Falling Oil Prices Not Stopping Texas Job Growth

Falling Oil Prices Not Stopping Texas Job Growth, Latest Real Estate Center Report Shows

By Bryan Pope, Associate Editor, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University June 2, 2015/Release No. 21-0615

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ economy continues to create more jobs despite lower oil prices, according to the latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy published by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The state’s economy gained 304,200 nonagricultural jobs from April 2014 to April 2015, an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent compared with 2.2 percent for the United States. The state’s nongovernment sector added 282,200 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent compared with 2.6 percent for the nation’s private sector. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in April 2015 from 5.2 percent in April 2014. The nation’s rate decreased from 6.2 to 5.4 percent All Texas industries except mining and logging (which includes oil and gas) and manufacturing had more jobs. The state’s leisure and hospitality industry ranked first in job creation followed by construction and transportation, warehousing and utilities. All Texas metro areas except Texarkana, Wichita Falls and College Station-Bryan had more jobs. Odessa ranked first in job creation, followed by Midland, Dallas-Plano-Irving, Corpus Christi and Beaumont-Port Arthur. The state’s unemployment rate in April was 4 percent. Amarillo had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Midland, Austin-Round Rock, Lubbock, College Station-Bryan and San Antonio-New Braunfels.

The full report is online at http://www.recenter.tamu.edu/pdf/1862.pdf.

Texas Housing Market on Track for Second Best Year Ever

Texas Housing Market on Track for Second Best Year Ever

By Bryan Pope, Associate Editor, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University Oct. 24, 2014/Release No. 4-1014 COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) –

This year will end as the second best year ever in Texas in terms of existing home sales, said a housing market expert with the Real Estate Center. “Last year was the second best year ever in the state of Texas for home sales volume,” said Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines. “It was second only to 2006, which was at the height of the housing boom and all the easy financing. And 2013 wasn’t that far off from that. This is going to become the new second best year ever. We are having a really terrific year.” The latest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data show that sales of existing single-family homes in Texas were 7 percent higher last month than in September 2013. About 24,640 homes were sold last month, over 1,600 more than the same month last year, but almost 2,800 less than in August. Gaines said the August-to-September downturn is the normal seasonal falloff. So far this year, 217,690 homes have been sold, about 1 percent more than this time last year. “We’re getting exactly what we thought we were going to get, and that’s a slowdown in the rate of increase,” Gaines said. “Last year sales went up about 16 percent. It was a big, big jump. This year it’s a little jump. Home prices are doing a very similar kind of thing. There’s been a step-up in prices the last five years, and we’re still seeing that step up. But the rise of the step isn’t quite as high. “As our prices have been going up progressively here in Texas, incomes really haven’t been going up at the same pace percentage-wise. Home prices going up faster than income means that ultimately affordability and what people can afford to pay becomes an issue.” Gaines said homebuyers getting hit the hardest are those on the lower end of the home-price spectrum. “Very few homebuilders are building homes under $200,000 or $250,000 in most of our markets,” he said. “So there’s no increase in supply on that low-priced end.” In addition, credit tightness is affecting first-time buyers and first-time move-up buyers much harder than older buyers at higher income levels. “The good news for Texas is that our prosperity is, in general, still continuing,” Gaines said. “On the horizon, it appears that it will continue. The only cloud on that horizon is what’s happening in the energy sector. In the last couple of weeks, the price of oil has dropped appreciably. When the trend is downward in the price of oil, you start looking ahead and saying ‘okay, just how far can this trend go before it really becomes a problem?’ Right now it doesn’t appear to be, but it’s one of those things we’ve got to keep our eye on.”

Our Team is Growing! Help us Welcome Zane!

Just this past week Hancock welcomed a new team member into our fold. Zane Koltermann was hired as an all-around office assistant and looks to be a very valuable addition to our staff. Zane’s immediate duties will include administrative tasks associated with home inspections in Austin / San Marcos as well as New Braunfels / San Antonio offices.  Coordinating office and field personnel will be a priority.

Zane will also have phone duties, so don’t be surprised when you hear a new voice the next time you call!

We are very excited to have Zane on board!

A Peaceful Home Buying Experience

Hancock’s Guide to a Great Home Inspection


“Will the house pass the inspection??” is a very common question I get from prospective home buyers. These folks are usually in the very center of the stress-filled cyclone that is the typical home buying process.

It does not have to be this way.

If you are a prospective home buyer conducting research or if you are in the middle of contract negotiations and under a 10 day option period, the following information is definitely for you.

A thorough home inspection is a critical part of the home buying process and, if performed correctly, will provide the home buyer with comfort, understanding and peace of mind.  No house can ever ‘fail’ an inspection.  This usually only happens as a result of fear of the challenges that are present on any given property.  This fear can be dissolved into confidence. This comes with knowledge and understanding the big picture associated with every problem item.

Great! How can this accomplished?

Most people strive to understand and control most of the critical aspects of their lives. This is certainly true with the purchase of a home.  To obtain this peace of mind, the inspector must work to instill confidence that comes with understanding the truth behind the problem items they identify.

This can be accomplished if three criteria are met:

The inspector must be independent from any conflict of interest that could influence the report.

  1. The inspector must be independent from any conflict of interest that could influence the report.
  2. The inspector must take a comprehensive approach to their reporting process.
  3. The inspector has to provide an education-first approach to how they relay the information to their client.

If the home inspector takes on the responsibility of acting as an advocate for their client, they and their clients will quickly find themselves in a student-teacher relationship. A verbal report should be presented on sight and a written report with photographs should be provided at a later time as well.  The inspector should be patient and answer questions fully. At the end of the inspection process the client should have as much information as they need in order to feel comfortable meeting the challenge of any problem item identified on the report. Finally, the inspector should remain accessible throughout the process; even after the report is presented.

If the inspector utilizes an education-first approach to providing peace of mind to their clients, no property can ever ‘fail’ an inspection.  The specific deficiencies with a property may be more challenging than the client wants to accept for a given sale price, but fear should never be a factor in the decision to purchase a home or to move on.

The goal for any inspector should be for their client’s home buying decision to be based on a complete understanding of the challenges associated with the property.  If this comfort level can be achieved, the stress associated with the home buying process will be greatly reduced.

You deserve a peaceful home buying process.  After all, it’s a great feeling to know your home!




Wade Hancock

Professional Inspector

Hancock Consulting & Inspections, PLLC

New Braunfels, TX

(830) 608-1200

TREC #20451





What boomed in 3Q 2014? Austin office market!

AUSTIN – The Central Texas office market posted a strong showing in third quarter 2014, as the region’s job growth continued to drive demand for space, according to Cushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commerical.

Top-tier office space was 91 percent occupied for 3Q 2014, up from 88 percent in 3Q 2013, according to Austin-basedCushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commercial, which tracks the market. Rents for the top-tier space hit $32.95 in 3Q 2014, up 2.4 percent from 3Q 2013.

Austin employers added 32,100 jobs in the past four quarters, a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent, according toMarcus & Millichap’s 3Q 2014 office market report. The metro’s thriving high-tech sector continues to drive demand for office space.

The downtown office market had one of its best quarters ever, according to Katie Ekstrom, a vice president in Austin withCBRE. Tenants leased more than 255,400 sf of net new space, Cushman & Wakefield / Oxford Commercial reported.

Two new downtown towers — Colorado Tower and IBC Bank Plaza, which combined will add more than 500,000 sf of office space — are both almost fully leased, local brokers say, and are setting the stage for additional new construction.

Austin is building new office space at one of the highest rates in the country, according to Marcus & Millichap. About 530,000 sf of space were completed during the last four quarters, including the first phase of Apple Inc.’s new campus in Northwest Austin.

In all, developers have nearly 2.6 million sf of space under construction in the Austin metro, 1.5 million of which is due to wrap up by the end of 2014. Another 2.4 million sf of space is in the planning pipeline.

Ekstrom said that tenant prospects are currently scouring the market for more than 4 million sf of space, and buildings under construction across the city are seeing strong leasing activity.

Forbes: Austin is No 2 City for Future Job Growth

Forbes: Austin No. 2 in U.S. for future job growth
AUSTIN – Austin ranked second in Forbes’ list of best U.S. cities for future job growth over the next three years and was one of five Texas cities to make the cut.

With projected annual job growth of 4.1 percent and the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, Austin is proving to be an attractive option for companies that want to take advantage of the strong local workforce.

The Lone Star capital boasts the third-highest net migration rate in the U.S. during the past five years, Forbes reported. The median household income is $58,932.

Other Texas cities that made it to Forbes’ list of best cities for job growth include: McAllen at No. 3, Dallas at No. 5, Houston at No. 9 and San Antonio at No. 10. Naples, Florida ranked No. 1.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See Forbes for the full report.

Grand Opening of Our New Home Inspection Office in Austin, TX!

We would like to announce the Grand Opening of our new office located at 700 Lavaca Street in Austin, TX. We are excited to be able to offer even faster home inspection service for our clients in the Austin and San Marcos metro areas.

We would like to thank all of our home inspection clients for enabling this growth and we look forward to serving even more people in the area. Buda and Kyle home inspection market is also booming and clients in this area will be served from our new location in Austin.

Bexar County Foreclosures Hit 12-Year Low

The number of Bexar County properties headed to the foreclosure auction next month has hit its lowest mark in about a dozen years.

For July, 469 properties are listed for foreclosure, a 29.4 percent drop from July 2013, according to data from RexReport.com.

The number of distressed properties headed to the auction block is the lowest since September 2002. July marks 20 consecutive months with declining foreclosure postings, a trend that started in December 2012.

So far this year, there have been 3,744 foreclosure postings in Bexar County — an almost 30 percent drop from the first half of last year when there were 5,305 listings.

Read more at the San Antonio Express-News