On the Move: Houston’s luxury market offers options for newcomers

The Houston real estate market has been experiencing an increase in sales volume, which has been largely buoyed by sales within the luxury segment (homes prices at $750,000 and above). This is according to HAR’s (Houston Association of Realtors’) June MLS report.

Meanwhile, the current inventory of available properties on the market has grown to its highest level since August 2017. So, for those moving to Houston, more available inventory means more options, including properties in the luxury market.

“I think there are several factors contributing to the strong sales in our luxury market,” explained Shannon Cobb Evans, HAR’s 2019 chair, and a broker associate with Heritage Texas Properties. “We have a strong economy, and an increase in inventory, which gives buyers more purchasing options, combined with incredibly low interest rates.”

She added, “I am actually closing on a luxury home this week, and my clients are getting a 3 7/8 percent interest loan, which was the icing on the cake for them.”

Vickie Driscoll, a sales associate with John Daugherty, Realtors, said that the additional inventory that she is seeing in the Memorial Villages, for example, really offers a lot of opportunities for buyers who are moving into this market.

“In the past, we have had less than six months of inventory, which is the number of months that it takes to deplete the current active inventory of properties on the market,” Driscoll said. “So, I think that the growing inventory is a very positive thing for buyers, because it gives them more properties to choose from.”

And while six months of inventory is generally considered a balanced market, Driscoll said that when talking about Houston’s luxury market, that it’s important to point out that it is very area-specific.

That means that within the greater Houston area, there are several areas and neighborhoods that are considered part of the higher-end market, but that each one is really a market unto itself, and inventory and prices can vary widely.

“Every neighborhood has nuances and different little things that come into play, and so it’s very difficult to speak in broad general terms about the market,” Driscoll said.

Likewise, it can be very difficult for out-of-town home buyers to be able to truly decipher market data and understand the different areas before they have had a chance to come here and see them and experience them for themselves.

Driscoll said that when evaluating several different Houston neighborhoods and areas, that home buyers need to be able to compare and contrast them in a way that makes sense for their needs and their lifestyle.

“I like to drive my relocation clients through the neighborhoods and talk about the amenities of each one. I show them different houses in each market, and then at the end of the day we compare what their dollar will buy in this neighborhood versus that neighborhood,” said Driscoll.

She added, “In Houston, people feel that they have a lot of viable choices based on where they will be working and where their kids will be going to school. Houston is a very positive city for home buyers who are moving here, and they are able to acquire a beautiful home at a reasonable price that is so closely located in town.”

Driscoll also said that it is very important for a relocation home buyer to work with an agent who has a lot of market knowledge and experience in the specific market area or areas in which the client is interested.

“I think it’s important to sit down with each client and listen to what it is that they are trying to find. Then I try to match them up with a property that will fulfill everything that they’re looking for in their price range,” she said.

As for advice for people who are moving to Houston right now, Driscoll said that they need to be aware of the many choices that they have in terms of areas, neighborhoods and properties.

“It’s very rare for me to be unable to find something that an out-of-town buyer will like,” Driscoll said. “It might be in West University or it might be in Tanglewood, but there’s always going to be a house somewhere that is going to fit their needs.”

Like Evans, Driscoll pointed to the consistent strength of the real estate market, combined with the plentiful supply of inventory, and a thriving local economy as key factors that are continuing to attract newcomers to Houston.

And for those looking to purchase a home within Houston’s luxury market, the good news is that there are many options and opportunities.

Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.

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