“Record-breaking year!” Did anyone expect that we would be saying that when we started 2016? Average sales price, median sales price, dollar volume and transaction volume all reached new highs. With expectations of a weaker real estate market in the greater Houston area due to lower oil prices and job losses, the market showed its resiliency, with a 3.0% increase in single-family home sales compared to 2015, and a 1.3% increase over the previous record year of 2014. I’ve said it before, but we are fortunate to live, work and play in Houston, Texas.

While much of what we do is focused on residential real estate, we have a robust and active commercial membership as well. The 2017 Annual Commercial Real Estate Forecast Competition is coming up, and it’s one that you won’t want to miss if you practice commercial real estate. This is the best of the best making their predictions of how the Houston marketplace will shake out in 2017. Whether it is Land, Retail, Industrial, Office or Multi-Family, you’ll hear what the experts think.

HAR always tries to provide the very best tools and services to our members to make sure you are as effective in your business as possible. We also do not take changes of fundamental products lightly, as we know it can be disruptive to you, so we try to minimize that disruption as much as possible. In this instance, Matrix, the new MLS platform that will be rolled out in February, has so many benefits that it made sense to switch. We will continue to have access to Tempo and Fusion until late this year, which should give you plenty of time to learn how to use Matrix, so you can hit the ground running once the switchover has been completed by yearend.

Have you ever wondered who owns the listing photographs that you paid to have taken? Have you ever had a photographer come back and say you are using the photos for an unauthorized purpose when you thought you were in the right? HAR Legal Counsel Grant Harpold penned an article highlighting some of the issues surrounding photo copyright and steps you can take to protect yourself.

With the New Year upon us, it makes sense to reflect on all that has been accomplished and all the remains to be done. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote an article that speaks about the tremendous progress the City has made during his tenure and those challenges that still exist. As he says, “We have so much more to accomplish for this great city, and, together, we will get it done!”

Until next month,

Cindy Hamann
HAR Chair of the Board