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  • 17 Jan 2020 2:24 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    NARPM® Radio: 

    Your tenant operates a home-based business and the house floods, damaging his equipment. What is your liability? Your owner's liability? You might be surprised. Find out in this podcast by attorney* Harry Heist, available on NARPM® Radio.

    Simply open either Podbean or Apple Podcasts (iTunes). There are many more episodes to help you grow your property management knowledge (and we add new shows regularly!), so subscribe today!  

    (*Remember that estate law varies from state to state, so always contact your attorney for specific legal advice in your area.)

  • 13 Jan 2020 10:48 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    Several new real estate-related laws passed in 2019 by the 86th Texas Legislature took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. These include the following REALTOR®-supported bills that benefit Texas real estate consumers.

    Expanded Access to Home Equity

    As of January 1, property owners may now use agricultural land as collateral for a home equity loan (House Bill 1254, authored by Rep. Jim Murphy and sponsored by Sen. Kelly Hancock).

    In 2017, voters approved a REALTOR®-supported constitutional amendment to modernize the home equity lending process for property owners. This new law further updates those provisions to allow more homeowners the ability to access the hard-earned equity in their homes while maintaining the strong consumer protections in the Texas Constitution.

    More Transparency in Property Taxes

    Several pieces of the monumental property tax reform legislation from 2019 (Senate Bill 2, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt and sponsored by Rep. Dustin Burrows) took effect January 1 to be in place for the 2020 tax year:

    • Changes the rollback rate from 8% for local taxing entities and gives voters more of a say in the tax rates that determine property tax bills
      • Most cities and counties will be subject to a 3.5% rollback rate
      • Most cities and counties will have automatic elections if they exceed the rollback rate
    • Renames the “effective rate” to the “no-new-revenue tax rate” and renames the “rollback rate” to the “voter-approval tax rate,” clarifying what these important tax rates mean for taxpayers
    • Requires central appraisal districts to create online databases to provide more information to taxpayers. (CADs in counties with less than 200,000 population have until the 2021 tax year to comply.) The databases will …
      • Show property owners how proposed tax rate changes would affect their bills
      • Make it easy for taxpayers to submit comments via an online form
      • Provide information about when and where a property owner’s local taxing entities

    Property Tax Exemption

    A new law provides a temporary property tax exemption for property owners in areas that have been declared disasters by the governor. This will help property owners struggling in the wake of disaster and provide these taxpayers more immediate relief.

    The new law is the result of the passage of State of Texas Proposition 3, which voters approved in November 2019. This constitutional amendment was on the ballot after the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 492 and House Joint Resolution 34 (authored by Rep. Hugh Shine and sponsored by Sens. Larry Taylor and Paul Bettencourt, respectively).

    Flood Protection Funding

    In November 2019 election, voters also passed a constitutional amendment known as State of Texas Proposition 8. This one was on the ballot after the passage of Senate Bill 7, authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton and sponsored by Rep. Dade Phelan.

    The resulting new law effective January 1 created a Flood Infrastructure Fund to develop flood mitigation infrastructure, which will help communities better withstand future flood events and create a more resilient Texas in preparation for future flooding.

    More New Laws in 2020

    Visit the website of the Legislative Reference Library of Texas to see lists of all the bills from the 86th legislative session and provisions from other bills that became effective Jan. 1, 2020.

    Contact Jaime Lee, director of advocacy communications, for more information about any of these legislative changes.

    Source: Texas Realtor Staff -https://www.texasrealestate.com/members/posts/new-year-new-real-estate-laws/

  • 13 Jan 2020 8:00 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    The Texas Relocation Report is based on data from the American Community Survey and the American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as U-Haul National Migration Trend reports. The report analyzes county relocation data for the 43 largest demographic areas in Texas.


  • 9 Jan 2020 10:00 AM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    Realtor® Leaders Meet with Secretary Carson, Pass Sweeping New Fair Housing Action Plan

    The 2020 NAR Leadership Team with HUD Secretary Ben Carson

    WASHINGTON (January 8, 2020) – Leadership from the National Association of Realtors® met with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and other senior Department officials on Wednesday in Washington to discuss fair housing issues just hours after unanimously passing a new plan to tackle the issue.

    The meeting, which included CEO Bob Goldberg and President Vince Malta, allowed NAR to reiterate its commitment to partnering with HUD to advance fair housing protections, while the two sides agreed to work jointly on public service announcements and other proactive initiatives to communicate the importance of housing access for all Americans.

    The 2020 NAR Leadership Team Meet with HUD Secretary. From left: President-elect Charlie Oppler, President Vince Malta, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, CEO Bob Goldberg, Immediate Past President John Smaby, First Vice President Leslie Rouda Smith, Vice President of Association Affairs Mabel Guzman, and Vice President of Advocacy Christine Hansen.

    “NAR has been active in our pursuit of innovative new policies and partnerships that will help us preserve the fundamental right of housing in America,” said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA. “While we have long been a champion of the Fair Housing Act, recent incidents have underscored the progress our nation must still make. That’s why I am proud to announce that our association’s Leadership Team has voted today to approve an action that will directly ramp up and reinvigorate NAR’s fair housing commitment.”

    The new NAR initiative, abbreviated ‘ACT,’ will emphasize Accountability, Culture Change and Training in order to ensure America’s 1.4 million Realtors® are doing everything possible to protect housing rights in America. Specifically, the nation’s largest trade association will take new actions to ensure members uphold the fair housing standards incorporated in NAR’s Code of Ethics; begin integrating fair housing into all conferences and engagements; and form partnerships with fair housing advocates to pursue shared goals around accountability and training, among countless other initiatives.

    “NAR’s Code of Ethics and its adherence to fair housing are the cornerstones of our commitment as Realtors®,” said Goldberg, NAR’s Chief Executive. “With this new plan, we will see more robust education focusing on core fair housing criteria, unconscious bias, and how the actions of Realtors® impact communities. A partnership with government officials and fair housing advocates will allow us to further promote equality as we continue to work to diversify our industry.”

    The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


  • 8 Jan 2020 10:22 PM | Paula Cleveland (Administrator)

    THE HOUSTON REAL ESTATE MARKET CHARGES ACROSS THE FINISH LINE FOR A RECORD 2019


    December marks the biggest percentage increase of the year in home sales 

    HOUSTON — (January 8, 2020) — Low mortgage interest rates, healthy employment growth and a stable supply of homes created fertile ground for the Houston real estate market, which blossomed to record levels in 2019. Single-family home sales for the full year surpassed 2018’s record volume by nearly five percent. December delivered the year’s strongest percentage increase in single-family home sales. However, as 2020 gets underway, housing inventory has shrunk slightly, which could narrow options for consumers that may be hoping to buy a home in the new year.

    According to the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) latest annual report, 2019 single-family home sales rose 4.8 percent to 86,205. Sales of all property types totaled 102,593, which represents a 4.3-percent increase over 2018’s record volume and marks the first time that total property sales have ever broken the 100,000 level. Total dollar volume for 2019 climbed 6.7 percent to a record-breaking $30 billion. 

    “During the latter half of 2019, we had a sense that we were headed toward a record year for Houston real estate, but no one expected it to be this strong a finish,” said HAR Chairman John Nugent with RE/MAX Space Center. “Townhomes and condominiums had a roller coaster ride and the luxury market cooled a bit, but overall, 2019 was a phenomenal year. As long as the Houston economy remains healthy and we see some growth in housing inventory, we expect 2020 to get off to a positive start,” he added.

    Single-family home sales for the month of December jumped 14.3 percent to compared to December 2018. The strongest sales activity took place among homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000, which rocketed 27.2 percent. Homes in the $150,000 to $250,000 range ranked second place, climbing 13.7 percent. The luxury segment, consisting of homes priced from $750,000 and above, increased 12.7 percent.

    Prices of single-family homes set new December highs. The median price (the figure at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less) rose 4.6 percent to $251,000 while the average price went up 2.5 percent to $312,922. Despite those highs, pricing increases in general began to show moderation as the end of the year drew to a close.

    2019 Annual Market Comparison

    Economic uncertainty loomed as 2019 began, with federal workers on edge about the continuing government shutdown and escalating trade friction with China. The Houston real estate market entered 2019 with constrained inventory. However, the housing supply grew almost immediately, rising from a 3.6-months supply in January to a peak of 4.3 months in June and July. Months of inventory estimates the number of months it will take to deplete current active inventory based on the prior 12 months sales activity.

    Real estate records were set throughout the year, with July going down as Houston’s greatest one-month sales volume of all time – 8,918 single-family units sold. A record high average price of $322,143 was reached in May while a record high median price of $252,700 was achieved in June.

    By the time the books were closed on December transactions, a record 86,205 single-family homes had sold across greater Houston in 2019. That represents an increase of 4.8 percent from the previous record of 82,229 in 2018.

    On a year-to-date basis, the average price rose 2.3 percent to $305,959 while the median price increased 3.2 percent to $245,000. Total dollar volume for full-year 2019 rose 6.7 percent to a record-setting $30 billion.  

    December Monthly Market Comparison

    The Houston housing market generated positive readings across the board in December with the exception of inventory. Single-family home sales, total property sales total dollar volume and pricing were all up compared to December 2018. Month-end pending sales for single-family homes totaled 5,796, an increase of 22.7 percent versus one year earlier. Total active listings, or the total number of available properties, rose 3.6 percent from December 2018 to 38,504.

    Single-family homes inventory narrowed slightly from a 3.5-months supply to 3.4 months. For perspective, housing inventory across the U.S. currently stands at a 3.7-months supply, according to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

    Source:  HAR.com

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