HAR’s 2019 chair sees opportunity in Houston market
Housing affordability is one of the top concerns for people who are moving to a new city. Fortunately, if that city is Houston, housing is among the most affordable in the country. That, coupled with an increase in available inventory of properties on the market, means much opportunity for new residents.
This is the sentiment echoed by HAR’s (Houston Association of Realtors’) 2019 chair Shannon Cobb Evans, who is also a broker associate with Heritage Texas Properties.
As a native Houstonian and a second-generation Realtor, Evans has witnessed the highs and lows of the local market during her many years in the business. In looking ahead at 2019, she is very optimistic about the market, and believes that Houston is poised for a great year.
During a recent interview, Evans discussed housing affordability and the many opportunities that exist for newcomers in the Houston area.
Following are excerpts from our conversation:
MS: To what do you attribute Houston’s housing affordability as compared to other major U.S. markets?
SE: I think the thing that really helps with our affordability is how vast our area is, and if people are willing to drive a little bit, they can find places that are affordable on the market. We have a large amount of land, and there is development that is going on all over the Houston area. A big issue in our country is finding homes that are affordable for people, so I think that’s what makes Houston a great target for people transferring with their jobs and relocating here.
MS: Are there any new or up-and-coming areas that newcomers might want to consider?
SE: I hear more about EaDo (East Downtown) than anything else closer in right now, but there are also quite a few new master-planned communities as you move west that are going to appeal to families, because of the high-ranking school districts and things like that.
MS: Can you give me a snapshot of the current market in terms of the available inventory of properties, and what that means for homebuyers?
SE: We are seeing a little bit more of an increase in inventory and in the time on market for properties, which isn’t a bad thing. It is going to be a more balanced market, and when real estate agents consult with their clients, they have the ability to target in on whatever area they are looking at and know what the average time on market is for that price range. That data becomes important in terms of what a homebuyer wants to offer on a property. And, I think it’s becoming a little more of a consistent market, and not as frenzied of a market as we have had.
MS: Can you discuss Houston’s ability to fit a variety of lifestyle needs?
SE: There was a period in my life when I lived in suburbia. I was married and I wanted that consistency of couples with kids. When I became single, I decided to move closer to where I worked. So, I moved into the Westbury area and I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t get as much house as I had when I lived in Sugar Land, but it was worth the trade-off to me.
It was a whole different pace, and a different age and quality of home, but I’ve enjoyed both types of lifestyles.
I have also sold properties to quite a few suburban empty-nesters who wanted to move closer in. They were looking for townhomes and properties that have a lot less maintenance, like high-rises where they can pretty much lock up and travel. So, it’s a whole lifestyle change, whatever direction a person decides to go in.
MS: In terms of opportunities for newcomers, why is this a great time to be moving to Houston?
SE: There is a lot of positive energy to the city. There is also a lot of new construction, with focus on quality of life, being closer in, mobility issues, and other positive aspects. It’s just a really great time to be moving here, and as I have said, Houston is one of the most affordable cities in the country. Houston is a very diverse city, and the people here are so friendly, and we all tend to get along. I am a native Houstonian, and I just love this city, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Please come back next week for Part 2 of my interview with Shannon Cobb Evans, as she shares more of her perspectives on the opportunities that await newcomers in Houston.
Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit “On the Move” at blog.chron.com/onthemove.