We’ve beat the last market peak! June sales jump 23 percent; in Houston, 13 percent

We’re back.

According to the latest figures compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Montgomery County has officially climbed out of the pit from the national collapse of the housing market, with June sales this year exceeding sales during the peak of the market in 2006.

A total of 937 homes, townhomes and condos were sold in June of this year – the next-highest recorded sales for a June in Montgomery County was 929. Houston very nearly reached the June 2006 market peak, with 7,924 homes sold this June compared with 8,628 home sold in June 2006.

County monthly  median price since 2006 Median prices likewise have clearly eclipsed the last market peak. The June 2013 median price was $238,200, compared with the June 2008 median price of $196,300.

It is a trend that reflects full recovery of the housing market – and by all indications the market continues on an upward trajectory.

Houston-area home sales continued to surge in June, especially in the area’s hottest housing markets like The Woodlands and Montgomery County, according to the latest reports from the Houston Association of Realtors.

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The continued strong pace of sales has been accompanied by an increase in median prices for homes and a decrease in the Days on Market.

Closed sales June 2012-2013 Sales jumped by 22.5 percent in June in Montgomery County – a percentage increase nearly twice that of Houston, where sales increased 13.4 percent. It is a testament to the value of the Montgomery County market relative to the Houston region. A total of 894 homes were sold in June in Montgomery County, as opposed to 730 last June. Year-to-date sales in June jumped 24.6 percent, from 3,184 sold as of this point last year compared with 3,966 this year.

          The strength in home sales continues despite rising mortgage interest rates and a slight cooling in employment growth, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. The Texas Workforce Commission reported that the greater Houston area added 91,600 jobs in the 12 months ending May 2013, which is down from 106,000 jobs and a 4.0 percent annualized rate for the 12 months endin  Days on Market YTD June 2013 g April 2013.

Virtually all areas of the county are benefiting from a steadily strengthening housing market, although in Conroe and northeast Montgomery County sales for June were flat compared with last June – an anomaly compared with year-to-date sales, where all regions of the county have improved.

“The Houston housing market plowed full-steam ahead through another month and most REALTORS® I know have never been busier,” said HAR Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties. “The fact that inventory has leveled off month-over-month suggests that we may finally be starting to see enough homes listed for sale to keep up with demand.”

The county and the Houston region continued to blow out previous home sales records as the area’s strong economy, job and population growth fuel continued demand for housing.

Jim Fredricks is a licensed Realtor® with The Chevaux Group PLLC – ReMax The Woodlands & Spring:

26113 Oakridge Drive, Suite D

The Woodlands, TX  77380

Phone: (936) 520-6098
Email: jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com





May home sales surge for Houston region, Montgomery County

Closed Sales May 2012-2013The county and the Houston region continued to blow out previous home sales records as the area’s strong economy, job and population growth fuel continued demand for housing.

May 2013 marked the second-best month for home sales in Montgomery County ever, with 911 homes sold; that is second only to June 2006, when 929 homes were sold during the market peak. It was the highest number of homes sold in May in Montgomery County ever, compared even with the market peak in 2006.Closed Sales YTD May 2013

The monthly sales represented a 23 percent increase over May of last year; that compares well with Houston, which saw a 28 percent growth in sales in May, year over year.

Montgomery County has seen nearly two years – 20 consecutive months – of positive sales each month over previous years. Houston has experienced 24 straight months of positive growth.

It all adds up to a dynamic housing market that gives no signs of slowing, despite modest increase in interest rates recently, according to Houston Association of Realtors Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties.

“The Houston real estate market has held to positive territory for two years running and you’d be hard-pressed to find a market anywhere in the U.S. as vibrant as ours,” Frank said. “We continue to see multiple offers on homes, in many cases before the ink has even dried on the listing agreements. There are also many cash offers. We need to carefully watch pricing, however. A disproportionate appreciation in home prices could suggest a bubble, and Houston is very fortunate to have avoided that so far.”

Houston’s and Montgomery County’s relentless surge in home sales continues to be fueled by further job creation, according to HAR, with the Texas Workforce Commission reporting the addition of more than 111,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Continued low interest rates have also made conditions more appealing for home buying, although rates have begun creeping up in recent weeks.

Median Price YTD May 2013The patterns of growth in sales, decreasing inventory, and median prices have been favoring The Woodlands, Conroe and southwest Montgomery County, but southeast Montgomery County and the Lake Conroe area saw the strongest increase in closed sales in May, and also year-to-date now. The two regions also lead in May with increases in median price; although year-to-date The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County, followed by Conroe northeast, continue to see the strongest price appreciation, with gains in median prices of 9.1 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

All of this growth in sales of course eventually will have an impact on the availability of housing and the pace of sales.


Days on Market YTD May 2013

                                                                                                                The average Days on Market (DOM) fell in each of the four regions of Montgomery County, with the stro

ngest declines being in what have been the two strongest markets, The Woodlands/southwest and Conroe/northeast. In The Woodlands/southwest, the average DOM now stands at 56 days.

Months of Inventory June 2013The amount of remaining inventory continues to drop as well. In The Woodlands/southwest, the remaining months of inventory available has fallen to just 2.5 months.

The only negative to be found in all of the data is the number of closed sales in southeast Montgomery County – there has been a decrease for that region both for May compared to last year, and for year to date.

Still, with all the pressure on growth – and the coming development of the latest segment of the Grand Parkway, passing along the south part of the county from near the Exxon/Mobil complex to U.S. 59 – it’s hard to believe that southeast Montgomery County won’t see a surge in sales eventually as well.


April sales jump 33 percent; county outpaces Houston region overall

Closed sales April 2012-2013

If you’ve been thinking it’s time to put your home on the market – you’re exactly right — and the numbers show it.

Homes sales and median prices continue to soar, according to the latest April sales data from the Houston Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County continues to outpace the Houston region as a whole in terms of closed sales and median price increases. Buyer demand for homes, and a dwindling supply, continues to improve the options for homeowners thinking about listing their homes for sale.

Median Price April 2012-2013Montgomery County home sales for April jumped 32.3 percent compared with last April, climbing from 535 to 708 homes sold. That compares favorably to the Houston region overall, which saw a 27.2 percent increase in homes sold for April, according to HAR. Homes selling between $80,000 and $250,000 registered the greatest increase in sales volume, according to HAR, and that tracks closely with Montgomery County, where the sweet spot for home sales hovers around $250,000 to $300,000.

The year-to-date numbers for Montgomery County are strong as well, rising 28.1 percent from 1,715 to 2,197 homes sold year to date in April.

List your home with me and we will make sure you get top value for your home

Days on Market, YTD April 2013With the inventory of available homes continuing to tighten, the result has been quicker sales and higher prices as demand for homes continues to grow, driven by population and job growth and low mortgage rates.

Meanwhile, within Montgomery County, The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County continue to lead in terms of overall sales, median prices and the Days on Market (the average number of days a home will be on market before it is sold). But other regions showed a surge in the pace of sales in April. The Conroe/Northeast county area saw sales jump 60 percent in April, for example, while Lake Conroe area sales rose 39 percent compared with last April.

Meanwhile, in terms of median prices, all areas showed an increase of 10 percent or better compared with last April, with the exception of southeast Montgomery County, which saw its median prices fall. Here is a full chart of the Montgomery County April 2013 MLS Statistics.

The booming Houston region economy – we were the last in, and the first out, of the national recession – will continue to drive demand for housing, and until homebuilders can put up enough new homes to respond to that demand the value of existing homes will continue to soar in many areas of the county.

Email me to request a comparative market analysis of your home


County, Houston housing market continues to beat prior year on sales, median price

Houston region home sales have been beating prior year sales now for 16 months according to the latest September sales data, and Montgomery County is no exception to that continued strength in the housing market.

In virtually every category of data – the average days a home stays on market, median prices, total homes sold — the picture for single family homes continues to strengthen in Montgomery County.

Of course, what is fueling this continued growth in the housing market is a relatively robust economy in the Houston region and record-low interest rates.

So how about you? This market presents good opportunities to buy or sell; please contact me for a free market analysis of your home, or to inquire about finding the right home.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors, even though overall monthly sales volume dropped slightly compared to August, there was enough sales activity to lower available housing inventory to levels not seen since March 2002.

According to the data:

  • single-family home sales rose 8.7 percent compared to September 2011;
  • Contracts closed on 5,014 homes in September;
  • Inventory dropped to 4.7 months
  • The single-family home average price increased 4.7 percent year-over-year to $220,992, the highest level for a September in Houston;
  • The median price—the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less—climbed 6.1 percent to $165,000, also a record high for a September in Houston.

“Demand for homes throughout Houston continues to outpace supply as we transition into the fall season,” said Wayne A. Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty, in a HAR press release. “For those considering selling a home, current market conditions present excellent opportunities, and with interest rates falling to new record lows, this also remains an outstanding time to buy.”

“For those considering selling a home, current market conditions present excellent opportunities, and with interest rates falling to new record lows, this also remains an outstanding time to buy.”

In many ways, Montgomery County’s housing picture is stronger than the Houston area overall. The county continued to see strong home sales for this year in September’s data, year over year, with 591 closed sales compared with 503 in September 2011 — an increase of 17.5 percent. For closed sales, it was the best September since 2006, the year home sales peaked in Montgomery County.

Total inventory stood at 5.2 months in September, again, the lowest amount of inventory on the market since late 2006, early 2007, when the inventory stood at 5.1 in several months of the year and dipped to 4.7 months once.

Other highlights:

  • Year-to-date closed sales rose were positive as well, rising 14.3 percent, from 4,496 by this point last year in September to 5,138 this year
  • The time homes spend on average on market (Days on Market) fell from 89 to 80 days on average for a single family home – a fall of 10.4 percent

Burrowing deeper into the data, it’s clear that The Woodlands dominates the market compared with the county’s other geographical areas.

Days on Market

Properties are moving faster in The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County, with an average days on market of just 68 days, compared with the average countywide of 80 days.

The Lake Conroe and northwest Montgomery County region had the highest Days on Market, averaging 104 for September.

However, the good news is that all four regions of Montgomery County saw the average Days on Market for single family homes decline

Median Price

Lake Conroe made the biggest gains in median price in September year to date, jumping 13.4 percent from $175,000 to $198,390; and as for comparing just September 2012 to September 2011, the median price in northwest Montgomery County and Lake Conroe jumped 40.8 percent, from $156,000 to $220,000.

However, The Woodlands and South Montgomery County continues to lead in median price overall, both year-to-date and for September monthly figures; The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County year-to-date media price stands at $228,000.

Closed Sales

The Woodlands also is leader in closed sales, jumping 30.9 percent in September from 275 last year to 360 this September. Lake Conroe and northwest Montgomery County saw the next-largest gains, growing 16.3 percent from 98 last September to 114 this September.

As for year-to-date figures, while The Woodlands had three times or more closings than anywhere else in the county, it was Conroe and Northeast Montgomery County that showed the strongest growth in closed sales, climbing nearly 23 percent from 548 last year to 673 this year.

Thinking of buying or selling a home? Jim Fredricks can provide you a market analysis for your home to see whether it makes sense to sell. He is a licensed real estate agent with Chevaux Group in The Woodlands. You may contact him at jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com

Being Strong

It is a sunny summer morning in The Woodlands, and attorney Bret Strong is looking relaxed in slacks and a dress shirt, his collar open and free of a tie as he talks about life, work and family in his office in Waterway One overlooking the  Waterway and its never-ending growth and development.

His office window affords a picture perfect view of The Woodlands, and it’s a view that Strong has rightly earned; after all, his business law firm, The Strong Firm P.C., has been a major player in many of the transactions and deals that have made the master-planned community the wonder of the Houston region.

With a brownstone located just down the Waterway, a growing business in the heart of The Woodlands’ “downtown,” and with a company whose name, as a sponsor, is associated with many of The Woodlands’ major endurance and fitness events, Strong should be feeling pretty comfortable these days –  and he is.

“The great opportunity I’ve been given, which I am blessed to have, is that I’ve been here since 1989 and I’ve been involved in this community,” Strong said. “I’ve been able to see this community grow through business transactions, and I’ve been involved in a lot of what you see going up around here.”

For Strong, being part of the team to bring a complex commercial real estate or oil and gas transactions to fruition is fulfilling. “You’re helping grow the economy and doing the things that need to be done to help this be the success it has become.” And unlike firms devoted to trial work and litigation, which Strong views as primarily “destructive” and a zero-sum process, his firm instead is devoted to handling transactions, trademarks, and other aspects of business law.

“It’s constructive. It’s progressive, it’s focusing on the future and growth and things that generally everybody’s pretty positive about.”

Strong was the first of his siblings to finish college, earning a degree in business from the University of Colorado in Boulder. Shell hired him straight from campus, starting him in its Traverse City, Michigan offices where he dealt with oil and gas contracts.

As he gained more experience in oil and gas production and exploration, Shell worked to continue his development, moving to positions with ever-increasing responsibility throughout the organization. He worked in Columbus, Texas, and New Orleans before coming to Houston in 1989.

It was at that point that Shell took another step in his career development, sending him to law school full time. He graduated from the South Texas College of Law in 1995.

Soon after, however, he was faced with a decision – to continue with Shell in its legal department, or strike out on his own in law.

Having made a number of contacts during his oil and gas work with Shell, Strong opted to launch a new career in business law, joining with Woodlands attorney Jack Stibbs and his firm, Stibbs & Burbach. Winstead acquired the firm in 2001, and in 2004 Strong decided it was time to begin his own firm.

Starting with just himself and a legal assistant, Strong has since seen his firm grow to five full-time attorneys and a total of 11 employees, “and we’re still growing,” Strong said. In fact, Strong recently exercised an option to expand his practice in Waterway One.

“When I moved into this space, I picked this space not only because of the view but because I knew I had expansion rights on both sides,” he said.

The first option, when that tenant moved out, enabled him to add on two or three offices and conference room; when the remaining space became available, he again exercised his option and then immediately subleased it to a client of the Strong firm.

That lease ended Sept. 1, and by October the Strong firm will “not quite double” its existing footprint, giving the firm, Strong said, “some elbow room and room for growth.”

And the growth prospects are strong. The Strong firm, as mentioned, has had a hand in a number of the major commercial transactions in The Woodlands over the last decade.

“We do a lot of work for the (Woodlands) township, and our energy related transaction work has been pretty busy.  And of course we work with a lot of developers in The Woodlands doing retail and office buildings, and we handle work for a lot of small- to medium-size businesses as well,” Strong said. “We’ll probably add another attorney at the beginning of next year.”

This would be enough to keep anyone busy, but Strong also finds time for his family: he is married to local CPA Angela Strong and they have an 9-month-old son, Luke, all the while maintaining a demanding fitness regime. (Bret also has two grown sons from a previous marriage.) Strong runs three times a week, swims two or three times a week, and heads out on the roads on Sundays for a long bike ride.

In January, this already demanding schedule will increase in intensity when he starts serious training for Ironman Texas – he has competed in three Ironmans already. Plus, he has run “four or five” marathons and numerous half-marathons and other events.

As crazy as this effort may sound, the truth is that his running, swimming and biking help keep him sane, he said.

Strong competes at the Kemah Olympic Triathlon

“When I get away from the office and go do a run or bike and think about stuff, that’s my clearing time, my decompression time; also, staying healthy is important in a high-stress position,” Strong says. “You gotta’ unplug and give your mind time to think.”

It is a demanding schedule, and not for the faint of heart. But growing up near South Bend, Indiana, Strong learned at a young age about the need for hard work. When he was just 4 years old his father was killed in a car accident, thrusting his mother into the role of sold breadwinner.

“My mother at the time had four kids all under the age of 10; my mom was a homemaker basically. She had no education past high school and had never had a steady job. She instantly became the main breadwinner of the family, and set a very good role model to show me you do what you need to do to provide for your family,” he said.

“She held all sorts of jobs.  She was a bartender, she worked at a jewelers, she did the census; I remember she was always working two jobs at a time.”

And as a result, there were no excuses for inactivity around the Strong home as a boy. His mother made certain he was constantly involved in productive activities at school, and throughout high school Strong competed in three sports, football, wrestling, and baseball.

“She taught me you are going to learn to be self –sufficient. There was no time for whining at all,” Strong said.

But it’s clear that all that focus and discipline has paid off, as Strong appears to be successfully managing the demands of family, work and community service.

With a Brownstone apartment just down the Waterway from his office, and owning his own practice, Strong enjoys the freedom and flexibility he has found.

“I may this afternoon go for a run at 4 o’clock, but I may be back on the computer either here or at home tonight;” he said. “There are times I’ll spend the whole night here to make sure things are on focus; and there are days I show up at 10 because I want to go for a run or do something with the family,” Strong said.

“I really love it, I feel I get the right level of leisure time and family time; I feel very blessed with what I’ve been able to do. When you can drive around and be involved in the community and see a little bit of your fingerprint in a lot of what’s going on, that’s very satisfying.”

Montgomery County June home sales soaring; need a nice country retreat?

The Houston area housing market – including Montgomery County – continues to soar to new heights based on the latest figures for June 2012.

In the Houston region June marked the 13th straight month of positive home sales, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

According to the latest monthly data prepared by the Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR), single-family home sales rose 14.4 percent compared to June 2011. The month also saw local housing inventory hold to its lowest level in more than five years.

And Montgomery County specifically saw strong numbers for June – eclipsing the numbers for the Houston region overall. Here are some of the highlights for Montgomery County:

  • Closed single-family home sales rose 17.3 percent for June 2012, growing from 635 sales in June last year to 745;
  • Year-to-date numbers are strong as well; year-to-date sales in June rose 15.1 percent over last year, going from 2,775 in June 2011 to 3,195 this June;
  • The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County remain, the most robust region for home sales, but each of the county’s four region posted strong gains in sales, as is indicated in the graphic below;
  • Total Days on Market actually  declined in southwest Montgomery County by 8.3 percent, dropping from 84 days to 77 days;
  • Median prices for all but one region posted strong gains, from 7.5 percent year over year in southwest Montgomery County and The Woodlands, to as much as 25.7 percent in southeast Montgomery County. See the graphic below.

These numbers paint a picture of a strong real estate market, which is good news for homebuyers and sellers. It’s a seller’s market for most of Montgomery County, but an improving real estate market can make a home purchase a good investment for buyers as well.

The strength of the real estate market in the Houston region is being, and will continue to be, driven by gains in jobs and an improving economy.

“We see the strength of the Houston housing market as a direct reflection of improving consumer confidence in the local economy as a whole,” Wayne A. Stroman, HAR chairman and CEO of Stroman Realty, said in a recent Houston Association of Realtors release.

“One of the principal factors in the demand for homes throughout greater Houston has been steady job gains that the Texas Workforce Commission reports have amounted to more than 90,000 hires over the past year. In its July economic outlook, the Greater Houston Partnership said ‘Houston is the strongest of all the major metro economies in the U.S., and if job growth continues at the current pace, this may be one of the best years on record for the region.'”

I attended a meeting earlier this year where the keynote speaker was Mike Inselmann, co-founder and President of Metrostudy, which studies the housing market.

At the close of his remarks and after reviewing all the job growth data for the Houston region, Inselmann made a similar point, and pointed to a great future for housing in the Houston region: “The next four to five years are going to be pretty good years for Houston.”

This could be a perfect time for you to consider buying or selling a home in Montgomery County. I’d be happy to help.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Montgomery County, please contact me at jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com. You can also follow the link below to see my newest listing, a lovely log home on 3.5 acres with a pond, east of Conroe.

Jim Fredricks is a licensed Realtor with the Chevaux Group in The Woodlands.

See more detail here

18422 Possum Trot – Log home on 3.5 acres east of Conroe
MLS# 23125033 Listing Price:$280,000 Bedrooms:# 4 Baths:# 2 Sq.ft:# 2,953 Acres: 3.5Description:Peaceful, country living at its best on spacious 3.5   acres with pond. Great custom log home, soaring ceilings in living area and   master with wrap-around porch to enjoy the country views. Four bedrooms, game   room and study. 40X40 workshop/garage. Master Bedroom/Study is up with large   jacuzzi tub and huge walk-in shower. 19X6 balcony off master bedroom   overlooks gorgeous acreage. Includes big 8-person hot tub with 20X14 deck.

See more detail here

We’ve entered a seller’s market here in Montgomery County; plus – see my newest listing below

Montgomery County is now a seller’s market, joining the Houston region in setting remarkable trends for home sales.
For a time, a slowdown in sales created in part by the national recession and new, stricter underwriting guidelines for homes had depressed sales well below their peak in the last decade, leading to a large inventory of homes on the market and producing a buyer’s market. But Houston’s robust economy, record-low interest rates and job growth have helped fuel strong demand for homes.

That demand has helped turn the real estate market around this year. The traditional definition of a buyer’s market is where the market area has more than 5 months of inventory; when home purchases drive the inventory to less than 5 months of available supply, a seller’s market is created. Montgomery County, at least in most areas, according to real estate experts, is now a seller’s market.

And we’re part of a regional trend. Consider these amazing statistics on the Houston region from the Houston Association of Realtors:

  1. Houston home sales surged in May, accounting for the 12th consecutive month of positive sales.
  2. Average and median prices broke records; volume of sales reached the highest level since June 2008.
  3. Local housing inventory is now at its lowest level in more than five years.
  4. May sales of single-family homes soared 23.8 percent compared with the previous year – the biggest monthly increase since August.
  5. The May single-family home average price rose 8.5 percent year-over-year to $237,083, the highest level ever in Houston.

Montgomery County is part of that exciting trend. Sales in Montgomery County for May totaled 753 compared to 544 last May, representing a stunning increase of 38.4 percent. And for the year to date in May, sales stood at 2,468 compared with 2,140 last May, for an increase of 15.3 percent.

For a look at how Montgomery County’s four regions compare across a variety of measures, take a look at the following graphics:

Clearly, it’s a good time for selling or buying in Montgomery County.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Montgomery County, please contact me at jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com. You can also follow the link below to see my newest listing, a lovely log home on 3.5 acres with a pond, east of Conroe.

Jim Fredricks is a licensed Realtor with the Chevaux Group in The Woodlands.

18422 Possum Trot – Log home on 3.5 acres east of Conroe
MLS# 23125033
Listing Price:$280,000
Bedrooms:# 4
Baths:# 2
Sq.ft:# 2,953
Acres: 3.5
Description:Peaceful, country living at its best on spacious 3.5   acres with pond. Great custom log home, soaring ceilings in living area and   master with wrap-around porch to enjoy the country views. Four bedrooms, game   room and study. 40X40 workshop/garage. Master Bedroom/Study is up with large   jacuzzi tub and huge walk-in shower. 19X6 balcony off master bedroom   overlooks gorgeous acreage. Includes big 8-person hot tub with 20X14 deck.

See more detail here