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McCourt Real Estate Blog

Ask A Realtor - What's Really Going on in Texas Real Estate

May 2nd, 2009 7:39 AM by Caren McCourt-Crane

I'm a member of our local Permian Basin Board of Realtors.  To cal myself a "professional realtor" means that I'm not only licensed but I possess special certifications to be a Realtor in Texas.

Recently, the Texas Association launched a campaign called - Ask A Realtor.  Here are some facts about Texas Real Estate that I hope you'll find helpful:

What's Really Going On In Texas Real Estate?

Texas is a place like no other, and that includes our real estate market. Texas has steady home value appreciation. Sales prices in places like California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona have had rapid rises and drops in values, while Texas prices have remained relatively steady. 

From December 2007 to December 2008, Texas increased jobs by 1.5% while during the same time the national unemployment rate rose 2.3%.  Midland, Texas unemployment is still the lowest in the state!

Texas homes are affordable. People come here because their housing dollar buys a lot more. That’s why Texas is the most “moved-to” state in the country for the fourth consecutive year.

Texas Flag“In Texas, we’ve been fortunate to avoid many of the negative effects of the recession so far, but it’s clear we’ve not dodged them all,” said Brooke Hunt, president of the Texas Association of Realtors. “The question we’re all asking ourselves now is, ‘Will it hit us as hard as other places and when can we expect it to recede?’ ”

By account of the economic pundits, the answers to those questions appear to be, “No,” and “Soon.”

For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issued a report recently that cited the negative impact of the recession in the first quarter of 2009 for Texas. However, it also noted that the state’s long-term prospects remain healthy, primarily due to continued job growth, a fast-growing labor force, and a low cost of living and doing business.

Part of that low cost of living is, historically, Texas families have had more real estate buying power than those in other states. Data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University shows that, over the last four years, real estate markets in Texas have remained affordable. That’s one reason Builder Magazine cited Texas’ five largest cities as its top five “Healthiest Housing Markets for 2009.”

Job growth is also central to a healthy real estate market. Though Texas’ unemployment rate has increased in recent months, the Texas Workforce Commission shows it has been below the national average for 25 consecutive months and remains so today. In addition, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites the diversification of those jobs across many industries as an attribute of the Texas economy – one it did not enjoy in prior recessions

Hunt described another reason for Texas’ enduring real estate market: “In 1997, some criticized Texas as old-fashioned and out-of-date when we enacted one of the strictest home equity lending laws in the country. In fact, many folks wondered why Texas Realtors insisted on an 80 percent cap,” referring to Texas’ law that consumers can only borrow up to 80 percent of the value of their home through a home equity loan.

“What they didn’t understand is that we want Texans to be homeowners for life,” continued Hunt. “It’s a good thing that we didn’t follow suit with other states that allow homeowners to borrow as much as 125 percent of their home’s value in a home equity loan. Turns out many of those loans contributed to the national mortgage meltdown that we largely dodged in Texas.”

Posted in:General
Posted by Caren McCourt-Crane on May 2nd, 2009 7:39 AM

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