Houston Home Sales Hold Steady; Reserve at Clear Lake City Expansion Expands


Photo of MetroNational office building going up in Memorial City: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool


14 Comment

  • Regarding the Chronicle’s article about the GRB Sculpture.
    Anytime a committee discusses Art, it will always go wrong. Everyone is talking about the migrating birds, just as birds. But, why aren’t they discussing what the migrating birds can represent? Like, people migrating to Houston/GRB for a convention? People Migrating to Houston to start new/better lives? Why not, humans migrating to space via Houston’s space program? Am I surprised that the city council just sees the sculpture as a thing? I guess not. But, they should be seeing it as Art, which is what it is to be.

  • Just when you thought that Houston was all grown up, our city council ignorantly monkeys around with a great art project. The playground and discovery green has a migratory bird theme. The big mosaic mural at IAH terminal B celebrates the birds that live in our bayous. All of those projects were completed without Houston obscuring its image as a hub of global trade and space exploration. In fact, if you actually think for a second, Houston’s position on the central flyway for migratory birds is analogous (for CMs: a nal o gous: adjective
    comparable in certain respects, typically in a way that makes clearer the nature of the things compared.) to Houston’s role as a global trade hub.
    And another thing (yes, my dander is up), when I first came to Houston, one of the very first things I noticed were all the amazing birds you could see. Having spent most of my life in the midwest, southeast and northeast cities, I had never been able to see all the different herons, egrets, raptors, passerines, ducks and shorebirds that you can see in Houston. If you really wanted to promote Houston, you would be eager to show visitors that even though we do not have mountains, rivers, lakes and other natural features that other cities have and are a big long on refineries, strip malls and highways, we do have amazing natural spaces filled with a zoo-like collection of birds.
    Now, move on council and get back to debating the terrorist threat posed by the waffle food truck.

  • Most interesting snippet from HAR’s latest press release is this: “GHP is forecasting the creation of approximately 22,000 jobs in 2016.” It wouldn’t surprise me to see that as a negative number at the end of the year. The problem is that local economists are still operating under the delusions of sell-side bias. $26 oil and a 1.53 percent yield on the 10-year Treasury are clearly pointing to a recession ahead…


  • Swamplot moderator, please refrain from allowing realtors and others from using posts to advertise.

  • ^^
    Agreed. Please keep advertisers out of the comments section.

  • I second that motion. There seems to be an uptick in free plugs by unscrupulous Stealertors.

  • I like the blog. A realtor writing about getting upset because a fellow realtor does not follow Fed monetary policy. That’s rich.

  • funny way to advertise then. “hey, the economy’s about to tank! buy a house from me!”

  • Feh-the economy tanking means people lose jobs and need to sell and then need a realtor. If the economy is tanking then bargain hunters will come out and use a realtor to buy houses. If the economy is tanking then realtors will spread fear because people will agree sell quickly when a crap offer is made. The object is never watching out for your customer. The object is churn and burn regardless of economic conditions.

  • I’m not a realtor, but referring to them as “Stealertors” seems a bit rough, no? Realtors provide a service, plain and simple. Nobody is forced to use one nor to pay the standard 3% rate, which is highly negotiable — at least on the seller’s side. If you want to go it alone, then by all means you have every right to do so. I have seen/heard realtors who work tirelessly on behalf of their clients in order to make a minimal commission on a low house price. Sure, sometimes realtors make a lot of commission in exchange for relatively little work. But those cases are the exception. Try showing 30-40 homes all over town, at night, or on the weekend, to a buyer over the course of many months to wind up with the buyer deciding to give up and rent instead. Working for free ain’t fun. Likewise, listing a house is not cheap and comes with a lot of expenses that are borne by the realtor (photos, advertising, etc.). I’ve even seen realtor’s give up huge chunks of their commission to close a deal because the buyer and seller won’t budge (b/c of pride/stubbornness) on a delta of as little as $2k. Let’s also not forget that the broker takes a massive chunk of every commission as well. How about we not denigrate an entire profession that is hired VOLUNTARILY to provide a SERVICE, many times to people who rightly need assistance with the biggest transaction they will ever make. There are many other professions out there that provide way less and take much more.

  • @thedudeabides, I’ve dealt with realtors for nearly fifteen years on daily basis and I assure you, they provide virtually no added value. They operate like a cartel, you’re not allowed to list your property for sale unless it’s through them, and if you manage to get it listed through a discount broker, the buyer’s agents refuse to show your property. Finding a house is easy, there’s APP for that. The buy/sell contracts are freely available online, the title company handles all the important paperwork anyway. The Stealertor has no liability and no accountability if something goes south. In fact their entire profession is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST because their best interest is to negotiate AGAINST their client to do whatever it takes just to close the deal and run away with the commission. It’s like an attorney getting a bigger cut of money if his client spends more time in jail.

  • I don’t think Mr Layman is really using this to advertise his realty firm, he just has economic analysis as a side hobby and talks about it here. As for the content itself, well. Lots of good graphs and data, them some vague and snide rhetoric and finger pointing that always ends up back at the Fed. I can never really tell how he gets from point A to point B. I mean especially with talking about the Fed’s current situation. The Fed has made the textbook move over and over again for quite a while now, but the results are anything BUT textbook.
    Economic crisis? Drop interest rates to increase liquidity in the market, hell throw some QE in there as well. Result: Lower inflation rates…wait what?
    Dollar getting to strong and threatening export and commodity economics? Yet again, lower interest rates. Result: Higher value of dollar….uhm guys…?
    Right now they’ve kept interest rates low for a dangerously long time, which causes it’s own problems, like excessively risky asset expansion. With the job numbers that just came out I would say it’s a fair bet we will see another increase in interest rates in the near future, which is good up to a point (and pretty much unavoidable), but it will also accelerate the issues we couldn’t control before, like the strengthening dollar and the deflationary push. The best option they have is a very slow and considered increase of interest rates over the course of a few years, like an old man easing into a bath. That should allow our local economy to absorb all the negatives that come with it, like lower commodity prices and downward pressure on housing prices.
    I honestly can’t think of another option for the Fed at this point. They ultimately don’t actually have a lot of plays in their playbook, and the one’s they do have just aren’t working that well. So I don’t really get where Aaron is coming from on this one. And I really have a hard time tying together all the random stuff he throws out into a coherent argument, but I’m not the smartest guy in the room.

  • @commonsense, a realtor may provide no added value to you, since it sounds like you are in the real estate industry and likely know the ins and outs. But to say they provide no added value in the general sense is just not true. Many people have no clue about how to handle a real estate transaction and/or don’t have the time to figure it out and/or may be too lazy to care to. And just because they may “operate like a cartel” also does not mean that they provide no added value. Many professions operate like cartels in order to protect their constituents’ vested interests and to keep outsiders from taking market share (see, e.g., AMA and doctors, ABA and lawyers, etc.). Your conflict of interest argument also makes no sense. It is in the seller’s agent’s best interest to get the highest possible price for the home since his or her commission is based on sales price. While the same incentives may not be there on the buyer’s side, and I’m sure there are plenty of realtors who just want to get a deal done no matter what, a good realtor will want to keep their clients happy (it is a service industry after all) because happy clients refer you to others. And last time I checked, realtors are not the only industry where incentives don’t perfectly align with what’s best for the client. Generally speaking, a lawyer working for an hourly fee doesn’t really have the incentive to settle a case early or close a transaction ASAP. Same goes for a lawyer working on contingency/flat fee – the incentive is not to turn over every stone, but to close the deal or work up the case with as little work as possible. Similarly, a doctor who gets paid per procedure doesn’t really have an incentive to not put the patient through as many tests and procedures as possible. While we hope and assume that most doctors and lawyers won’t allow these misaligned incentives to affect their judgment, the conflicts of interest are still potentially there. And just because they may exist, doesn’t mean we go around saying that doctors and lawyers provide no added value.

  • It worries me that members on our city council are not familiar with the bird migration patterns in our city and our region…although not a big problem, this is probably a good sign that they should not be a member on our city council.