December Newsletter

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for allowing us to serve you this year. We know that without you, our work would not be possible.

Here is a list of some of the charitable organizations serving the greater Houston area that would welcome your support this Christmas season…

Covenant House – Covenant House provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness, helping young people transform their lives, finding a path to independence…

Star of Hope – A Christ-centered community supporting Houston’s homeless men, women and children. Encouraging positive life changes through programs in spiritual growth, education…

Houston Area Women’s Shelter – The Houston Area Women’s Center serves thousands of women, children and families each year escaping domestic violence, assault or trafficking…

Looking for a Lender, Title Company, Home Inspector, General or Specialty Contractor?
Click the picture to check out our list of qualified service partners…

HCADHomestead Exemptions: It’s that time of year again! Please click on the logo to access a link to the Harris County Appraisal District web page and find information for Harris County homeowners. Harris County currently provides a 20% optional homestead exemption to all homeowners. This means, for example, that if your home is valued at $100,000, the exemption will reduce its taxable value for Harris County taxes by $20,000 to $80,000. Surrounding counties may have different exemption amounts available. My suggestion is that you get this is information to your tax professional so that they can complete the form and apply for the exemption on your behalf and notify the county of a change of ownership if need be. FAQ’s include:

How do I qualify for a residential homestead exemption?

  • You must own and occupy the property as your primary residence on January 1 of the year for which you are applying.
  • Form, 11.13, is used to apply for a general residential homestead, the over-65, disability, 100% disabled veteran and the surviving spouse exemption. The form can either be mailed in or dropped off at our office at 13013 Northwest Freeway, or electronically submitted.
  • Fill out form 11.13, “Application for Residence Homestead Exemption,” on our website at FORMS > POPULAR FORMS, generally steps 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.
  • Using the HCAD MOBILE APP to apply for the homestead or over 65 exemptions is as simple as taking a picture of the front and back of your Texas driver’s license. Go to www.hcad.org > ONLINE SERVICES > HOMESTEAD to find more information and further instructions. To use the mobile app successfully, the name and address listed on your driver’s license must match the name and property address listed on your account.

What do I need to include with the application?

  • You must provide a copy of your Texas driver’s license or state issued ID with the same property address of the account for which you are applying. You can submit the temporary paper license with the application when you have updated your license address.
  • If the property is not listed in your name, include a copy of your deed with the application.

If you live in Fort Bend County, click here – https://www.fbcad.org/exemption-application/
If you live in Montgomery County, click here – https://mcad-tx.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Homestead-Exemption-Pamphlet.pdf

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

December Residential Market Review: Courtesy of Har.com. Please click on the logo to learn more.

HOUSTON — (December 8, 2021)Despite the Thanksgiving holiday, Houston housing never skipped a beat in November as buyers steered the market through positive territory even as inventory hovered at historically low levels. Renters also brought much-needed business back to the lease market following slight declines in October. According to the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) November 2021 Market Update, single-family homes sales rose 3.9 percent compared to last November, with 8,320 units sold. That is up from 8,010 sales in 2020. On a year-to-date basis, local home sales are 12.0 percent ahead of 2020’s record pace and up 22.2 percent versus 2019, the previous record-setting year. As in October, homes in the $500,000 to $1 million price range drew the greatest sales volume increase for the month, registering a 49.1 percent year-over-year gain. The $250,000 to $500,000 housing segment came in second place with a 26.2 percent rise. That was followed by the luxury segment, which consists of homes priced from $1 million and above. It rose 23.4 percent over its November 2020 level. The heavy volume of high-end buying and lack of inventory of homes under $250,000 pushed overall prices upward. The average price of a single-family home rose 12.6 percent to $383,807 while the median price rose 16.3 percent to tie the record high $314,000 it originally reached in June 2021. Sales of all property types were up 5.6 percent year-over-year, totaling 10,216, and total dollar volume for November jumped 20.6 percent to $3.7 billion. “Throughout the pandemic, the Houston housing market has been unpredictably strong and November was no exception,” said HAR Chairman Richard Miranda with Keller Williams Platinum. “We remain on track for a record 2021, and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) sees positive conditions for local employment going into 2022, which is good news for real estate.” In the November 2021 edition of The Economy at a Glance, GHP reported the following: “The region’s workforce continues to recover. Approximately 280,000 Houstonians (on net) dropped out of the labor force in the early stages of the pandemic. All but 55,000 have returned. Houstonians who stood on the sidelines are rejoining the workforce. Young adults coming of age are entering the labor market. And workers from other metros and other countries are moving here for job opportunities.”

Other HAR articles of interest

How To Build A Home Office Without Breaking The Bank
A Kitchen Remodel Worksheet To Help You Cut Cost
Green Bathroom Remodeling

  December Commercial Real Estate Highlights: Courtesy of BISNOW. Please click on the logo to learn more.

December 2, 2021 – Rebounding Retail Market Finds Franchise Restaurants Scrambling For Right Space  – Houston’s retail growth is no longer stymied by the coronavirus pandemic, but franchise owners eager to tap into the city’s traditionally friendly restaurant market and fast-growing population base are still running into a major roadblock: a lack of space. After months of well-publicized national restaurant troubles due to the pandemic and its resulting shutdowns, those franchises that survived are eager to get back to staking their claim in expanding cities — and many are eyeing Houston. Yet high demand and few turnkey spaces have left Houston real estate experts scrambling to place new brands inside the city. “We’re running out of places to put people,” Colliers Houston principal and Director of Retail Services Wade Greene said of his retail team’s struggle to keep up with the pace of entrants into the market. The pandemic, including the new omicron variant, still lingers as a disruption, but as operations begin to return to something resembling normal, retail brokers in Houston are facing a flood of restaurant franchise owners eager to jump into the recovering market. For Greene, the market is the most competitive he’s seen since he began at Colliers. Greene is seeing many new would-be franchisees, some of whom were laid off from profitable jobs in engineering or oil and gas last year, now looking to jump into the restaurant space. With so many potential applicants, corporate restaurants are becoming pickier, asking for personal financial statements on top of letters of intent from applicants. Similarly, landlords, jittery from losses last year, are becoming more selective about who they lease space to and are contemplating higher rents. Pre-pandemic, Greene says Houston was one of the top retail markets in the country, with occupancy levels as high as 96%. Though those figures dipped during Covid-19, the city has almost completely bounced back. A third-quarter Colliers report cites vacancy at 5.7%. At least some of that buoyancy is thanks to restaurant franchise expansion. Texas and Florida, the nation’s second- and third-largest states, are leading the country in terms of new locations, according to Restaurant Dive, with franchises flocking to take advantage of a pro-business environment, strong population growth and lax Covid-19 restrictions. More than 51% of the state’s food spending comes from restaurants, Restaurant Dive said, while its booming population meant just 14% of the state’s restaurants went out of business during the pandemic, just slightly above an average year. In addition, the Texas legislature passed a half dozen pro-restaurant bills earlier this year, including initiatives allowing alcohol-to-go at restaurants and grocery stores, tax-free Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness for franchisees and liability protection for businesses operating during the pandemic. Houston is now the gateway to breaking into the massive Texas market, Greene said, overtaking Dallas, which reigned supreme as the franchise go-to Texas city a decade ago. A mix of cultural appeal, sustained growth, affordability and pre-existing strong quick-service sales mean brands are looking to repeat the success other companies found already in Houston. Houston’s ethnic diversity is commonly cited by franchisees as their reason to come to Houston, and Greene said that the sheer variety of people in Houston means a concept selling meals with international flavors might find more success in Houston than anywhere else. This extends beyond restaurants. Greene pointed to one of his clients, a UK entertainment concept revolving around cricket, which normally could have a hard time breaking into the American market amid popular golf and football concepts. It’s looking for its first American location in multicultural Houston.
Beyond Houston’s ethnic diversity, with a quarter of Houstonians being foreign-born, brokers like Chris Reyes, partner at Shop Cos. point to Houston’s worker diversity. Houston is increasingly pivoting away from being a one-trade-area city dominated by oil and gas, and with its massive medical center, the city has more customers at a higher income bracket than other markets. Add in Houston’s geographical size, and Greene said he pitches franchisees with eight or 10 ways to roll out their entries into Houston. “Gone are the days of us being that booming oil town,” Reyes said. “People are really starting to look at Houston as more global.”

December Mortgage News & Education: Courtesy of thebalance.comPlease click on the logo to learn more.

Today’s Mortgage Refinance Rates & Changes, December 10th, 2021
https://www.thebalance.com/best-mortgage-rates-5114097

Additional Resources: Here are a few references that we have found helpful in understanding our markets and economy… 

  Giving Back: Courtesy of thebalance.comPlease click on the logo to learn more.

I want to bring your attention to our charity commitment, UnBound. Through the generous contributions of more than 260,000 sponsors that make this work possible, Unbound celebrates more than 30,000 children, elders and families in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chris-Properties has been a contributing sponsor since 2017. Will you join us?

Did you know that…

HAR.com is the most frequently visited public MLS site in the country, and these September 2021 numbers tell the story.

HAR.com2

HAR.com is YOUR site.

We wish you a wonderful holiday week with your family and friends!
Happy Thanksgiving!