What's Up (or Down) with Houston Real Estate?

These are interesting times to buy or sell a house in Houston. Houston real estate is certainly in a lull. Eric Fontanot, President of Patten Title says the possibility of being infected by Covid-19 stops sellers. "Do they really want to make a move right now? Do they want to let people walk their house? Buyers are not comfortable going out and are not willing to make moves either." Buyers are also leery of losing their job just as they get a new mortgage to pay. Some lenders are adding restrictions. "There have been fall-outs with some lenders with typing up lending restrictions referring to buyers being furloughed and laid off, and some lenders have just backed away from deals."

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On one hand, sellers don't want strangers going through their houses touching everything, and buyers are afraid they may be laid off. Fontanot says on the other hand, appraisals are being deferred, agents are hosting virtual open houses, and then there's closings. The technology is available to accomplish a 'touch-less close.' However, just because the technology is available does not mean it has been adopted."

Fontanot sees contracts picking up as more people are getting back in the work place, but says Covid-19 has made a major impact of the future of Houston area housing. He is encouraged, though, saying he sees more contracts rolling through as more people are coming back to work.

photo: Getty

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