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Zillow reveals how fast home values are rising in Houston market

Hot Homes

The spring selling season is underway, and those looking to purchase a home in Houston should expect to pay a premium — regardless of price point — Zillow says.

A new study from the real estate authority shows that the annual appreciation of Houston-area home values at all price tiers was at least 7 percent in February 2021, with the most affordable tier growing at an even faster rate.

The lowest tier of home values in the greater Houston metro area grew 9.3 percent year-over-year, to a typical home price of $166,556, Zillow says. Meanwhile, in the middle tier, values were up 8.1 percent to $235,792, and home values in the top tier grew at a slightly lower rate, 7.4 percent to $394,711.

In most major U.S. metro areas, "homes in the entry-level segment of the market most likely to be sought by first-time and/or lower-income home buyers have also grown the most in value over the past year," Zillow says.

Two other Texas metros follow the national trend:

  • In Dallas-Fort Worth, the annual appreciation for the lowest tier was 9.5 percent, up to $194,484, compared to 8.6 percent growth in the top tier.
  • In the San Antonio metro, the lowest tier appreciated at a rate of 7.9 percent, to a typical home value of $153,904, compared to 7.3 percent for the top tier.

In Austin, however, home values in the most expensive tier grew the fastest, up 14.9 percent to $666,034. At the same time, the lowest tier of home values in the Austin metro area grew 14 percent year-over-year.

“Demand for homes in the Dallas, Houston, and Austin metros is largely uniform across price tiers," notes Zillow economist Arpita Chakravorty. "While home values in the most affordable segment are growing the fastest in Dallas and Houston, the mid- and higher-valued homes are quickly catching up due to strong demand. The spread between appreciation rates in Austin is tightening as well, indicating extreme competition across all price tiers."

Whether you're in the market right now or planning to house hunt in the future, don't expect things to slow down. Looking ahead, Zillow expects the typical home value in each of the Texas metros mentioned to grow by at least 10 percent by next February. For Houston, Zillow predicts a 10.8 percent jump during the year.

Photo by Paul Bradbury/Getty

New Zillow study shows that Houston homes are selling in under a month

Red-Hot Real Estate

Have the stay-at-home orders convinced you it's time to buy a house, or upgrade to a bigger one? You're not alone — a new report from Zillow shows that Houston homes are flying off the market at their fastest pace in more than two years.

For the week ending June 13, it only took a median of 26 days for a Houston home to go from "available" to "pending." That's three fewer days than the same time last year, as well as nine fewer from the same week in May 2020. To show just how quickly the market is moving, it's even four days less than the week before (ending June 6, 2020).

Inventory is still low thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with buyers in May finding themselves competing over the smallest pool of inventory on record for that month in years. But as "the new normal" begins to take hold, it seems that buyers are now eager to make up for lost time with speedy offers.

Surprisingly, Houston is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to red-hot real estate.

In mid-June, the typical home sold in the U.S. had an offer accepted 22 days after it was listed. That's as fast as homes have sold since early June 2018, when they typically sold in 21 days. Even at the slowest point of the spring — in late May — that national number only climbed to 31 days, just six days slower than late May last year.

"Buyers shopping today might expect to be welcomed by desperate sellers, but they'll instead discover houses selling like hotcakes in the speediest market in recent memory," says Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. "The market did slow down in April, but anyone shopping this summer needs to be prepared to keep up with the lightning-quick pace of sales today.

"The question is whether the tempo will slow after buyers finish playing catch-up from planned spring moves, or if this fast-paced market will stay hot thanks to continued low interest rates and buyers scrambling over record-low summer inventory."

Home sales are still moving relatively quickly around the Lone Star State, especially in Austin. Homes there are moving within 12 days a change of three days from 2019, three days from May, and one day from the previous week.

In San Antonio, it took a median 32 days for listings to move to pending. That's down two days from last year, down four days from last month, and no change from the week before.

Dallas-Fort Worth homes are only available for 28 days — one day fewer than last year, six days fewer from last month, and two days fewer than even the week ending June 6.

Homes are selling the fastest — in only five days — in Columbus, Ohio. Cincinnati, Ohio (six days); Kansas City, Missouri (six days); Seattle (seven days), and Indianapolis (seven days) are just behind. Pittsburgh has seen the most dramatic acceleration of late, with sellers typically accepting an offer 17 days sooner than at this time last year and 40 days sooner than a month ago.

The slowest market by some margin is New York, where homes are typically spending 70 days on the market before an offer is accepted, more than three weeks longer than at this time last year. Miami (55 days) and Atlanta (38 days) are the next slowest.

Zillow points out that more homes are coming onto the market — new listings are up 14 percent nationally month-over-month — showing that sellers appear to be gaining confidence in buyer demand. Inventory remains incredibly tight and sales are happening quickly, so buyers should be prepared to move fast when they find a home they're interested in.

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Houston home listings take a dip thanks to COVID-19

Coronavirus impact

We're coming up on the best time to list your Houston house, but thanks to COVID-19, the real estate landscape looks pretty different this year. Zillow reports that 3-D home tours are up 408 percent from February, and newly listed homes nationwide were down 27.1 percent from a year ago in the first week of April.

But it's not quite as bad in Houston. While the rest of the U.S. is seeing a 19 percent drop in new listings since March 1, 2020, Houston is actually up 1.9 percent.

Active listings here are also up 3.9 percent since the same period. Total U.S. inventory, meanwhile, has only grown by 2.5 percent since March 1, which likely correlates to homes sitting on the market for longer.

"It is clear that many would-be home sellers are adopting a wait-and-see approach as uncertainty continues to rule," says Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. "Our understanding of U.S. economic conditions is changing weekly, if not daily, and early unemployment figures are striking, so it's understandable that some are hesitant to put their home on the market.

"It is possible that this year's busy home shopping season is pushed into winter as some opt to hang back, but activity continues from those who need to buy or sell for a job move or another major life event. What's not likely is that the bulk of potential home sellers and buyers simply throw up their hands and pull back from the market entirely."

By March 1, 2020, new listings in Houston were up 6.8 percent from the same time a year ago. Fast-forward just a month, and that number was down 8.7 percent. The outlook in Houston is definitely brighter than what's happening nationwide: nationwide listings were up 17.3 percent on March 1 and down a significant 27.1 percent by April 5.

Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth has seen a 18 percent decrease in new listings from March to April of this year, and listings are also down 17.2 percent from April 2019.

San Antonio is an outlier, remaining neutral at zero percent change in new listings from March 1-April 5, 2020, and only down 11.8 percent from April 2019.

But Austin is truly bucking the trend, with new listings up 12.8 percent in the past month, for a year-over-year increase of 13.5 percent.

The greatest slowdowns in new listings since March 1 were seen in Detroit (down 61.8 percent), Pittsburgh (down 55.5 percent), and New York (down 49.1 percent). But new listings were actually up or flat in 12 of the 35 largest U.S. metros, led by Phoenix (up 18.3 percent), Atlanta (up 15.6 percent), Sacramento (up 13.7 percent), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (up 13.7 percent).

Photo by Phillip Spears/Getty Images

Zillow reveals the best time to put your Houston home on the market

Open-House Ready

It seems Texas' lack of a real winter has a ripple effect that extends far beyond agriculture. Spring has been declared the ideal time to list your home in Houston, with homes hitting the market at the beginning May fetching nearly $2,000 more.

That's according to a recent study from Zillow, which analyzed the history and outcome of millions of home listings over the last several years.

Early June is almost as profitable in H-Town, but as soon as the calendar hits late June the numbers start falling. Seems the extreme heat of Texas summers is nearly as bad as possible ice in the winter, with sellers taking a sizable cut from early September through January.

If you want to get the most eyeballs on your listing when it first debuts, make it live on a Sunday. Saturday and Monday are close behind, but posting on a Tuesday means a downtick in views.

Buyer interest also fades quickly, Zillow confirms, with traffic for new listings dramatically falling after only four days. In the first week, homes in Houston are 35 percent likely to sell at or above list price. By week 12, the number drops to only 9 percent.

The stats are slightly different elsewhere around Texas, with Austin seeing Saturdays in early May as the best time to list. Early birds get the worm in San Antonio, where early and late May are the key list times, while later — end of June — is better in DFW.

But the rest of the nation is even earlier, with homes listed for sale anytime in April selling one full week faster than average.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Houston Independent School District cancels classes again due to city-wide boil notice

school's out

With the issues surrounding the city-wide boil notice still unresolved, Houston Independent School District has announced all its campuses and facilities will be closed on Tuesday, November 29. This comes after classes were canceled on Monday, November 28.

"This decision has been made due to the logistical challenges caused by the notice," district staff notes in an email. "Those challenges prevent the district from being able to provide meals for its students and ensure safe water is available for students and staff."

The email goes on to add that all HISD employees will be working remotely unless otherwise instructed by the chief of their business area.

While most kids will no doubt enjoy yet another day off, HISD encourages students to "engage with digital academic resources that are available 24/7 online.

This closure announcement comes as other districts and colleges closed campuses on Monday. As CultureMap previously reported, the city was put on a boil notice after water pressure dropped below the City of Houston's required minimum of 20 PSI due to a power outage at the East Water Purification Plan around 10:30 am Sunday, November 27.

Under city guidelines and those set in part by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, city water pressure must be at least 20 DPI to ensure contaminants do not enter the flow. Notably, according to the director of Houston Water, Yvonne Williams Forrest, the city's water pressure never dropped to zero — but did fall below the regulatory limit.

Additionally, Forrest says the city boil notice could last until the early hours of Tuesday, November 29.

As reported by CultureMap news partner ABC13, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provided a timeline for the outage on Sunday:

  • 10:30 am: East water purification plants 1 and 2 lose power
  • Plant 3 loses power, 14 sensors below 20 PSI for less than 2 minutes, 2 sensors below 20 PSI for 30 minutes, 5 sensors never fell below 20 PSI
  • 12:15 pm: Power restored to plants 1 and 2
  • 12:30 pm: Power restored to plant 3
  • 3:30 pm: All sensors back to 35 PSI

Residents expressed outrage on social media that they weren't notified of the boil notice until late Sunday night. In response that same night, several school districts — including Houston ISD — announced they would close on Monday, November 28. Parents should watch their school districts' social media for updates regarding classes resuming.

Concerned residents who are unsure if the boil notice affects their neighborhood can view this map that displays the entire affected.

Early Monday, the City of Houston announced on Twitter that the aforementioned Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved a plan by the Houston Public Works department to sample water and send to labs for testing.

Boil notices are nothing new to the Gulf Coast and Greater Houston areas, given the propensity for storms and flooding. But as longtime Houstonians know, there are few key things to remember when under a boil notice. These tips include:

  • Boiling all water used for food, drinking, and brushing teeth
  • Boiling the water for at least 2 to 3 minutes — even for making coffee
  • Avoiding chilled water lines from on the refrigerators
  • Avoiding ice from an automated ice machines

    The City of Houston also reminds residents to call 3-1-1 for any boil-notice-related questions.

    Beloved Houston local art showcase decks the walls for 25th anniversary with can't-miss events

    silver showecase

    Local shoppers on the hunt for that perfect gift or art loves looking to expand their collections want to be at the annual Art on the Avenue event at Winter Street Studios in the Heights on December 3.

    The noted auction features more than 500 works of art by more than 250 local artists. Celebrating its 25th year, the event celebrates the creative process and encourages collecting works created here in the Houston area.

    Fittingly for the nation's most charitable city, Art on the Avenue is also an important fundraiser for Avenue, a Houston nonprofit dedicated to developing affordable homes.

    Among the many local artists displaying works in the auction is Paperbag, who got his name from painting paper bags on people's faces. His artwork encourages others not to judge a book by its cover, and invites individuals to celebrate their unique personalities and stories. In addition to his art, Paperbag — née Dominique Silva — is also an ardent mental health supporter.

    Blossom by Paperbag Look for works such as "Blossom" by local artist Paperbag.Photo courtesy of Paperbag

    Art on the Avenue kicks off on Thursday, December 1 with a VIP preview party. A $150 ticket gives attendees an exclusive first look at the available works and the opportunity to bid on them prior to the main auction and party on Saturday, December 3. Art-inspired bites, cocktails, and entertainment by Two Star Symphony are also part of the evening's festivities.

    On Saturday, December 3, from 10 am to 1 pm, guests to see these incredible works of art for themselves and enjoy free admission.

    The auction proper begins at 6 pm, where a $35 ticket allows guests entry to the gallery space, bidding opportunities, and entertainment from vinyl enthusiast Losty Los of The Waxaholics, who will spin tunes.

    Art on the Avenue Sketches, paintings, sculptures, and more will be up for auction. Photo courtesy of Art on the Avenue

    Guests looking for a chance to dress up are encouraged to deck out in silver in honor the event's 25th anniversary.

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    Art on the Avenue runs Thursday, December 1 through Saturday, December 3 at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter St. For tickets and information, visit Art on the Avenue.

    'Burn you twice' hot chicken chain spices up Houston with fifth fiery location

    flying into spring

    A rapidly growing chicken tender restaurant will soon arrive in Spring. Urban Bird Hot Chicken will open its fifth Houston-area store next year in January.

    Located in the former B.Good space at 2162 Spring Stuebner Rd., Urban Bird will be part of The Market, a Kroger-anchored shopping center within the the larger City Place mixed-use development. Other nearby tenants include Torchy’s Tacos, Jinya Ramen Bar, and Beard Papa’s, the Japan-based cream puff bakery.

    First opened in 2020, Urban Bird is a chicken tenders concept with different spice blends that deliver increasing levels of heat. The six options range from "country" up to "Nashville hot" and "Fire in the Hole" — which the restaurant says “will burn you twice. Available as baskets, sandwiches, or chopped up over fries, the restaurant touts that its batter went through 60 iterations prior to opening.

    Diners may pair their tenders with dipping sauces such as ranch, barbecue, or the signature Bird Sauce. Sides include fries (both potato and sweet potato), Hot Cheetos mac and cheese, street corn, and a kale salad with a dressing that includes maple syrup. Shakes and frozen custard help ease the burn.

    Urban Bird currently has locations in Katy, north Houston, Fulshear, and near Rice Village. In addition to Spring, the restaurant will soon add outposts in Webster and the Summerwood neighborhood near Lake Houston.

    “We’re thrilled to welcome this fast-growing concept to The Market and feel that it will resonate well with people who live in the area, as well as employees from City Place businesses and major office campuses,” Rip Reynolds, senior leasing agent for real estate developer Regency Centers, said in a statement. “The Urban Bird Hot Chicken team were drawn to this prime site based on its high levels of traffic, the desire for proximity to an anchor and the immediate availability of a second-generation space, the latter of which was only recently vacated.”