Q: What do you predict happening with third party aggregators, especially the Zillow/Trulia possible merger and anything with realtor.com, next year?
Robyn Jones: I think that those sites will continue to be places where Realtors need to advertise. I think it will change over time who is the most successful in the arena at any given moment, and I also think that recognizing that a lot of that aggregated information a lot of times because it’s not first party is collected and sold is not as important as realizing that your buyers and sellers are going there and you need to be there.
Q: Is the industry attracting more agents?
Robyn Jones: I think the a good real estate economy will always bring people back into the business. We had a great exodus of realtors and real estate agents when the market went flat. My major concern with new agents coming back on board is them being educated and understanding the marketplace to really be able to help a consumer. I’m always concerned when we start getting an influx of new agents because the consumer doesn’t know that you just got your license, doesn’t know that you’ve never sold a house, so I have some concern for the consumer with new agents coming in. We’ve got almost 29, 28,000 agents here in the Houston area. That’s quite a few agents. If you look at the crust of the business being done, it’s being done by 10 percent of the agents.
Q: What do you see happening with new construction?
Chaille Ralph: While construction has increased, it also trails the hot economy. In the past 12 months, the Houston MSA saw 60,705 new dwelling unit permits issues – both owner-occupied and rental properties. That equates to 2.02 net new jobs per new dwelling unit. Under normal conditions, it is assumed that a new dwelling unit is needed for each 1.25 to 1.5 new jobs. Simply stated, home prices and rents will continue to rise.