While higher prices are usually a good thing, when you have record low inventory as the cause, it is something to pay attention to a little more closely. With the second month in a row of only 2.6 months of inventory, the greater Houston real estate market saw gains in prices with slower growth in year-over-year sales increases. It does come down to normal supply and demand economics, but we will hopefully see more inventory from a combination of both new construction and existing homes coming on the market to allow our buyers to have more options, while still maintaining some of the pricing strength we’ve seen. You may read more about the latest market statistics here.

We are also coming up on the time when homeowners will be receiving property tax appraisals from the county appraisal districts. There is a great article submitted by the Harris County Appraisal District  that gives you come information that you can use and can pass on to your clients. As we hear that appraisals have been sent out, we will also be promoting that REALTORS® are a great resource to help consumers/clients with information to protest their property tax appraisals. It is an excellent way for you to show your continued value to them. You may read about it here.

There is also a great article  from Jeremy Conaway about off-MLS marketing of homes. These are sometimes known as pocket listings or whisper listings. Some other parts of the country are seeing as much as 40 percent of the sales taking place outside the MLS. In Houston, one of the main draws of using a REALTOR® is to have the home included in the MLS and displayed on HAR.com. If a consumer is led to believe that they can sell their home without the MLS, then the next step is to believe they can sell it without a REALTOR® entirely. These are potentially dangerous transactions for everyone involved. This is a must-read about this important issue.

International buyers are a huge segment and are only projected to increase as the U.S. remains a safer investment relative to many other parts of the world. You may read about which countries people come from who are buying real estate in the U.S. and what countries generate the most traffic on HAR.com. Did you know that title companies don’t exist anywhere else in the world outside of the U.S.? (Read more about it here.) International buyers also typically purchase higher-priced properties and tend to pay all cash.  Read about all of these interesting facts here.

In last month’s HAR Board of Directors meeting, someone asked how many Texas REALTORS® Leadership Program (TRLP) graduates were in the room serving on the board. I don’t know exactly how many people raised their hands, but it was probably a majority of the board members. TRLP is a tremendous program that gives you a broad range of information that will help make you a better REALTOR® and a better leader in the community. You may read more about it and how to apply for this year’s program here.