The booming Houston housing market is getting so competitive that there are actual bidding wars breaking out for some homes. According to data from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, the median home price in Houston rose by 14% between August 2012 and August 2013, and the current inventory of homes is at its lowest point since 1990. Danny Frank, Chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors, says you can credit the local economy. "Houston is the best place in Texas to be right now just because of all the jobs and all the people moving here," he tells KTRH. "The homebuilders and apartment builders are building places to live as fast as they can, but it's just not fast enough right now."
The Houston market is unique, even compared to the overall housing recovery in places like Arizona, Nevada, Florida and California which were all crushed by the recession of 2008-09. Texas largely avoided any major impacts of that recession, with the exception of many homebuilders going out of business or reducing building due to declining demand. Now, those builders are frantically trying to catch up as economic growth in Texas coupled with low interest rates have created a surge in demand. "If you think about what's going on with the market, the inventory is shrinking and the prices are going up--and that's economics 101," says Frank.
For those who are looking to buy, there is no need to get into a desperate bidding war. Frank explains there are homes available, but savvy buyers need to come prepared. "You better have your ducks in a row," he says. "You better be pre-qualified if not already pre-approved (for a loan), that's a better way to go, that's like bringing cash to the table right now." Buyers also need to be proactive when navigating the real estate market, according to Frank. "Do your homework, know the area you want to move to, and stay on top of your realtor...because if (a property) comes on the market, I promise you if it's priced properly it's going to sell very quickly right now."