The City of Houston is planning to channel federal funds for Hurricane Harvey-related housing repairs into $600 million for the repair or building single-family homes and $375 million to fix or build apartments.
According to a Houston Chronicle report based on a draft action plan, the city plans to draw on $1.15 billon in federal aid to rebuild housing damaged by last summer’s hurricane. Under the terms of federal aid, at least 70 percent of the funds must benefit families with no more than 80 percent of the area's median household income, which is roughly $60,000 for a family of four.
The remaining federal funds not being invested in building and repair will be divided among public services to help the homeless, homebuyer assistance, economic revitalization and administrative costs. Houston’s action plan faces public comment ahead of a projected June 27 city council vote and will then require the sign-off by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Even though a billion dollars is a lot of money, we know it isn’t enough to meet all of the housing needs in Houston,” said Tom McCasland, who leads the city’s housing department. “But the opportunity here is one we’ve never had before. It’s a big step toward a city where everyone has a safe, affordable home, in a thriving neighborhood.”
For the second consecutive month, Midland, Texas, has topped Realtor.com’s listing of the nation’s hottest housing markets. Boston, San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio, and Vallejo, Calif., maintained their respective second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place rankings from April into May.
New to the list’s Top 10 ranking were sixth-place Boise, Idaho, up from 11th place in April; eight-place Buffalo, N.Y., up from 17th place in April; ninth place Grand Rapids, Mich., up from 25th place in the prior month; and 10th place Fort Wayne, Ind., up from 30th place in April. Outside of the top five markets, the only holdover from April to May was seventh place Stockton, Calif., which ranked eighth one month earlier.
Realtor.com also noted there was a “slightly larger than usual seasonal increase in inventory” last month, with 557,000 new listings that represented an eight percent increase from April and two percent year-over-year uptick. But also rising were prices: The median listing price reached $297,000 in May, an eight percent year-over-year spike.
“Our latest inventory data confirms we’re in the thick of the hottest home-buying season on record, as the pace of sales nationally has officially reached a seasonal and historical high,” said Javier Vivas, Director of Economic Research at Realtor.com. “The frantic activity observed this month means homes are spending 32 fewer days on the market compared to six years ago, and 39 of the top 50 largest markets in the country are seeing the lowest days on market since we started tracking in 2012.”
Motto Mortgage has a new franchise in South Texas. Corina Cordova, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX United, has announced that her Motto Mortgage franchise, Motto Mortgage United, is now open in Harlingen, Texas.
“At Motto Mortgage United, we set out to create and innovate a better kind of local mortgage brokerage–one built on integrity, superior customer service, and mutual trust,” said Cordova. “Our customers appreciate the respectful treatment, honesty and sound advice we provide as a mortgage brokerage and we strive to offer the best loan options that suit the needs of our clients. My goal for Motto Mortgage United is to grow the office with a solid foundation of systems, technology and compliance, and through hard work and dedication eventually expand into other markets.”
Cordova has a passion for serving God, people and riding motorcycles. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Certified Commercial Investment Member Candidate (CCIM), Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), National Association of Realtors (NAR), Harlingen Board of Realtors (HBR), National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs (NACWE), Grant Professionals Association (GPA), CCIM Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter, Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), The Shields, a Law Enforcement and Military Veterans Motorcycle Club and involved in the Leadership at her church, The Collective Church RGV in Harlingen.
When it comes to one-way relocation among do-it-yourself movers, Houston has emerged as the top destination city in a new survey conducted by U-Haul. This is the ninth consecutive year that Houston has topped U-Haul’s annual report on migration trends, with the Texas city recording a five percent year-over-year increase in one-way U-Haul truck arrivals in 2017.
"We are an international city with a strong housing market," stated Matt Merrill, president of U-Haul Company of West Houston. "The cost of living remains relatively inexpensive. The average paycheck goes further in Houston. Many companies are relocating here and bringing jobs to our communities. With U-Haul helping move people to the next chapter of their lives, I'm not surprised Houston is the top destination city again."
Joining Houston in the top 10 list of destination cities was Chicago, Orlando, Brooklyn, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Austin, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Columbus. Houston’s top ranking mirrored an earlier U-Haul report that found Texas as the greatest growth state for one-way migration last year.
"If you drove through today, you wouldn't know Houston got destroyed by a hurricane," Merrill said. "There are a lot of people still rebuilding, but much of the damage is behind us. There are people everywhere lending a hand to help their neighbor."
Ben Caballero, a real estate broker in Addison, Texas, received recognition from Guinness World Records for the highest number of home sales in a single year.
Cabellero, the founder of HomesUSA.com, is no stranger to breaking records: in 2015, he became the first individual real estate agent to break the $1 billion production number. His new honor was tied to the sale of 3,556 homes through MLS during 2016. Caballero work with new homes sales for 65 builders in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio markets.
According to research conducted by REAL Trends, Caballero’s sales record for 2016 was seven times more homes than his closest competitor (467 homes) and totaled a new individual real estate agent sales record of $1.444 billion, breaking his 2015 record of $1.022 billion.
“Being named a Guinness World Record holder is truly the highlight of my professional career,” said Caballero. “It’s incredible that, until now, no real estate agent has ever been recognized for setting a world record for home sales. I am honored.”
A shrinking inventory and a decline in active listings did not stop the Texas housing market from enjoying a vibrant first quarter, according to new data from Texas Association of Realtors.
During the first quarter, 70,292 Texas homes were sold, up 2.2 percent from one year earlier. The median price increased 5.7 percent to $224,500 on a year-over-year basis, with 29.1 percent priced at $300,000 or higher, up 1.9 percent from one year earlier. However, sales of homes priced $299,000 and below saw a 1.7 percent slip from the same quarter last year.
The monthly housing inventory in Texas was 3.3 months in the first quarter, down by 0.2 months from one year earlier, while active listings dropped 2.9 percent year-over-year to 93,151 listings in the first quarter. Texas homes spent an average of 66 days on the market, only two days more than one year earlier.
“The momentum from the end of 2017 has moved into 2018, as Texas homes continue to be in high demand,” said Kaki Lybbert, Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “This strong activity we’ve seen in home sales volume during the first quarter of 2018 is setting the stage for a strong summer selling season for Texas real estate.”
Motto Mortgage, a member of the RE/MAX Holdings Inc. family of brands, now has two franchises in greater Houston. Newhomeprograms.com LLC Broker/Owners Cory and Milly Kammerdiener announced that their new Motto Mortgage Franchise, Motto Mortgage Borrowers First, is now open in Spring, Texas, a full-service real estate brokerage firm.
“Motto Mortgage Borrowers First gives our clients more options for mortgage financing not offered through local banks and lenders,” said Cory Kammerdiener. “Our market is very diverse, so we understand there is no such thing as one loan fits all. This is what makes Motto Mortgage Borrowers First a great fit for our local markets.”
Milly Kammerdiener said, “Our current real estate operations are growing by leaps and bounds due to the need for the various programs we offer. By adding more lending opportunities to our portfolio, we are going above and beyond what our clients expect.”
The median home price paid among Texas homebuyers in 2017 was $259,500, according to the new Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report issued by the Texas Association of Realtors. Within the Lone Star State, the median household income among homebuyers increased from $94,200 in 2016 to $101,400 last year; in comparison, the nationally median income of homebuyers was $88,800.
According to the report, the percentage of homebuyers who identified as African-American was eight percent in 2017, up from five percent the previous year. Seven percent identified as Asian, up from four percent, while those who identified as Hispanic remained consistent with prior years at 14 percent. The share of single female homebuyers decreased by three percentage points to 16 percent and while the share of single male buyers fell one percentage point to eight percent.
However, the percentage of married Texas homebuyers increased 2 points to 68 percent. The share of first-time homebuyers increased from 30 percent to 32 percent, while the median age of first-time homebuyers went from 32-years-old to 33-years-old. The median age for homebuyers in Texas increased for the fourth straight year as is now at 47-years-old.
“As we mark the 50th anniversary since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law, it's good to see diversity increasing among homebuyers in Texas,” said Kaki Lybbert, Chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Our diversity is one of our state's great strengths. Texas Realtors will be leading the way to make even more progress to ensure that homeownership is attainable for all Texans in all types of real estate transactions and at all price points.”
A Texas housing non-profit has filed a complaint against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) over what is described as a “prolonged, programmatic failure” to enforce civil rights obligations in Houston.
According to a CityLab report, the complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service. The complaint argued that HUD was aware in January 2017 that the Houston municipal government allegedly violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act in its refusal to forward the Fountain View apartment building proposal to the City Council. At the time, HUD investigated the matter and concluded the city’s actions were “motivated either in whole or in part by the race, color, or national origin of the likely tenants.” However, earlier this month HUD announced a voluntary compliance agreement between the department and the city that resolved the investigation.
“HUD fails to require Houston to conform its conduct to civil rights laws, including with respect to the placement of affordable housing,” the court challenge stated. “As a result, Houston remains the most racially segregated city in Texas, and one of the most segregated large cities in the country, while administering more than $30 million annually in HUD funding in a fashion that exacerbates and perpetuates segregation.”
HUD did not issue a comment on the litigation.
Angel Oak Mortgage Solutions has opened a new operations center in Las Colinas, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The new facility will replicate the functions of Angel Oak’s headquarters in Atlanta.
“With this new operations center in Dallas, we will be able to provide services to our clients as we expand our presence throughout Texas and the West Coast,” said Angel Oak Companies Managing Partner Mike Fierman. “The Dallas area has long been a hub of the mortgage industry and home to top-tier professional talent, making it the perfect place for Angel Oak to continue its growth as the national leader in the non-agency marketplace.”
Angel Oak will hire up to 30 professionals to launch its new operations center, with plans to increase those numbers over time. The 9,000-square-foot facility is located in the “Mustangs of Las Colinas” development.
Travis LaLonde, an industry veteran with 15 years of experience, will head the operations center.
“Angel Oak’s reputation throughout the industry is well-known and extremely well-regarded, and it has a very strong track record of success,” said LaLonde,. “But what I am most excited about is its ‘culture first’ mentality. Angel Oak’s commitment to bringing out the best in its employees is only matched by its commitment to its customers. We look forward to matching the success in Atlanta and becoming one of the top companies to work for in the Dallas area.”