Increased production from OPEC, and a looming slowdown in the Chinese economy continues to keep oil prices depressed. Offsetting some of that bearish sentiment was data from the EIA that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week. However, at 454.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain near levels not seen for this time of year in at least the last 80 years.
Houston home values are still among the nation’s fastest growing despite the oil slump.
Houston ranks No. 8 among 36 major U.S. cities for having the fastest-growing home values. Home prices in the Bayou City grew 8.1 percent year over year in August, according to Zillow Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ZG), a Seattle-based real estate marketplace.
Although Houston home values are skyrocketing, homes are still cheaper than the national average. Houston ranks No. 12 among 36 major U.S. cities for having the most affordable homes. The average home value index in the Houston was $162,000 in August, according to Zillow.
More than a quarter of homes across the country lost value over the past year as some cities struggle to recover from the housing market crash of 2008. Houston was relatively unscathed from the Great Recession as the energy boom lifted the local economy and created hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Now, as oil prices plummeted to six year lows, how will the energy downturn affect Houston’s housing market. So far, Houston’s housing market has not been affected.
Featured in this Month’s Newsletter
- How are Houston Home Values Fairing amid this Oil Slump!
- Important Dates in October
- Weekend Get Aways -“Scarecrow Festival” Chappell Hill, Texas
- From the Broker’s Office
- The Gourmet Corner
Important Dates in October
October Birth Flower: Marigold – With their rich, autumn-colored hues, marigolds are the quintessential October birth flower. Early Christians called marigolds Mary’s Gold, and placed it by statues of the Virgin Mary. Brilliant and colorful, with a late-harvest warmth and a broad open bloom, marigolds signify affection and grace.
October Birthstone: Opal – The Opal birthstone meaning symbolizes purity, innocence and hope. The Opal has metaphysical properties of confidence, loyalty, faithfulness and happiness.
Weekend Get Aways – “Scarecrow Festival” Chappell Hill, Texas
Courtesy – Chappell Hill Historic Society
Dates: October 10 & 11
The Festival boasts more than 250 juried exhibitors (home décor, gardening, artists, craftsmen, jewelry, clothing, etc.), delicious country-style food, live entertainment and music, and tours of the historic community. A special Children’s Activity Corner provides pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, barrel train and more.
The Festival is hosted by the Chappell Hill Historical Society, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of the community’s history and historic buildings. The Society’s goal is to stage a high-quality, fun show in the downtown National Historic District. Our town is located among some of the most scenic areas of Washington County and boasts friendly people and a casual lifestyle. The festival area is Main Street, Poplar Street, and the property behind the Visitor’s Center.
2015 Entertainment Schedule
Saturday, October 10th – Chappell Hill Bank Main Stage
11:00 – 11:45 Abigail Taylor
12:00 – 12:30 Cloggers Unlimited
12:30 – 1:15 Abigail Taylor
1:15 – 1:45 Cloggers Unlimited
2:30 – 6:00 Julia Hatfield
Saturday, October 10th — Poplar Street Lot Stage
12:00 – 1:00 Wawel Houston – Polish Folk Dance Group
Sunday, October 11th — Chappell Hill Bank Main Stage
10:30 – 11:00 Wildfire Cloggers
11:30 – 12:00 Wildfire Cloggers
1:00 – 5:00 Providence Iron Works Band
Sunday, October 11th — Poplar Street Lot Stage
11:30 – 3:00 Trey Yenger Music
From The Broker’s Office – “Pricing Your Home to Sale!”
Like many homeowners, for one reason or another, you have decided to sell your home. However, before you can sell it, you have to first decide the “asking price”. Over the years, as a seasoned real estate professional, I have watched many clients agonize over this very complex and emotional decision. I’m delighted to report that with a clear understanding and the implementation of several key steps, this does not need to be the case!
Based on my many years of real estate experience, I have embraced several reliable methods to help make this decision a bit easier for my clients. I have found that the most important place to start is to first “detach” yourself from your home. Now, you may be asking, what does that mean to “detach” myself from my home? Well, now that you have decided to sale your home it meeans that soon this house will belong to someone else – which means it is no longer yours. The sooner you “detach” yourself – remove the emotions and accept that this home will soon belong to someone else – the easier it will be to come up with a fair and respectable asking market based price. “Detaching” allows you to be more objective about not only the asking price, but the sale condition of the home as well.
Once you have “detached”, you can proceed on pricing your home asking for a selling price which will be the highest price the market will bear.
A savvy buyer (and/or their Real Estate Agent) view numerous properties as well as do their research. Buyers quickly can analyze to determine if your home is over-priced or not. And if it’s over-priced they will move on or make an offer that may only end up insulting you. To assist sellers in determining the correct asking price, I provide them with an in-depth market analysis of comparable properties. This analysis is based strictly on homes that can be considered similar to yours, and has been specifically prepared for you.
A sage real estate agent will provide this analysis as part of their service. This “In-Depth” Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is divided into three categories:
- Similar properties that are currently listed,
- Similar properties that have recently sold or pending,
- Similar homes that failed to sell.
A review properties that are currently listed, will help identify exactly what options are available to serious buyers. Of course, we do not ever want to under-price the home either. This is a critical category to help determine the “best market price”. By looking at similar properties that are pending or recently sold, we can determine what prices homeowners have actually received for their homes. This is also the price point used by lending institutions to determine how much they are willing to lend a buyer to purchase a home.
While we naturally want top market value for your home, there is point where the asking price would be too high. By looking at homes that did NOT sell, we can use this information to help in determining that “too high” price point. Everyone likes and wants more money, which means many times sellers want to start their asking price on the “high side”, so they can attempt to make extra money on the sale of their home. But, depending on many factors, most importantly, the condition of the economy at the time you are putting your house on the market, this may or may not work. If the economy is weak and saturated with inventory, you will NOT be successful in finding a buyer who is willing to pay more than the comparable market price. If the economy is strong with low inventory, you might get away with it if it is an all cash transaction. Rarely have I seen this be the case.
Nevertheless, many times, I have honored seller’s wishes and agreed to their “increase the asking price above comparative market rate”, only to watch the home sit on the market for months with absolutely no activity whatsoever. After months of little to no activity the only options is reduce the asking price. As a result time and money have been lost that can never be regained.
By doing our homework together which means carefully studying the comparable property locations, features, and the terms under which they are offered, we can develop a clear picture of the potential market price for your property. And by you detaching yourself from the emotions attached to your home, we can determine an asking price that guarantees you will receive top dollar for your home in a reasonable period of time. Now, that can make for a very happy seller and buyer. Best of all, once the deal is done, you are well on your way to your next new home!
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 lollipop sticks
- 12 fun-size Snickers or Milky Way candy bars
- Prepared vanilla frosting
- Food coloring
- Black decorating gel
Optional decorations: Reese’s mini peanut butter cups, M&M’s minis, mini Chiclets gum and candy eyeballs
- Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Insert a lollipop stick into the small end of each candy bar. Divide dough into 12 pieces; wrap one piece around each candy bar. Place 4 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pans 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Tint frosting; frost cookies. Decorate with gel and optional decorations as desired. Yield: 1 dozen.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling
MAKES: 12 servings