When Natalie Wells and her husband put their Westchase home on the market in November 2020, they were worried the coronavirus might scare off would-be buyers and their older home would take a while to sell. But after one day of showings, they netted five offers all above the asking price.
Good news? For a short time. Then, they were faced with the challenge of finding a new home in one of the most frenzied markets Houston has ever seen. Homes were coming under contract faster than they could make lists of properties that interested them. When they got there on time to make an offer, they were outbid.
They finally landed their dream townhome in East Downtown, but there was a catch: they had to lease it back to the sellers while the sellers searched for another home. Wells and her husband, Michael Crone, stayed with family briefly and then spent two-months in a 400-square-foot Airbnb before moving into their property.
“It was such a roller coaster of emotions to really not know what your future was going to look like,” said Wells, 33. “It was probably one of the most stressful things that we’ve ever done.”
The couple experienced both sides of a red-hot real estate market that set records for sales and prices in 2021, building off an equally torrid 2020. Sales of all homes, including condos and townhomes, jumped 13 percent in 2021 to more than 130,000 — only the third time in history that sales surpassed the 100,000-units threshold, the Houston Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
Prices for single-family homes climbed more than 15 percent to a record annual median of $300,000.
Christine Salazar watches as her daughter Jiselle, 2, draws with chalk in the playroom of their new home, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Katy. Salazar says the playroom has become her favorite room in the house since moving in just two weeks ago. Salazar and her husband lived with both of their parents at times while saving up to buy their own home. When they were finally ready to buy, they ended up submitting bids on forty different homes before finally succeeding on the house in Katy into which they just moved.
Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer
“I’ve never seen anything like this in the time I’ve been in real estate and I hear the same thing from those who have been in real estate decades longer me,” said Jennifer Wauhob, chair of the Houston Association of Realtors Chair and team leader with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. “This has just been a two-year period that is unlike anything we’ve seen before.”
Those two years may well be remembered as a remarkable time when listing prices acted as a starting point for bidding up the relatively small numbers of homes on the market. Multiple offers …….