Agents working in the Houston area have seen the best of times and the worst of times in recent months. In September, sales rose 4 percent in the market from the prior year after freefalling nearly 24 percent in August, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
According to a CNBC report, the gains made are due in part to delayed closings in August that were pushed forward, as well as investors buying up hurricane-damaged properties.
The activity helped push home sales nationally up by 0.7 percent, which Houston Association of Realtors Chair Cindy Hamann said came amid estimates for a slight drop.
“I don’t think anyone expected to see home sales in positive territory this soon after a natural disaster of Harvey’s magnitude.”
The September report speaks volumes about the incredible resiliency of the Houston real estate market.”
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun pointed out that as the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey receded and people sorted through their soaked belongings, signs started popping up around the area that investors would buy homes fast, in any condition.
“There are many investors looking to buy properties as-is, damaged property, at discounted prices, and there were some home sellers willing to take that bite.”
The size and scope of the investors eying properties for flipping was across the board. Daren Blomquist of ATTOM Data Solutions, noted it included small investors and single-family rental companies with nationwide footprints.
“Looking at the biggest buyers of homes in the Houston area in August and September, three stand out as ramping up on purchasing.”
According to ATTOM data pulled from buyer names on sales deeds, Red Door Housing purchased 15 homes in August, up from four in August 2016; Cerberus SFR Holdings purchased 20 properties in September, up from no purchases in the previous month and a year ago; and Cordova Capital LP purchased 14 properties in September, up from three in August and none a year ago.
The rental market surged in September, as expected, with single-family home leases up 83.6 percent with the average rent up almost 8 percent to $1,886, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.
This activity may signal an interesting year ahead for agents in the Houston market.