What's the state of housing in Houston?

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- In the shadow of Houston's still bustling economy, John Chen, is looking for a job.

"I got laid off January 14," recalls the seven year Slumberger veteran. "They basically walked me into HR and said sorry due to the economic situation, we're going to have to let you go."

Chen is not planning on selling his house. The computer developer is looking for another job in Houston. However, realtor Tim Surratt says Chen should have no problems if he does decide to sell.

"We're still below three month supply, and a balanced market is 6 month supply," said Surratt. "So we're still going to have a shortage, and they're expecting prices to go up about 6 percent this year."

Surratt says the real estate market could use a bit of cooling off, and he expects land prices to decline first. Then, homes outside of the Houston city core could begin to see sales stagnate. However, Surratt says the inner core homes continue to sell, and sell well.

As for apartments, developer Jonathan Farb says you can expect some prices to go down, but not bargain basement. He points out that his Midtown development is 100 percent leased, and he still has two projects on the drawing board.

"I think there's going to be some opportunities (for lower rent,)" says Farb. "I don't think it's realistic to expect you'll get 3 months free."

Around 20,000 apartment units are expected to come online in Houston this year. Across the city, there is still plenty of construction ongoing.

Overall, Surratt expects an adjustment, but not a crash. "It will make it a little less hectic, and a little more reasonable."

As for Chen, he says he's hoping to find a job, or perhaps switching careers.

"I can always move out of town, or do my other business, which is being a DJ."
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