Remodeling strong in Houston

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Why the Texas market is resisting national trends

February 01, 2009
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Market Update

Remodelers in Houston have been lucky so far to avoid much of the downturn that’s hit the rest of the country. But a recent downturn in existing home sales could mean trouble is coming.

 



The Houston metro area say the largest population increase in the nation in 2007. Sustained growth over the last decade has helped keep the Houston housing market relatively strong.

“Houston’s just sitting on the fence right now, deciding whether or not we’re going to go down the drain like the rest of the country or keep on trucking,” says Michael Strong, president of Brothers Strong in Houston.

A lot of what happens in Houston is tied to oil. While the rest of us celebrate when gas prices go down, that’s a bad thing in Houston.

When oil prices decline, companies spend less. When oil is high, people spend a lot more freely, says Ben Crawford, president of Crawford Renovation in Houston.

Crawford says his company hasn’t seen any slowdown in business. In fact, he is expecting $20 million in remodeling and custom homes this year, up from $17 million in 2008. The company has a $7 million backlog going into 2009 — $1.5 million more than Crawford had entering 2008.

Crawford focuses on homes worth more than $500,000 in the city core. So far, those clients are still remodeling and still making quick decisions.

The company’s call volume is about where it was a year ago, but to achieve that, Crawford has increased it’s marketing from 4 to 5 percent of it’s budget — a six-figure investment.

Brothers Strong is also being proactive in its marketing with a recent mailing emphasizing that the company is “not just about quarter-million, whole-house remodels,” but also does smaller projects such as roofing and home energy audits, Strong says.

The 2009 Market Leaders list will appear in the October issue. For more information on the Market Leaders, visit www.proremodeler.com. 



Crawford Renovation   Design/build remodeler $14,100,000
Amazing Siding Corp.   Exterior remodeler $4,500,000
Doing What’s Right Construction   Full service remodeler $2,900,000
Living Improvements   Full service remodeler $2,414,122
Brothers Strong   Full service remodeler $1,350,000


 

Market Update

Some of the key figures from Houston show a slowing housing market, but one that remains stronger than most other parts of the country.

Metro Area Population: 5,628,101 (19.4 percent increase since 2000)

Change in home values: Up 5.17 percent since 2007; up 27.1 percent over last five years

Existing home sales: November was down 31.7 percent from 2007.

Median household income: $40,285

Unemployment rate: 5.5 percent (Up from 4.1 percent in 2007)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Houston Association of Realtors, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight

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