With energy prices showing increased volatility and the stock market not starting off the year on the greatest foot, uncertainty is sure to cause some concern for people living in our region. Home sales did start to decline toward the end of 2015, although for the full year sales were the second highest on record. Sale prices continued to hold up and show strength. As we know, prices tend to be a lagging indicator from sales though. Our economy is more diversified than in years past, so sagging oil prices shouldn’t have as much of an impact as they might have in the past. We are not immune to their effects though. You may read more about how the real estate market performed in 2015 and the month of December here.

One of the greatest uses of your time and a great feeder for members looking to run for the HAR board of directors is the Texas REALTOR® Leadership Program (TRLP). It is an intensive, monthly program of all-day sessions where participants will learn how to be better professionals and better citizens. You may review the general program outline here and find out how to apply. It really is a worthy use of your time.

It seems like we just voted in elections (and most of us did), but it is time for the some other local races, as well state and federal elections on Tuesday, March 1. Early voting runs from February 16 through February 26, and you will have the opportunity to voice your opinion in your Texas Representative, Texas Senator, U.S. Representative and other city and county races. You may read more information about the dates and who the HAR-recommended candidates are here.

As a commercial member of HAR, I am particularly looking forward to the 2016 CCIM Commercial Real Estate Forecast Competition that will be held on Friday, February 12. It is a great opportunity to hear from various industry leaders about where they think the office, retail, industrial, land and multi-family markets are headed. You may read more information about the event here.

It is always hard to keep track of legislation and to know what is even contained in some of the larger bills. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill was signed into law and has many real estate items included. You may read all about them here. Fortunately, we have NAR in Washington, D.C. staying on top of all of these issues and helping to keep us informed.

Until next month,

Mario Arriaga
HAR Chairman of the Board