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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.

https://mailchi.mp/mays/real-estate-center-wins-gold-for-annual-report-calendar09-0418
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

https://mailchi.mp/mays/real-estate-center-texas-housing-inventory-hits-28-year-low08-0418
Boerne attorney elected vice chairman of Real Estate Center advisory committeeBoerne attorney elected vice chairman of Real Estate Center advisory committee2018-02-16T06:00:00Z

​​​​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Elizabeth “Besa" Robison Martin of Boerne was elected vice chairman of the Real Estate Center's advisory committee at its Feb. 9 meeting in Austin.

Martin, who succeeds W. Douglas Jennings, is an attorney specializing in estate planning, property management, and transactional operations. She is the owner of the ER Martin LLC law firm.

The Texas A&M University alumna earned a juris doctorate from St. Mary's University School of Law.

Her term expires in January 2021.

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.​

https://mailchi.mp/mays/boerne-attorney-elected-vice-chairman-of-real-estate-center-advisory-committee?e=[UNIQID]07-0218
Fort Worth Realtor elected chairman of Real Estate Center advisory committeeFort Worth Realtor elected chairman of Real Estate Center advisory committee2018-02-15T06:00:00Z

​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – W.  Douglas Jennings of Fort Worth was elected chairman of the Real Estate Center's advisory committee at its Feb. 9 meeting in Austin. 

Jennings, who succeeds Stephen D. "Doug" Roberts of Austin, is a vice president and principal for William C. Jennings Company. His father, William C. Jennings, served on the advisory committee in the 1980s.

The University of Texas alumnus is a member and past commercial chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, member and past governmental affairs chairman of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, member and past chairman of the Society of Commercial Realtors, and a member of the National Association of Realtors.

His term expires in January 2021.

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.

https://mailchi.mp/mays/fort-worth-realtor-elected-chairman-of-real-estate-center-advisory-committee?e=[UNIQID]06-0218
Researchers: 6.6 percent more home sales in 2018, builders wrestle with affordability restraintsResearchers: 6.6 percent more home sales in 2018, builders wrestle with affordability restraints2018-02-07T06:00:00Z

​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Texas single-family home sales should increase 6.6 percent in 2018, say researchers for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The experts’ overall 2017 housing recap, however, shows an industry struggling to meet the need for affordable housing.

While demand for Texas housing, particularly existing homes, continued strong in 2017, researchers say pronounced shortages likely will continue unless builders find ways to build homes priced less than $300,000.

“That’s a difficult task,” said Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres, “considering rising land cost and skilled-labor shortages.

“The state’s economic acceleration and employment growth bode well for housing demand. Prices should ease slightly as homebuilders stretch to build more entry-level and first move-up homes, generally priced from $150,000 to $250,000.”

Houston leads nation in permits

Texas single-family housing building permits increased 8.2 percent in 2017, but that was well below its 2006 peak. Permits in Dallas and Fort Worth increased 12.1 and 26.3 percent, respectively. Austin recorded similar permit growth at 12 percent. San Antonio permits slid in the fourth quarter but maintained a 16.3 percent annual growth.

Houston remained the national leader in single-family permits issued, despite posting more moderate growth at 3.4 percent.

Housing starts up slightly

Texas housing starts finished the year up 3 percent—slightly more than the 2.4 percent national rate.

In DFW, the building boom continued as single-family starts rose 10.8 percent, the sixth straight year of double-digit growth. San Antonio and Houston posted the strongest gains in single-family starts since 2014 at 10 and 8.2 percent, respectively.

“After spiking 29.5 percent last year, Austin maintained elevated single-family start levels, leading the state in per capita terms. Despite these supply-side shifts, builders struggled to meet single-family demand,” said Torres.

Single-Family Forecast chart 2018

Housing tightest in North Texas

Researchers note that market imbalances were especially evident in the months of inventory. A 9 percent drop in inventory in the second half of 2017 left only 3.7 months inventory available at year's end. Center researchers consider about six months a balanced market.

Homes priced less than $300,000 were particularly in short supply, with an inventory hitting three months.

The overall Texas monthly inventory of existing homes ticked up to 3.4 months, its first annual increase since the Center's data series began in 2011. The new home inventory held steady around its three-year trend of five months.

North Texas has the tightest housing supply. Fort Worth maintained the lowest inventories at 1.9 and four months for existing and new homes, respectively. Dallas followed at 2.1 and 4.4 months. Austin inventories showed signs of improving, surpassing 8 percent growth for both resale (2.1 months) and new home monthly inventories (4.7 months), respectively.

In contrast, inventory levels continued to decline in San Antonio to 3.1 and 4.5 months in the existing and new home markets, respectively. The supply of resale homes was similarly constrained in Houston at 3.4 months; the new home inventory remained more balanced at more than five months.

Despite hurricane, Houston sales match 2016

Total Texas housing sales managed 4 percent annual growth, outpacing the national rate for the second straight year. Sales increased uniformly statewide, rising between 3 and 4 percent in all the major metros except Houston. Sales in Houston fell during the summer months and after the hurricane but recovered enough to match 2016's growth rate of 2.6 percent

“In the new home market, disappointing fourth quarter sales volume drove Houston's annual growth rate below zero for the third straight year," said Torres. “On the other hand, positive year-end performance in DFW and San Antonio pushed their annual new home sales up 12.7 and 6.1 percent, respectively. In Austin, new home sales activity decelerated but maintained 6.1 percent annual growth."

Rapid price increase and supply constraints shifted the sales distribution away from homes priced less than $200,000. Homes in that price range accounted for 41 percent of homes sold through Multiple Listing Services. Every other price range posted double-digit annual growth, led by homes priced between $300,000 and $400,000 at 16.3 percent.

Existing home demand hits all-time high

​Texas housing demand remained robust. For the third straight year, the typical Texas home sold after 58 days on the market. Homes priced between $200,000 and $300,000 sold the fastest, averaging 52 days. Homes less than $200,000 averaged just over 60 days. Demand was softer in the top price range (homes priced more than $500,000), selling on average after 88 days, down from 118 days in 2011.

Demand for existing Texas homes reached an all-time high in 2017. Existing home days on the market remained historically low at 52 days. In Dallas and Fort Worth, the resale days on market was even lower at 32 and 34 days, respectively.

San Antonio's average existing home sold after 50 days, nearly half the average time in 2011. In contrast, the resale markets in Austin and Houston expanded for the second straight year to 43 and 48 days, respectively.

“New homes averaged 90 days on the market. The lack of new home inventory and rising prices challenged the Austin market, holding the new homes at 99 days. Despite higher inventory levels in Houston, new home demand was also soft at 95 days. New home demand eased in San Antonio, particularly late in the year, pushing them to 86 days. New homes sold fastest in Dallas and Fort Worth, averaging 82 and 76 days on the market, respectively," said Torres.

Austin's $266,775 resale median price tops in Texas

The health of the Texas economy combined with housing supply constraints to elevate home prices to record levels.

The median sale price increased by more than $13,000 to an annual average of $222,106, with home values appreciating across the state. Most of the price pressure occurred in the resale market, where the statewide median jumped 6.8 percent to $211,844.

The resale median price was highest in Austin at $291,904, but North Texas posted the largest percentage growth. In Dallas ($266,775) and Fort Worth ($210,100), the median resale price rose 9.3 and 11.9 percent, respectively, as single-family demand boomed.

Price increase was more modest in Houston and San Antonio, but they also recorded annual records with a median resale price of $216,467 and $199,583, respectively.

Read the Real Estate Center' 2017 housing recap and 2018 projections in the latest edition of Texas Housing Insight.

The Explosive Behavior Map shows a misalignment in North Texas home prices relative to their fundamental-based normative values. This behavior stretches south into Waco and College Station-Bryan. Recent price movements in the remaining major metros, as well as in Midland, also warrant careful attention.

The Explosive Behavior Map shows a misalignment in North Texas home prices relative to their fundamental-based normative values. This behavior stretches south into Waco and College Station-Bryan. Recent price movements in the remaining major metros, as well as in Midland, also warrant careful attention.

https://mailchi.mp/mays/researchers-forecast-66-percent-more-texas-home-sales-in-2018?e=[UNIQID]05-0218