HOUSTON - Many homebuyers in Houston feel like they're being forced out of the real estate market, as prices soared 17% last year and inventory has been low.
Realtors say it's going to be another very competitive year to buy a home. But they say don't wait, as realtors expect prices to keep climbing.
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The Houston Association of Realtors latest report says the Houston real estate market "charged into the new year carrying the positive momentum it sustained throughout 2021, with the strongest sales activity at the highest end of the pricing spectrum because there is little to no inventory available below the midrange."
"A couple of houses, actually, we did go take a look," said homebuyer Rama Moseley. "The value is just is not there. $250,000 [is the] average price, if you want to get something better, livable."
Many homebuyers say they feel like the American Dream is slipping away. Realtors expect home prices to keep climbing, though not as sharply as last year.
"Nobody is calling this a bubble. We’re not expecting it to pop and prices to come crashing back down," said realtor Jennifer Wauhob with the Houston Association of Realtors.
They say inventory will still be low.
"We are seeing some existing homeowners who were thinking of putting their homes on the market and helping with the supply issue. Now they're deciding, no, I can’t find anything, and it's increasing the problem," said realtor Bincy Jacob with Keller Wiliams.
But analysts say even though the Fed is expected to raise interest rates as early as March, and up to four times this year, mortgage rates are still relatively low.
"Even though they are predicted to tick up this year, we're still looking at very affordable rates," said Wauhob.
"They’re savvy. They’re trying to get into the market right now, hoping there will be homes available, and builders can’t build fast enough," said Jacob.
Homebuyers are expected to continue to have to compete with investors and buyers with cash offers.
"Cash buyers and institutional buyers are swooping in to buy these properties, whether it's to live in it themselves, or turn them into rentals," said Erik Bildman, President of Sundae, a real estate markeplace that lets owners sell as-is.
But while it's a tough market, realtors say buying is still possible.
"Get your financing in order. Get your funds together. If you’re going to be paying cash, get with a realtor and tell them what you’re looking for. We have access to homes that are coming soon," said Wauhob.
"Be prepared to submit a strong offer quickly when you want to buy," suggested Bildman.
"Hopefully, it won’t go higher than it is. People want to buy a house. That's the American Dream," said Moseley.