“Over the past year, Texas added jobs in all of the 11 major industries, including professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, mining and logging, government, financial activities, information, other services, and manufacturing,” says Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. “The Texas unemployment rate was 5.7 percent for January 2014 down from 6.5 percent in January 2013 and has been at or below the national rate for 85 consecutive months.”
Because of the strong Texas economy, steady job growth and mortgage rates that have been at all time lows, the real estate sector in the major metropolitan areas is robust. Houston and Austin in particular continue to show the strongest performance in Texas real estate markets because of vigorous growth in the energy and technology industries.
As reported by Mark Dotzour of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, the single-family housing market in Texas began to recover about three years ago. The residential brokerage industry in Texas had a very successful year in 2013 due to increasing prices and transaction volume. There were 275,829 homes sold across Texas in 2013. The growth represented an increase of almost 16 percent from 2012. In 2013, Texas had the second highest sales volume in history, with 2006 being the highest. Conversely, the dollar volume of residential sales hit a record high of $62.1 billion in 2013, well above the previous peak of $53.8 billion in 2006. Lastly, the average price of homes sold in Texas in 2013 hit a record high of $225,100. This was up 9.3 percent from 2012 .
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as of September 30, 2013, there were 1,667,740 veterans living in Texas with tens of thousands more expected as a result of the anticipated military draw-down. With the general population at 26,448,193, Texas is the second most populous state in the nation and is growing more every day. According to construction industry experts there is also a shortage of skilled labor for new home construction and some home builders are still struggling to secure funds from lenders for new construction. These factors are just some of the things that are causing a shortage of new and existing homes in all of the major metropolitan areas in Texas. As a result, the residential rental market in these areas is at a very high occupancy rate.
There are several things to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a home. Being a homeowner typically means that you have the opportunity to build equity, which increases your net worth over time. It’s also important to look at the inventory of new and existing homes in your area and consider the net cost of renting versus buying. As a Texas veteran you may be eligible for many different benefits which could make buying a home an equally good, or better, financial proposition than renting a home. To learn more about some of these benefits please read our previous blog post about veterans buying homes in Texas and visit Texasveterans.com.