In a recent twitter post, I made a point that the rent house market was so slow in the Woodlands, that I was selling my rent houses and investing in the Trump stock market. Not bad advice, since the stock market has been doing so well!
Most folk won’t take my advice, since most don’t own a rent house. But for those who need a bigger or smaller place, we know that you’ve been waiting for a good signal on when to proceed.
Read on, I’ve done a simple analysis by zip code, and drawn some overall conclusions. Call for specifics, as real estate was, is, and forever will be “hyper-local”. But here’s some fresh vibe to tickle your brain.
All stats are for ONLY the first three months of 2017, but I ran sub-stats underneath, and given my 30 years here, am able to prognosticate what’s about the happen next.
Overall statistics for the Woodlands: average sales price since January, on 380 closings: $457,000, $130/sq. ft. Days on the Market (DOM): 74.
One thing is for certain, as will become apparent below: while The Woodlands is a safe investment, and a good place to raise a family (e.g. get a bigger house as the years go by), sellers simply CANNOT overprice. The surrounding areas and schools are offering much more competition than in years past. Said another way: if you want to stay here, and grow here, you have to be more REALISTIC than in times gone by. No more “pie in the sky” pricing.
Original Woodlands: Montgomery County
This “bellweather” Woodlands zip code is always the last to slow down and the first to pick up. It is by far the safest, most predictable area of The Woodlands. Here are a few nuggets: 1. This zip is currently a bit underpriced: I predict that values will have increased by 15%-18% by years end. 2. Current days on the market (DOM) are a measly 53, and inventory is in balance. 3. What this means is that sellers can price on the higher end of their Realtor’s recommended range, and likely not have to worry about their property appraising for the increased amount. (This is critical to understand; I have never suggested to a seller that they could push by more than, say, 3%. To go beyond that is foolhardy; even if a property sells to an unwary buyer, it likely will not appraise). Current sold price: $143/ft.
Sellers alert! You’re not going to like it. Well, maybe not. This original Woodlands zip has a potpourri of property product, and a wide range of prices. But the average sale: $514,000 with an incredible DOM of 41. So you say: wow! But here’s how we got there, folks. Since the new year, prices have been dropping in 77380 at a very fast rate. The average sales price FOR SALE is above $900,000, and the unsold inventory is still huge, with an average “active” dom of over 130 days. Oops! New listings are coming on the market daily, and to put it bluntly: they are pricing correctly and selling quickly. Old sellers who are ignoring market signs, thinking that being close to the freeway and the mall alone will sell the house, will have a disappointing year.
The average price “For Sale” in the back of the Woodlands, which has newer, bigger, lovely homes: $882,000. The average price of SOLDS since January 1: you guessed it: $521,000 at $141/ft. In other words, this sold statistic is VERY similar to the Woodlands average. (Note: the average sales price for these newer homes is LOWER than the average in 77381.) But last year, a seller couldn’t sell very easily here! What’s changed? Give a guess: PRICES have DROPPED by an average of 7% since January. Serious sellers in 77382 have started getting realistic, in order to take advantage of great prices WHERE THEY ARE GOING.
The NEW Woodlands: Harris County: Creekside
Note: Those of you who scoffed at my blog 3 years ago still think you made the best decision to stay North of the creek, even though the newer, more modern homes, great schools are in Creekside. Unfortunately for those property owners, about the time they closed and moved in, oil went from $90 to $30. Things are changing, and fast.
This was the most difficult zip code to comment upon, because there exist two distinct categories of sellers: those who want to move, and those who simply don’t care, and are perpetually “For Sale”. For homes that are selling, the average dom is only 73, compared to 202 dom for the homes that are still “active”. Figure that out!! Anyway, since January 1 there have been 37 sales, with 15 more pending, averaging over $800,000 averaging a little less than $200/ft. WOW. Way over the Woodlands average! The Point is this: if you want a bigger place on a waterfront lot, you should look in Creekside. Amenities are springing up everywhere!
This zip is listed last because it’s the only place in The Woodlands where builders still have lots to sell, and where sellers still have to compete with same. It’s still a very tough sale (including yours truly; I bought a house in Timarron Lakes, (aka “Empty-Nester-Ville), and have been waiting to see my property value go up. The biggest news here: THE NEW BRIDGE is going in, making Kuykendahl 4 lanes, it supposedly will be done by summer. Not too soon.
Cam Collins, MBA is owner-broker of the Villages Group Realtors. Former Dean of Lone Star College real estate department and incessant Tweeter. Contact Cam @CamCollinsMBA.