Real Estate Center Advisory Committee gets two new membersReal Estate Center Advisory Committee gets two new members2018-08-14T05:00:00Z

​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Troy Alley Jr. and JJ Clemence have been appointed to the Real Estate Center Advisory Committee for terms set to expire on January 31, 2023. 

Governor Greg Abbott has also reappointed Russell Cain to the committee.

Alley of DeSoto is executive vice president of Con-Real Support Group LP and division president of Real Estate & Capital Assets. He is a member of the Appraisal Institute and holds an MAI designation. He received a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas, a master of business administration in real estate from Southern Methodist University, and a certificate in real estate development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Clemence of Sugar Land is a pricing and fundamental specialist for Enbridge and is a certified internal auditor. She is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors, treasurer of Enbridge Leadership Development, and a communication officer for the Enbridge Professional Multi-Culture Committee. She received a bachelor of arts in accounting from Anhui University of Finance and Economics in China and a master of business administration from Baker University in Kansas.

Cain of Port Lavaca is a broker and owner of Russell Cain Real Estate. He is a member of the Texas Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, and the Port Lavaca Rotary Club. He received a bachelor of business administration from Texas A&M University.

Alley and Clemence are replacing Mario Arriaga and Jacquelyn Hawkins, whose terms expired.

The committee has three public members and one each representing residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Others represent real estate brokerage, construction, and finance. Each is appointed by the governor for a six-year term. The Texas Real Estate Commission is represented by an ex-officio member. 

The committee approves the Center's research plans and reviews findings. Members also approve the Center's proposed budget before it is submitted to the university.​

Real Estate Center wins two Bronze Quill AwardsReal Estate Center wins two Bronze Quill Awards2018-06-18T05:00:00Z

Two Bronze Quill Awards on black backdrop

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University has received two Bronze Quill awards from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Houston Chapter.

The Red Zone Podcast and the 2016-2017 Annual Report + Calendar both earned Awards of Excellence.

“The Real Estate Red Zone is a highly engaging and informative podcast that is a superb example of what a podcast should be: entertaining, excellent production quality, and leaves the listener wanting more," said one of the judges in the evaluation.

“The work sample is meaningfully produced, largely around Realtors' areas of interest," a judge said of the annual report. “Use of photography and design skills really enhanced the publication, making it appealing to the eye."  

IABC Houston announced the winners at its annual Bronze Quill Awards Gala in Houston.

Both the podcast and the annual report won Bronze Quill Awards of Excellence in 2016 and 2017.

Earlier this year, the annual report earned an international Gold Quill Award of Merit from IABC. Last year, the podcast and annual report received Silver Quill Awards of Merit from the IABC Southern Region.  ​

Land costs increasing Texas home prices Land costs increasing Texas home prices 2018-05-21T05:00:00Z

​​COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas' vast supply of land is legendary. Ironically, the rising cost of land is now contributing to the state's higher home prices.

“Historically, Texas' home prices have been comparatively low mainly because of the state's abundant supply of low-cost land," said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "In addition, the land-acquisition process — including costs of property titles, zoning requirements, covenants, deed restrictions, easements, right-of-way restrictions, surveying, and boundary markers — is efficient in Texas. Local platting and permitting have been quick and low cost."

At least as far back as 2005, Texans have enjoyed more affordable homes than U.S. residents as a whole and those in states with the largest populations.

Median Texas home prices trended upward from $106,000 in 2005 to $161,500 in 2016. That is lower than the corresponding nationwide median prices of $167,500 to $205,000. However, the price gap has narrowed in recent years because of Texas' higher price growth rates.

“Land accounts for an increasing portion of a home's overall price," said Dr. Ali Anari, Center research economist. “Land accounted for 20.4 percent of the cost of a single-family Texas home in 2016, less than the nation's 33.5 percent and less than the corresponding shares in the most populous states, namely California's 61.1 percent, New York's 31.2 percent, and Florida's 31.4 percent."

At the metro level, Dallas has the largest share of land as a percentage of home cost (29.4 percent), followed by Houston (25.1 percent), Fort Worth (22.4 percent), and San Antonio (15.2 percent).

“Texas' more affordable home prices have played a key role in the state's economic growth," said Gaines. “They attract more people and businesses from other states and result in more demand for goods and services, higher economic growth rates, and more jobs. These combine to attract even more people.

“But when land price growth outpaces home price growth, land cost accounts for a larger portion of overall home cost."

Read more about Gaines' and Anari's land cost research in “Dirt Isn't Cheap . . . Anymore: Land's Impact on Home Prices."

Real Estate Center wins gold for Annual Report + CalendarReal Estate Center wins gold for Annual Report + Calendar2018-04-18T05:00:00Z

​​​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University's Annual Report + Calendar has earned a Gold Quill Award of Merit from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

The Gold Quill Awards recognize business communication excellence globally and are acknowledged as among the most prestigious in the industry.

“I believe the skill and creativity of the Real Estate Center's communications staff are just as important as the knowledge, methodological rigor, and seasoned insight of the Center's research staff," said Center Director Gary Maler. “Research findings that are never disseminated for use in decision-making are ultimately of no value.

“I am thrilled at winning the fourth Gold Quill. It is just one more milestone confirming the Center as a world leader in both research and communication."

The Center's flagship periodical Tierra Grande magazine won Gold Quills in 1979, 1980, and 2016.

Awards will be presented at the IABC Excellence Gala as part of the world conference in Montreal in June.

In total, IABC awarded 258 entries from 13 countries with 94 Excellence Awards and 164 Merit Awards. According to an IABC press release, the feedback from this year's evaluators indicated that the standard of work in this year's recipients was some of the best seen in recent years.

Texas’ housing inventory hits 28-year lowTexas’ housing inventory hits 28-year low2018-04-05T05:00:00Z

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Recent U.S. Census data show Texas' population grew by more than 1,000 people a day last year. Many of those new arrivals may find housing options here limited.

A new Real Estate Center report shows the state had a 3.4-month supply of new and existing single-family homes for sale in February, a 28-year record low for the state. This means it would take 3.4 months for homes listed for sale to sell at the market's current pace. The Center considers a six-to 6.5-months supply a balanced market.

"Existing homes have been in short supply for a while," said Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres, who coauthors the Center's monthly Texas Housing Insight report. "The big difference is that now the shortage of new homes is more pronounced."

Statewide, new-home permits were down 2.6 percent in February even though they maintained upward momentum from last year, the report showed. Although Texas led the U.S. in permits issued and accounted for more than 17 percent of the national total, permits per capita remained more than 36 percent below the state's prerecession levels.

"Building permits peaked in 2007, and they've never come back," Torres said.

Meanwhile, housing starts were 39.5 percent below prerecession levels.

While demand for new homes is high, Torres said many builders are hampered by a number of supply constraints and new building regulations.

"The lack of land available for development has hurt new-home construction," he said. "There's a small supply of land for building new homes, and demand is high. That pushes up land prices and makes it more costly to build a new home."

Torres said land accounts for roughly 20 percent or more of the cost of new-home construction.

"If I'm a homebuilder and the land is expensive, for profit reasons I'm going to build a bigger, more expensive house," he said. "That's suppressing the lower end of the market."

Torres said high land costs are especially problematic for medium and smaller builders who might have less access to credit than the larger builders, making it harder to buy land.

Lumber and labor costs are also hindering new construction.

"The U.S. imposes tariffs on Canadian lumber, which adds to building costs," Torres said. "​Also, there's a shortage of qualified, skilled laborers. When the housing bust happened about ten years ago, many laborers left the construction industry. It's difficult to replenish them. Builders and subcontractors are struggling to find skilled laborers even with wages increasing."

Torres said new building regulations are causing difficulties for builders.

"​​New regulations increase costs, and those will be passed on to the consumer," he said.

Houston's city council passed a regulation this week requiring new homes built in the flood plain to be elevated. Torres said regulations such as these will be important because of the impact they could have on the new-home market.

The Texas Housing Insight report is authored by Torres, Chief Economist Dr. Jim Gaines, Research Associate Wesley Miller, and Research Intern Bailey Cuadra.

February 2018 Texas housing market statistics infographic