Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is inflation coming? Old money thinks so!

On February 21, 2011, a headline in USA Today read: “For the Wealthy, Luxury is Back”
As a high-end Houston realtor with almost three decades of experience and a sharp awareness of the market, I would tend to say yes to the USA Today article. Judging by a recent housing trend initiated by Houston’s old money (or “dusty money,” as I like to call it)—we may be looking at some inflation in the market.

The dusty money is not interested in real estate speculation, and this trend is emerging across the country. All around America, people who are more dependent on portfolio returns than the ups and downs of the economy are buying big-ticket real estate as if a market reversal were in the works. It’s possible, of course, that these buyers are just seeing great values and taking advantage of them. But my instinct tells me that these buyers have seen this cycle before, and they’re protecting their money by investing it in assets that will appreciate.

It’s still nothing close to a bidding war out there, and the number of high-end real estate properties available is finite. But if you were to look at the big sales in River Oaks from 2010, you’d never know that real estate was in a slump. The difference in these sales is that the houses were priced not at bubble prices but at sensible market prices. This brought out the dusty money, a group that tends not to participate in market frenzies. Feeling comfortable in the current, realistic market—where marketing is done on the Internet and prices are solidly grounded in the interests of the consumer—the dusty money has emerged, tentatively heralding the beginnings of a real estate turnaround.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hopes for 2011

What am I hoping for in the 2011 real estate market? Read on!

I'm hoping that big banks will hire and actually train people to man their loan department. When you have a closing on the 30th of the month, they don't get to choose which month that will be in!! I sometimes wonder if they are all comatose. They need to get a few realtors in there to explain how they can make all these processes run more smoothly.

I'm hoping that when I say I am a realtor, people will not assume I was fired as a used car salesman and decided to take up real estate instead. If you're doing it right and working hard, this is a hard business!

I'm hoping that lending requirements will change only one time per year. No more weekly changes. Nobody seems to know what part of the government puts in the changes, and sometimes I think they are being made up by some group that wants to see what happens if you send out a bogus emails! Like the email from Nigeria with $1,000,000 in the bank! Could it be the same group?

I'm hoping that appraisers will actually turn down appraisals when they're not familiar with the area. When I had to give the appraiser from Sealy (nothing against Sealy) directions to Hunters Creek, well, I knew I was in trouble!!

Tanglewood: Free Tuition?


Memorial and Tanglewood are similar neighborhoods, but right now Tanglewood has a record number of homes on the market and Memorial has low inventory. This is because out-of-towners (not having the private school option) move to Memorial rather than Tanglewood.

Something to think about-Tanglewood has some great values right now.  You can pay a lot of private school tuition with what you'd save by living in Tanglewood and there are plenty of good private schools! 

Buyers need to take a hard look at this. As soon as a few of these homes sell, the market will start moving.