The news has been bombarding us with information about how low new housing starts are; as well as how "prices are plummeting" on existing homes. In many cases what the reporter is doing is taking statistics from one area and applying them to the nation. No matter how you slice it, Bryan and College Station real estate is very different from San Francisco real estate, or New York real estate or, as as matter of fact, any other real estate market in the United States.
Nationally there has been a downturn in sales. Most of the areas affected by this are in places where double digit increases in value previously were the norm. Bryan College Station, in contrast, has had steady, but slow appreciation with rates ranging from 3% to 7% per year. We have actually had some of our highest appreciation while some markets have suffered.
Our market is a dynamic market. We constantly have professors, college students and administration moving in and out. Bryan-College Station also has many non-university jobs that are just moving into town. This doesn't guarantee that we will never have a slump, but plummeting prices are highly unlikely.
A couple of years ago a very nice reporter for the Wall Street Journal came to College Station to interview me and several other top agents in the area. His first question to me when we were face to face is "show me the houses that haven't been selling in the area". He truly didn't want to hear that the market was robust and that we were, overall, in very good shape. He neglected the fact that our average sales price home (at the time right around 150K) was showing days on the market of less than 90, and in certain segments hardly 30. Some of the other agents cooperated with him by showing him homes that were priced twice our market average that were suffering from market lag. College Station luxury homes do tend to sit on the market a bit longer than the average home. Sales, however, in this segment have recently been picking up. Just goes to show you, if you look hard enough you can always find the black lining in the silver cloud!
Overall we are expecting 2008 to be a great real estate year. It will be slower than the boom times that we were experiencing in the 2002-2005 time frames, but still a very healthy market.
For more information about College Station real estate or our market overall don't hesitate to email me or call me at (979)574-1084. Have a Happy New Year!
It looks to be an early season this year with parents already calling about College Station condos that are on the market. Just today I spoke with four potential buyers and two potential sellers of College Station condos.
What makes your condo marketable? It's a combination of location, complex amenities, affordability and condition.
Your condo is only as good as the complex it's in. Most of the condominiums we have here have excellent market points, and some down sides as well. Emphasising the positive, while countering the negative is the best strategy. For the condos that aren't directly on shuttle route finding out how close the route is will typically work. Not many are built terribly far from our existing routes. Targeting ads to parents who don't necessarily feel that their student will want to ride the shuttle can work as well. In general the closer the complex is to Texas A&M University the better off you are. However we have some excellent complexes that are tucked away a bit and still sell for premium prices.
Most of our condo complexes offer a small recreation area and a pool. This seems adequate and we certainly haven't seen better statistics with condos that offer volleyball courts or on-site movie screening areas or carwashes. The one amenity that many students and their parents are looking for is the gated community. This always helps for resaleability.
Affordability is very important for students as well as their parents. In general most of our parents are looking for 3 bedrooms at $150K or less and four bedrooms at 160K or less. Homeowner Association Fees can come into play as well with lower fees and similar amenities winning out consistantly.
The condition of your condo is of prime importance. A unit that has been cared for well will sell rapidly and at the best price. Ensure that the carpet is clean and the unit is in good repair with paint touch-ups and frequent cleanings for the best price.
Call me today with any questions you have about this season's sales or listing your condo or home.
We've recently seen a resurgence in our first time buyers using FHA financing. FHA doesn't have as many issues as in years past when they mandated "non-allowable" expenses for the buyer. Around 1.5 years ago FHA had a wake-up call and realized that most FHA contracts were going through at higher than average sales prices, which meant, in effect that the buyers WERE paying these fees. FHA still has issues. It is tough to get an older home through the FHA inspection process and the appraiser has to be knowledgable in the rules and regulations. A good look has to be taken of the property before the inspections so that the buyer isn't wasting their money on properties that won't meet the stringent requirements of FHA. Using a real estate agent that is familiar with FHA guidelines is important!
Bryans new high school is coming along nicely! As fast as the high school is going up, the community is seeing new homes pop up in Austin's Colony. Austin's Colony is strategically placed with easy access to not only the new high school, but some fantastic shopping and the new Premier Cinema. Imperial Homes, New Vision, and several other builders are seeing the potential and responding to the demand. Blessed with Harvey Mitchell Elementary and close in to town this subdivision is poised for much more growth and it's become one of our most sought after subdivisions in Bryan.
After months of lagging sales in College Station luxury homes we're seeing a resurgence of this market. Showing on our homes above 500K are booming and many have gone under contract after being on the market formerly for many months. The luxury market never has been tied to the school year like so many of our moderate priced listings, however many College Station real estate agents are talking about the phenominon. I've seen it personally as well with my higher priced listings. It's a great time to sell your College Station luxury home!