Texas

The Houston housing market has moved beyond the damage and chaos created by Hurricane Harvey in August
The Houston housing market has moved beyond the damage and chaos created by Hurricane Harvey in August, according to new data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR).
 
During September, single-family home sales in the Houston market rose by 4.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, offering a dramatic turnaround from a nearly 24 percent plunge in August. All segments of the housing market saw sales gains except for homes priced below $150,000. On a year-to-date measurement, home sales remain 2.3 percent ahead of the 2016 volume despite the hurricane’s disruptive impact.
 
Housing inventory for this market increased to a 4.1-month supply in September from a 3.9-month supply one year earlier, but it was lower than the 4.4-month supply immediately preceding Harvey’s arrival.
 
But Harvey had its greatest impact on leased properties: single-family home leases skyrocketed by 83.6 percent and leases on townhomes and condominiums soared by 92.2 percent on a year-over-year basis last month. The average rent for single-family homes rose by 7.9 percent to $1,886 while the average rent for townhomes/condominiums saw a 5.4 percent upturn to $1,601.
 
"I don’t think anyone expected to see home sales in positive territory this soon after a natural disaster of Harvey’s magnitude, but the September report speaks volumes about the incredible resiliency of the Houston real estate market,” said HAR Chairwoman Cindy Hamann. “We are still mindful of the terrible property losses suffered across the region and continue to urge anyone who may have housing available for those in need—for up to 12 weeks of occupancy—to please post it on our Harvey Temporary Housing page at HAR.com/TemporaryHousing.”

 
Hurricane Harvey has been estimated to have caused more than $150 billion in damages to Houston and the surrounding areas.
Hurricane Harvey has been estimated to have caused more than $150 billion in damages to Houston and the surrounding areas. One of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, its impact on the area will be seen for years to come. While billions in aid has been set aside to help in the recovery, Dixie Sanders, a Mortgage Loan Originator in the Sugar Land, Texas branch of HomeBridge Financial Services, is leading a relief effort designed to assist members of the community with their immediate needs. Dixie and her daughter Allison, both of whose homes incurred flood damage as a result of the storm, launched “Operation: Rebuild TX” from their hotel room as a way to help friends and neighbors begin the rebuilding process.
 
The simple goal of “Operation: Rebuild TX” is to provide victims of Hurricane Harvey with some of the essentials needed to start the rebuilding process. Through the resources raised from its crowdfunding page on the You Caring Web site and other efforts, Sanders, along with her staff and colleagues, have raised more than $50,000, which has been used to create more than 1,450 cleaning kits for residents to use as they return to their homes.
 
Other local businesses within the real estate industry who have also donated resources to Operation: Rebuild TX include Select Title and RE/MAX Fine Properties. Of particular note, Nimesh Patel, co-owner of RE/MAX Fine Properties, was incredible in bringing together his team of agents to support Operation: Rebuild TX.
 
“Even though my home was damaged, I fared better than many and I couldn’t just sit in my hotel room while friends and neighbors suffered from such horrific devastation,” said Sanders. “As a mortgage professional, I’ve made my career helping people finance the homes of their dreams, but as a neighbor, my goal is simply to help the people in my community return to their homes and get back to living a normal life as soon as possible.”
 
In addition to funding relief efforts through Operation: Rebuild TX, Sanders has put together a Facebook page with updates and details on what Hurricane Harvey affected homeowners need to know regarding FEMA home inspections, as well as information on ways to finance repairs or the purchase another home in the area. Among the resources found on the page is an explanation of the FHA 203(h) mortgage loan program, designed specifically to assist homeowners whose primary residence is located in one of the Presidentially-declared disaster areas affected by the recent hurricanes and tropical storms.
 
“A small upside of this tragedy the way our professional community has come together to help our neighbors in need,” said Sanders. “Hurricane Harvey is out of the national spotlight, but here in Texas, its ramifications are something we’re going to have to deal with for years to come and now is the time for neighbors to be there for one another.”

 
Gateway Mortgage Group has partnered with the Texas Veterans Land Board as the administrator over loan originations in the Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP)
Gateway Mortgage Group has partnered with the Texas Veterans Land Board as the administrator over loan originations in the Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP). Texas VLB loans are available to Texas residents who served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard on active or reserve duty. This program is designed to assist eligible veterans in purchasing a home by offering a low-interest rate loan and reduced downpayment requirements on houses located within the state of Texas. Disabled veterans and surviving spouses may also qualify for a further interest rate reduction of 50 basis points, or one half of one percent of the available Texas VLB Rate.
 
“As Gateway continues to expand, it is imperative that we maintain focus on our core values of strengthening communities through homeownership,” said Jared Edmonds, Vice President of National Correspondent Production for Gateway Mortgage Group. “We believe that this partnership with the Texas Veterans Land Board not only falls in line with our core values, but allows us the opportunity to serve our veterans who have served our country.”
 
Gateway’s Correspondent Lending Division, an arm of one of the largest privately held mortgage companies in the country, offers an array of programs, competitive pricing and a unique alternative to the correspondent channel for both financial institutions as well as independent mortgage companies.

 
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced its plans to provide support to Texas homeowners and low-income renters who were forced to evacuate their homes due to the storms related to Hurricane Harvey
The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced its plans to provide support to Texas homeowners and low-income renters who were forced to evacuate their homes due to the storms related to Hurricane Harvey.
 
HUD will assist the Texas state government and the local governments in the impacting areas by in reallocating existing federal resources toward disaster relief, with the department’s Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs being streamlined to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing. HUD is also granting a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured home mortgages, and it will make its Section 203(h) program for FHA insurance to disaster victims who have lost their homes and will need to either rebuild or buy new property.
 
Also being made available is the Section 203(k) loan program to help homeowners with property damage finance the purchase or refinance of a house along with its repair through a single mortgage; the program also enables a homeowner to finance the rehabilitation of their existing single-family home. HUD will also offer state and local governments federally guaranteed loans for housing rehabilitation, economic development and repair of public infrastructure.
 
“As FEMA begins to assess the damage and respond to the immediate needs of residents, HUD will be there to offer assistance and support the longer-term housing recovery efforts,” said HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.

 
While the Houston area continues to deal with the unprecedented flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey
While the Houston area continues to deal with the unprecedented flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey, a new data analysis from CoreLogic has identified a significant problem regarding the properties at the great risk of destruction.
 
The CoreLogic analysis determined that 52 percent of residential and commercial properties in the Houston metro are currently listed as being at either "High" or "Moderate" risk of flooding, but these properties are not in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But unlike properties within SFHA zones that are categorized as Extreme or Very High Risk and require flood insurance if the property has a federally insured mortgage, the properties located outside of the SFHA zones are not required to carry flood insurance.
 
On Friday, ahead of the storm’s making landfall, CoreLogic estimated that Hurricane Harvey would bring between $1 billion and $2 billion from wind and storm surge damage—but that sum did not include insured losses related to additional flooding or business interruption. The rainfall connected to the storm is expected to continue through Thursday.
While the Houston area continues to deal with the unprecedented flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey

 
The Lone Star State emerged as the nation’s leader when it came to housing appeal, with five Texas metros occupying the top 10 spots in WalletHub’s newly released listing 2017’s Best Real Estate Markets
The Lone Star State emerged as the nation’s leader when it came to housing appeal, with five Texas metros occupying the top 10 spots in WalletHub’s newly released listing 2017’s Best Real Estate Markets.
 
WalletHub analyzed 300 cities across 21 metrics, ranging from median home price appreciation to home sales turnover rate to job growth. Texas markets dominated the top of the list, with Frisco in first place, McKinney in second, Allen in third, Richardson in fifth and Carrollton in eighth. Allen was cited as having the nation’s lowest vacancy rate at 1.91 percent—Miami Beach had the highest at 36.47 percent—while Mesquite, Texas, tied with Seattle and three California markets (Berkeley, Sunnyvale and San Mateo) with the lowest average number of days until a house is sold, 36.
 
At the other end of the spectrum, Newark, N.J., ranked last among the 300 markets analyzed by WalletHub, and the city also had the highest number of days until a house is sold, at 186. Two other New Jersey cities (Paterson and Elizabeth) and four Connecticut cities (Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury and New Haven) were among the bottom dwellers on the WalletHub list.

 
The best place to flip a house is, to borrow a lyric from a classic Marty Robbins tune, down in the West Texas town of El Paso
The best place to flip a house is, to borrow a lyric from a classic Marty Robbins tune, down in the West Texas town of El Paso.
 
In a new study released by WalletHub, El Paso was named the best market for house flipping. Sioux Falls, S.D., placed second on the list, followed by Fort Wayne, Ind., Peoria, Ariz., and Oklahoma City. At the other end of the spectrum, Oakland placed last among the 150 metro areas analyzed for the study, which number crunched such factors as median purchase price, average full home remodeling costs and the local housing-market health index.
 
Among the specific criteria in the study, Pittsburgh recorded the highest average gross return on investment at 130 percent, while San Jose had the lowest at 22 percent. But Pittsburgh had the lowest share of home flips at 3.03 percent, while Memphis had the highest at 11.67 percent. Cleveland had the lowest median purchase price, $46,250, while San Jose had the highest at $654,250. And Seattle has the highest housing-market health index, 9.833, which is 50 times greater than New Orleans, the city with the lowest at 0.197.

 
Susie Stringer is a Senior Loan Officer at SecurityNational Mortgage Inc. in Round Rock, Texas, and President of the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals (CTAMP)
Susie Stringer is a Senior Loan Officer at SecurityNational Mortgage Inc. in Round Rock, Texas, and President of the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals Susie Stringer is a Senior Loan Officer at SecurityNational Mortgage Inc. in Round Rock, Texas, and President of the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals (CTAMP). National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently had the chance to chat with Susie regarding her involvement with CTAMP and the state of the housing market in the Lone Star State.
 
How and why did you get involved with the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals? Can you share the track within the association that led to your current leadership role?
Having been in the mortgage industry for more than 20 years, I was introduced to the CTAMP Board of Directors through an associate. Once I met this group, I realized what their goals were and what an amazing group of people they are, donating their time and energy for our association. It was an effortless transition to get involved and to share what I could of myself.
 
Why do you feel members of the mortgage profession in your state should join CTAMP?
Knowledge is power. We are a local chapter of NAMB—The Association of Mortgage Professionals, and they support and provide information and representation to the industry. We focus on teaching, while working to keep individuals informed on changes in the industry.
 
What role does CTAMP play in the federal and state legislative and regulatory environments?
As a trade organization, we are involved in both state and federal legislative issues, and we send our representatives to lobby each year. It is a very exciting time to be in this industry.
 
What do you see as your most significant accomplishments with the association?
While expanding our membership, we have been able to provide an extremely robust education program that addresses the day-to-day concerns of mortgage professionals. Our motto is: “Don't Wait, Educate!”
 
What is the synergy between CTAMP and NAMB?
We are a local chapter in the state of Texas, working with NAMB, and we have a fluid connection with them.
 
In your opinion, what can be done to bring more young people into mortgage careers?
This is still a tricky one, but I do believe it is an important subject. Young people need to have a way of integrating themselves into the mortgage field. Because the industry stepped away from paid mentoring programs as a result of heavy regulations, this may be a good time to revisit and revise that idea in order to attract a new wave of young mortgage professionals.
 
How would you define your state's housing market?
Very strong, steady and robust. 
Phil Hall is managing editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by e-mail at PhilH@MortgageNewsNetwork.com.
Susie Stringer is a Senior Loan Officer at SecurityNational Mortgage Inc. in Round Rock, Texas, and President of the Central Texas Association of Mortgage Professionals
Newcomers to the housing market will find more financially favorable opportunities in Texas and much, much fewer in California, according to new data from WalletHub
Newcomers to the housing market will find more financially favorable opportunities in Texas and much, much fewer in California, according to new data from WalletHub.
 
In an analysis of 300 cities using criteria ranging from housing affordability to real-estate tax rate to property-crime rate, WalletHub found the Lone Star State was home to four of the top 10 markets for first-time homebuyers: McKinney (number one), Frisco (number two), Allen (number three) and Richardson (number seven); another Texas metro market, Laredo, scored as the lowest cost-of-living index among the markets analyzed. Fourth-place Cary, N.C., was the sole coastal market in the top 10, while another North Carolina city, Fayetteville, had the most affordable housing options available.
 
At the other end of the spectrum, California dominated the list with seven of the 10 worst places for first-time homebuyers, with Santa Barbara taking the unhappy honors at the top of this sorry list. Santa Barbara also offered least affordable housing options (it was 12.7 times more expensive than Fayetteville) while Sunnyvale, Calif., had both the highest cost-of-living index (2.9 times higher than Laredo) and the lowest rent-to-price ratio (7.3 times lower than Detroit).
 
Honolulu straddled the best and worst lists with the lowest real-estate tax rate, 0.29 percent and the highest average energy cost per household, $455.51.

 
Half of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. can be found in Texas, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau
Half of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. can be found in Texas, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
 
In an analysis of the populations of cities with at least 50,000 residents between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016, the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas, was crowned the nation’s fastest-growing city, with a 7.8 percent growth spurt. In comparison, the national average for population growth during that 12-month period was a mere 0.7 percent. Other Texas cities experiencing rapid growth are second-place Frisco (6.2 percent), third-place McKinney (5.9 percent), fifth-place Georgetown (5.5 percent) and ninth-place New Braunfels (4.7 percent).
 
The remainder of the top 10 list were either in the South or the West: fourth-place Greenville, S.C. (5.5 percent), fifth-place Bend, Ore. (4.9 percent), sixth-place Buckeye, Ariz. (4.8 percent), seventh-place Bonita Springs, Fla. (4.8 percent) and tenth-place Murfreesboro, Tenn. (4.7 percent).