The booming housing market everyone keeps talking about in recent months doesn't necessarily mean people are buying. According to new figures published on the website zerohedge.com, the median asking price for rent in the U.S. rose to $736 in the third quarter, which is an all-time high. The same site showed that the rate of homeownership nationwide remained at 65.1% in the same quarter, its lowest level since 1995. While these numbers would seem to suggest that the housing market recovery is a bit overblown, that isn't what those in the real estate business are reporting. "I don't see the housing market tanking anywhere in the country," says Danny Frank, Chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors. "I see just the opposite."
Frank doesn't dispute the statistics, but he notes that looking at national trends neglects the most basic principle of real estate: all real estate is local. "It doesn't really matter what's going on in New York City or Las Vegas, Nevada," he tells KTRH. "Houston, Texas has the greatest job growth in the area and we're doing extremely well." Frank adds that he can even find different areas of Houston with disparities in home ownership levels and rent rates. The bottom line, he argues, is that the Houston economy is booming, and all of that job growth has created more demand for housing, which does lead to more renters. "We get people relocating to the Houston market, and they don't know where they want to live, so maybe they go find an apartment for six months," says Frank. "We're seeing a lot of that happen."
Many of those renters do apparently become buyers, because Houston home sales have surged in recent years. For those who are renting and looking to buy, Frank's message is simple: it's not that difficult to buy a home right now. "If you have a down payment, if you have the minimum three-and-a-half percent to get in, and you have at least a 700 credit score, I have lenders every day who will lend you money to buy a house," he says.