Houston Heights Homes Sales Down

Filed in Neighborhood Home Prices by on November 22, 2010
Heights Homes Sales - Monthly Chart

Heights Homes Sales – Monthly Chart

Houston Heights Homes Sales Compared to Houston Metro

Houston Home Sales Stay in Basement is lead of Chronicle story on Nov 16, 2010: Houston-area home sales plunged last month compared with a year earlier when a federal homebuyer tax credit helped boost activity in the housing market.
October marked the fourth straight month of double-digit declines in single-family property sales.
This time, they tumbled 23.3 percent to 3,739 homes, according to the latest monthly data released Tuesday from the Houston Association of Realtors.
The single-family home median price — the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less – edged up 0.7 percent from one year earlier to $150,000. Last month, the median price was $155,000……

I am mainly a Houston Heights & Inner Loop Realtor, so Heights home sales is what I track and pay attention to. Here is a chart I keep for myself showing monthly sales of Houston Heights Homes (Single Family). I show sales looking better than last year for the beginning of the year. The homebuyer’s tax credit undoubtedly helped this. Then they fell off drastically.

What I find at my Sunday open houses is that people are still wanting to move to the Heights; they can still get loans (at least people with real jobs can get loans…self-employed people are a different story); but, they can’t buy until their home in the suburbs sells.
The good news? House prices are holding firm or edging up in the Heights.
The one area that has been hurt is new home construction. New home sales represent about 10-11% of sales the last few months; compared to 17% a year ago, and 20% the previous year. Builders have an extremely difficult time getting loans. Even if they want to build, they can’t. This in turn has killed land sales. The old adage of cash-is-king is definitely true if you are buying inner loop land.
I quit predicting when things might turn around. I’m just glad I live and work in Houston. I’m really glad that I live and sell homes in the Heights.
If you happen to be looking for a home, this link takes you to the HAR.com MLS Search MLS Search Area 9 will give you homes in the Heights, Garden Oaks, oak Forest and other Near North areas. Finding heights homes specifically is more complicated. There are too many subdivison names to do a complete searc. Do a map search, or just contact me.

Comments (4)

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  1. Josann says:

    Hi Rich,
    I am planning to renovate my 1905 bungalow in the Houston Heights. It’s on a 9873 sq ft lot (platted as 3 lots). It’s currently 1 bathroom 2 bedrooms, 1300 sqft. I’d like to add a master bath and closet, garage, and remodel kitchen. I plan to stay in the house for 8 to 10 years. Do you think this will be a good idea? I’m not looking to make money but don’t want to lose. Just want to be comfortable. Any ideas on resale value of renovated houses when there are many McVics in the neighborhood?

    Would really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks!
    Josann

    • Rich says:

      Josann, The answer to your question is real simple…it is definitely a good idea!
      A simple way to look at it is price per SF. Renovated 3/2′s are selling for an avg of $240/SF, for a 1600SF house on a 5000+SF lot. ($400K +/- $25K)
      Renovations are expensive in the Heights because of the detailed trim, high-end windows, oak flooring, etc. A cheap remodel won’t do. Make sure you match the look of your existing home.
      However, the renovation will be cheaper than the $240/SF selling price.
      The only caveat to this is location. If your house happens to sit between Shepherd and Durham, or is surrounded by commercial buildings, etc., it won’t be very desirable for future buyers. Other than that go for it.
      I’m like you. I have a small house on a big lot. The highest and best use is for a bigger home. This will be part of my retirement fund. I’ll do a major expansion, then sell and move to the beach.
      Have fun with it…Rich

  2. Elaine Hall says:

    Dear Rich: I need an answer ASAP!!!! We have the opportunity to purchase a friends house on Houston Ave, 7009. As it stands now, it is a two family..and needs major work, ie, Electrical, Roof, refinishing floors. The price to purchase would be cheap beyond your wildest dreams…But we would not be able to afford the renovations that would bring it back to a single family. Should we jump? We need a decision THIS WEEK!!!! Thank you. Elaine

    • Rich says:

      Elaine, “cheap beyond belief” is hard to pass up. I have a friend in First Ward who bought an 1890′s up-and-down duplex. He moved into one part of it (in very rough shape) while he fixed the other unit. He then moved into it, after beautifully re-done. He now has options; slowly fix it up and restore to a single family…or…and this is the option he is chosing because of finances…. rent half of it and save money for future renovations. So, you probably have more options than you think.
      So….I think I would go for it with one caveat. Remodeling a house is STRESSFUL! There is no cheap or easy way to do it. It is stressful on finances; it is stressful on a marriage; it takes twice as long as promised. It is fun, but stressful fun; like rockclimbing when you are afraid of heights.
      One more thought. Estimate finished value (Beautifully re-done with features/finishes “Heights people” like.) and compare it to your final cost of aquisition and update. Nicely done homes on full size lots sell about the same price as new construction homes: $220-$240/SF.
      Good luck. Let me know what you decide to do…..Rich