After a couple of years of faltering, it looks like Houston’s job market is prime for a comeback. After a much-feared crash from the oil industry, home sales are actually ticking up a notch, according to the Houston Association of Realtors. By the end of this year’s first quarter, home sales were up more than this time last year. “The real estate industry was highly cautious for a while because of the the impact on oil,” says realtor Amy Bernstein. This year, however, home sales are on a steady rise.
Last year, Houston home sells were down significantly. As of March of this year, they were up 3.8%. The city of Houston is increasing population-wise. That along with improvement of the job market has contributed to more than 75,000 new homes being sold. This is good news for a real estate market that was on life-support just a mere 2 years ago. Low mortgages also helped the market improve.
Realtors do understand that although the market is improving, it will take some time for it to completely bounce back due to the decline in crude prices. Oil has seen a drop from $107 a barrel in 2014 to $50 a barrel today.
Haidar Barbouti, owner of Highland Village shopping center, is riding his good fortune all the way to the bank. Even when Houston’s real estate woes were at their worst, Barbouti continued to thrive. He purchased Highland Village back in 1983 although many people advised against it. Barbouti had a vision — and that vision has paid off handsomely. His multi-acre property has some of the most upscale clients in the U.S. The center has an Apple Store, J-Crew, Starbucks, Crate and Barrel and California-based cupcake business, Sprinkles.
Barbouti has even more plans for his high-end, 15 acre playground. His goal is to secure many more ritzy clients. The store took in $32 million last year and stands to take in even more this year. According to Barbouti, he doesn’t do anything cookie-cutter. He wants all of his tenants to have their own identity. That is the secret of his success.
In the meantime, all Houston realtors can do is sit back and hold their collective breaths. The uptick in home buying is a good sign.