most active construction industry in the nation; are you seeing more new construction properties hit the market? And how do you think the market will change, with new construction returning?
Sissy Lappin (SL): Yes, I’m seeing more new construction properties hit the market, but I’m still not seeing a lot hit the market. And, land prices have gone up so much, and the “A+” locations went in the ’90s and 2000 to 2006; so the developers are having to get used to the “B-” locations.
You are seeing some great redevelopment in the city, though, in areas like Brooksmith. I think the next top area is Lindale Park. I love that area.
HA: Looking at Houston’s real estate market from a broader perspective, our recent feature on 2013 predictions for Houston generated quite a bit of buzz among readers; what are you looking forward to the most in 2013?
SL: Houston is booming. The big thing here is, we don’t have a state income tax, and there are so many companies whose employees have come up to them and said, ‘If there’s an opening in the Texas office, can I get transferred there?’ because they realize how expensive their state’s employment taxes are; I’m seeing a lot of people moving here from California. So Houston is going to be just fine through all of this.
We do have a bit of a housing shortage here, though. I hate to use the term ‘housing shortage,’ because sellers then think they can put any price on a house and it’s going to sale. But from what I’ve seen, real estate has gone from being an inefficient market to a very efficient market, because buyers have access to so much information. They’re on the Internet more than I am. They know when the sellers bet their dog. And so, sellers still have to understand that yes, it’s a seller’s market, but it must be priced to the market; otherwise, it will not sell. There are no genies out there.
HA: Finally, our report on how Gen Y homebuyers prefer amenities over square footage continues to attract attention; is that trend consistent with your Gen Y clients?
SL: They’re a cool group; they’re much more into quality of life. They’re almost bohemic.
As far as amenities, they don’t care if it’s an up-and-coming neighborhood; if they can throw their bike on the bus stop or the mass transit stop, that’s what’s most important to them.
The other thing I see is, they hold up in that neighborhood for as long as they possibly can; a few of them sell their homes because their children were in schools across town, and they wait until they’re losing their minds until they leave the cool neighborhood.