Experts: Houston facing housing shortage

If you're having trouble finding a new home in the Houston area, you're not alone
November 19, 2013 5:03:04 PM PST
You've heard us say before, and we'll say it again: The Bayou City is booming. A growing Houston economy means a growing need for housing. But as many prospective home buyers are finding out, the housing market is not growing quite as fast the demand.

"We don't find many houses we like. But when we do, we don't get them," prospective home buyer Jennifer Jackson said.

Jackson and her fiance, Tommy Schindler, have been approved to buy a home for six months. They can't find one.

"The ones you like go really quickly. Everybody else likes them too," Schindler said.

They're not alone.

"There's just not a lot of inventory out there, period," Realtor Wendy J. Adams said.

Adams is their Realtor.

"If a buyer is looking for a house, they need to put their best foot forward. Move quickly," Adams said.

its been hard for those looking to build too. That process takes longer than it used to.

"It was shocking actually to realize how hard it was to find something we wanted with the lot size," home buyer Richard Holt said.

Holt looked for more than year before finding the right spot to build his home inside The Loop. And its an issue for buyers in every part of town.

"Even in Montrose, in less than 12 hours, it sold for about five percent over list price. And we'd priced it high," Realtor Tim Surratt said.

On the west side, at the Lakes of Bella Terra, Trendmaker Homes is trying to meet that demand, putting speculative homes on as many lots as it can. But its not easy.

"It is a slower system right now. We're seeing some cases where lead times have gone from two weeks to four weeks to six weeks on certain components of the home," said Trendmaker Homes President Will Holder.

During the recession, home starts decreased well below normal levels and only now are they back up.

"All of the subcontractors, all of the vendors and the suppliers and the builders -- the whole system capacity -- is having to rise back up about 50 percent," Holder said.

Until then, new homes and old will sell fast, and Jackson will keep looking.

"We're looking for a pretty modest two bedroom, one bath," Jackson said.

Maybe 1,200 or 1,300 square feet. We're not trying to live in a giant house," Schindler said.

Further complicating things for prospective home buyers are climbing interest rates and tighter lending rules that go in effect in January.

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