November Newsletter

Looking for opportunities to give thankfully this season? Click on the banner to see a list of Houston area shelters in need of support.

The generous contributions of more than 260,000 sponsors make this work possible, Unbound celebrates more than 30,000 families in Asia, Africa and Latin America. CHRIS PROPERTIES has been a contributing sponsor since 2017. Will you join us?

Don’t let the current rates stop you from buying a home. Check out the Novus Rate Protection Plan:

  • Refinance within the next 5 years with no repeat lender or appraisal fees.
  • Close on your purchase by March 31, 2023, to take advantage of this opportunity.

Chris Fewell
Branch Manager — NMLS #874171
(346) 214-7163 direct
14100 Southwest Freeway #470
Sugar Land, TX 77478

Texas, California and Florida are the top states in the country for volume of homes sold to international buyers, according to a report from Texas REALTORS®.

 November Residential Market Insights:  Please click on the logo to learn more.

First-time homebuyers older and fewer than ever before by Emily Marek  November 03, 2022

First-time homebuyers account for the lowest percentage of buyers ever recorded, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Only 26% of buyers were purchasing their first home in 2022, a significant decrease from the 34% seen in 2021. Additionally, NAR found that the average age of a first-time buyer has risen by three years to an all-time high of 36 years.

“It’s not surprising that the share of first-time buyers shrank to the lowest level ever recorded given the housing market’s combination of historically low inventory, persistently high home prices and rapidly escalating interest rates,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insight at NAR. “Those who have housing equity hold the cards, and they’ve fared very well in the current real estate market. First-time buyers are older as a result of saving for down payments for longer periods of time or relying on a generational transfer of wealth to propel them into homeownership.”

NAR also found that the average distance buyers are moving has more than tripled, likely due to increased interest in small towns and rural areas. From 2018 to 2021, the average distance moved was only 15 miles. In 2022, that distance has climbed to 50 miles.

Updating for the holidays? Click on the picture to see our list of qualified service partners.

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

‘Massive Compression Play’ Begins Unrolling In Houston Office Market

October 27, 2022 Katharine Carlon, Central U.S. Editor 

“Rightsize” was the word of the day as Houston commercial real estate professionals came together to discuss how the long-awaited office shakeout is finally beginning to play out in a city already beset with one of the highest vacancy rates in the nation. Though Houston boasts a far higher return-to-office rate than most other cities, tenants are paring their spaces by as much as half as leases come up for renewal, flocking to tonier and more expensive buildings as part of the oft-cited flight to quality and relocating farther west. 

The industry has been bracing for this moment since the onset of the pandemic. But it is finally happening, and where Houston lands is still an unanswered question, according to panelists at Bisnow’s Office Market Insights event held earlier this month at the Houston Marriott West Loop by the Galleria. “The rightsizing — I mean, we’ve been talking about it forever, but people are actually doing it,” Savills Corporate Managing Director Lesa Nickelson French said, pointing to law firm Vinson & Elkins scaling down from 400K SF to 200K SF as one example.

November Mortgage News & Education: Courtesy of Forbes Advisor. Please click on the logo to learn more.

Housing Market Predictions In 2022: Will Prices Drop? Robin Rothstein Forbes Advisor Staff, Reviewed By Rachel Witkowski, Editor, Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Mortgage rates had one of the largest single da drops since 2009 on Thursday of this week. This, along with other consumer price data may provide signals that Fed policies are working to curtail inflation. If so, anticipated increases in mortgage rates may not have to be exercised, allowing buyers some relief. Please click on the Forbes Advisor link to learn more.

Home prices are beginning to show signs of cooling as buyers have pulled back due to mortgage rates doubling this year, which is starting to convince sellers to lower their sales price. However, the overall housing supply remains limited as those who purchased homes in recent years at low mortgage rates are staying put. Additionally, many sellers are waiting for interest rates to drop to have a better chance of getting the price they want. While home prices continue to climb from last year, the price points are not as high as earlier this year, indicating the over-heated housing market is slowing down.

Recent Home Prices and Market Changes – The median existing-home sales price in September was $384,800, up 8.4% from a year ago but down from the record high of $413,800 in June, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Still, the higher housing costs have taken a toll on home shoppers as mortgage applications are at their lowest level in 22 years, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). The current change in the housing market is partly due to the economy at large and consumer sentiment. Right now, the economy remains on shifting sands. On one hand, there are signs of a weakening economy as inflation reached a 40-year high of 8.2% in September. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its rate for the sixth time this year during a November 1-2 meeting in response to higher inflation. Fitch Ratings forecasts that the U.S. will enter a recession period beginning in Q2 2023. But on the other hand, the job market and consumer spending remain strong. The mixed economic signals have caused the housing market to be in a stagnant period.

Housing Market Predictions for September 2022 – Many housing insiders warn buyers against trying to time the market as the economy wades through this period of uncertainty. “Deciding to buy now or wait is going to depend on the individual buyer’s motivation and situation. Waiting may not be a viable option,” says Krista Forsberg, a real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty in Edina, Minnesota. “Even if a buyer can push pause on buying to later in the year or 2023, there isn’t likely to be significant improvement in prices or interest rates.” As we approach the end of 2022, housing experts maintain a watchful eye on the economy, which is still being pulled in all directions by stubbornly high inflation, rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine and Covid-19, to name a few.

While housing has been the star of the U.S. economy the last few years, there are signs of wear. For instance, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate hitting a 20-year high at 7.08% by late October, making it harder for buyers to access affordable housing. The amount of existing-home sales dropped 1.5% from August to September, marking the seventh consecutive month of declining sales, according to NAR. “Expensive regions of the country are especially feeling the pinch and seeing larger declines in sales,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in the report. However, Yun added that housing inventory remains near historical lows, which has held up demand when compared to other downturns and therefore, prices. “Despite weaker sales, multiple offers are still occurring with more than a quarter of homes selling above list price due to limited inventory,” Yun said. “The current lack of supply underscores the vast contrast with the previous major market downturn from 2008 to 2010, when inventory levels were four times higher than they are today.”

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November Texas Farm & Ranch News and Information: Courtesy of the Texas A&M Agricultural Law Blog. Please click on the logo to learn more.

Pasture, Range, and Forage (“Rainfall”) Insurance Deadline December 1 – Posted on October 31, 2022 by tiffany.dowell

The Pasture, Range, and Forage Insurance (PRF) deadline to sign up for coverage for 2023 is on December 1. Often referred to as “rainfall insurance,” this product can be a useful risk management tool for landowners and livestock producers. The product provides insurance coverage for grazing pastures, rangeland, and perennial forage acres. Essentially, PRF allows a landowner to insure a certain percentage of historic rainfall in the area where they own property. If the actual rainfall in the area falls below the insured percentage, the landowner receives an indemnity payment.

PRF may be purchased from any crop insurance agent. A good agent can help walk through the details of the insurance product and assist with the decisions that a landowner must make in the sign up process. The first step in analyzing whether to purchase PRF insurance is to determine the “grid” where property is located. The historic rainfall used to establish PRF insurance coverage is tied to specific grids, with each one being approximately 17-miles by 17-miles. Do note that land can be located in multiple grids depending on how the grid lines fall. Once a landowner determines the grid(s) he or she can use for PRF coverage, the USDA PRF Support Tool can be used to see the various choices available. The landowner can click on “Historical Indexes” and see the rainfall percent of normal in that grid for the last 74 years.

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

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