Katy TX

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November Housing Starts, Permits Both Decrease

The Census Bureau reported that single family housing starts came in at a rate of 677,000 for the month of November. This was a slight decrease from last year. Single Family permits posted at an annual rate of 639,000. The non-seasonally adjusted numbers for housing starts show that 47,700 single family homes were started, compared with 50,900 in November of 2013. That translates to a 6.2 percent year-over-year decline. Without the "seasonal adjustment sauce" November permits for single family structures were 41,200, 5.9 percent lower than November of 2013. Optimism in the home building sector [...]

Crude Oil Does The Limbo Touching $55 – How Low Will It Go?

Crude oil prices took another dive Monday, falling over 4 percent to a fresh 5-year low of $55.02 per barrel. The only question now is how low will oil prices go before the market stabilizes and how long will that process take? The markets are beginning to wake up to the reality that this could well be a replay of the situation we experienced in 1985. This weekend we learned that the UAE is willing to ride the current price slide out, at least for the time being. OPEC continues to stand by its decision [...]

By | 2014-12-15T21:37:54+00:00 December 15th, 2014|Economy, Energy & Utilities, In the Press, Markets, Real Estate|0 Comments

Toll Brothers Q4 2014 Results: Higher Prices, Flat Contracts, Higher Cancellation Rate

Luxury home builder Toll Brothers released fourth quarter earnings results today. As expected, Toll reported higher average sale prices and higher earnings.  Toll reported a 39 percent rise in net income for the quarter on a 29 percent increase in revenues. The average price of a home delivered in Q4 was $747,00 compared to $703,000 in Q4 of last year. Toll Brothers has made a significant expansion into the Houston market, and Houston area sales probably made a significant contribution to Toll's bottom line in the latest quarter. Toll currently sells in 9 different communities in [...]

By | 2016-09-29T14:21:15+00:00 December 10th, 2014|Development, New Home Sales, Real Estate|0 Comments

Falling Oil Prices Prompt Staff Cuts At BP, CapEx Budget Cuts At ConocoPhillips – Houston’s Housing Affordability In The Crosshairs

With oil prices plumbing a fresh new 5-year low to open the week, the fallout in the oil sector appears to be gaining some traction. Yesterday BP announced it would be laying off 100's of mid-level supervisor jobs around the globe. Fortunately, those planned cuts don't appear to affect the Houston office at this point. Today ConocoPhillips picked up the torch announcing it would cut capital spending in 2015 by $3 billion, or roughly 20 percent. With dramatically lower oil prices ConocoPhillips said it would defer significant investment in developed projects, including the Permian Basin [...]

By | 2017-12-22T02:54:59+00:00 December 8th, 2014|Economy, Energy & Utilities, Markets, Mortgage Rates, Real Estate|0 Comments

New Home Sales Disappoint At 458,000 Annual Rate In October

The Census Bureau reported that new home sales for October posted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 458,000 for October. This was below expectations of a 470,000 rate. More interestingly, July, August and September sales numbers were revised down. September was revised down from 467 thousand to 455 thousand. August was revised down from 466,000 to 453,000, and July was revised down to 399 thousand. The median price of a new home sold in October was $305,000 and the average sales price was $401,100, both sharp increases from the same month a year ago. [...]

Big Business Wipes $288 Million Annually From Fort Bend County Appraisal Rolls Through Abatement

While we are writing checks for record high Katy area property taxes this holiday season, we may be comforted by the fact that we are also helping those in need across Fort Bend County. When I refer to "those in need", these are probably not the people you first imagined. In this case I'm referring to the creative business set who are doing their part in the name of "economic development". These are the folks who receive the benefit of government largesse with no conditional drug test or dramatic media scrutiny. These are the "job [...]

Lennar Homes Q3 Report: Lower Average Sales Prices For Houston Deliveries And New Orders

I had a chance to look at Lennar's 2014 third quarter results, and there were some interesting numbers for Houston. Lennar of course touted higher earnings and revenues across the board, but if you look further down past the headlines you see that Lennar is also active in the multifamily construction space as well. Lennar's gross margin inched up to 25.2% in the third quarter from 24.9 percent last year. Sales incentives to buyers rose $1700 from the same quarter last year, up to $20,400 per home delivered in Q3 2014. Houston Texas is its [...]

By | 2016-11-20T15:54:03+00:00 September 18th, 2014|Development, Mortgage Rates, New Home Sales, Real Estate, Spin Cycle|1 Comment

How Texas Central Appraisal Districts Can Railroad Homeowners With Near Impunity

I had my 2014 ARB hearing with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District this week, and it was certainly educational. The ARB panel wasted little time in verifying FBCAD's notice of value for my home with no change, but that's what I expected.  The fact that the property tax system in Texas is broken is not old news. What is a surprise to most homeowners is how local Appraisal Review Boards operate with near impunity when putting the screws to average homeowners. The CAD essentially does what it does, and it is expected that the [...]

By | 2017-12-22T03:02:37+00:00 September 16th, 2014|Politics, Real Estate, Regulation, Spin Cycle|7 Comments

TRI Pointe Homes Acquires Trendmaker Homes In $2.8 Billion Merger

Local home builder Trendmaker Homes became part of TRI Pointe Homes yesterday by virtue of TRI's acquisition. California based TRI Homes will now be one of the nations largest home builders following the $2.8 billion acquisition. In addition to the local nameplate of Trendmaker Homes here in Houston, TRI also inherited Pardee Homes, Winchester Homes, Maracay and Quandrant Homes. TRI CEO Douglas Bauer suggested that additional expansion is in the works now that the Wayerhouser home building companies like Trendmaker are part of a home builder team rather than a timber conglomerate. “There is obviously [...]

By | 2014-07-24T10:24:47+00:00 July 8th, 2014|Development, New Home Sales, Real Estate|0 Comments

U.S. Pending Home Sales Miss Expectations Again, Down 9% Year-Over-Year

The National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales came in a bit lighter than expectations, with the index rising only 0.1% to 95 in January. That's 9 percent below January of last year. Once again, NAR economist Lawrence Yun was quick to play the "cold weather" card. Unfortunately, that dog doesn't hunt anymore. The real reason sales are down is because homes have become too expensive for many prospective buyers. Here's Yun's excuse:  “Ongoing disruptive weather patterns in much of the U.S. inhibited home shopping."...“Limited inventory also is playing a role, especially in [...]