In this issue:
- January sales and lease data from HAR
- Rental assistance coming soon, still not sure how it will go though
- Upcoming freeze
We have made it through the first month of 2021. It still feels a little like 2020 to me. The stock market made some crazy moves with regards to Reddit battling hedge funds over Gamestop and AMC, COVID is still ruling our lives, and the Super Bowl was a bust, even if your team won. But, a lot of positives occurred as well. Texas became the first state to vaccinate over 1 million people, job reports saw improvements, and our property management company had more leases than in January of 2020. Interestingly, leases were down for Houston overall…
January HAR Release – https://www.har.com/content/newsroom?pid=1763
I feel like a broken record with regards to Houston area sales, so I won’t go into the full details. Sales continued to increase year over year, but only for houses priced above $250,000, inventory is at record lows, Houston real estate agents rejoice, etc., etc.
However, one item really jumped out at me this month. “Leases of single-family homes fell 18.4 percent year-over-year while leases of townhomes and condominiums tumbled 6.3 percent.” Our small sample size of a property management company actually experienced an increase in leases year over year. An 18.4% drop overall is dramatic! Could be low inventory levels of rentals, could be just an unlucky month. We’ll be watching that one closely.
Texas has started rolling out its next rental assistance program that was funded by a national stimulus package passed by Congress in 2020. It’s been dubbed the “Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program” or TERAP.
Each county has a different timeline and contact, but the requirements are the same. The renter needs to show a financial impact due to COVID such as job loss, cannot make too much money, and MUST have landlord support. I believe the funds will actually go directly to the landlord, but I haven’t found that in writing as of yet. Tenants and landlords will be able to apply towards the end of February in both Harris and Montgomery Counties. We’ll be in touch with any tenants and owners of houses that qualify and we manage once full details are available. For more info on Harris County specifically – https://www.readyharris.org/Incidents/COVID-19-Resources-Recovery.
Biden has announced he’s trying to extend the eviction moratorium through end of March. There’s an estimated $70 million in back rent owed in this country as of now, and landlords have yet to see much if any stimulus directed specifically at them. Hopefully that changes soon with this TERAP program and future ones. We’ll certainly let you know as we know more.
Looks like the Houston area is about to get some of the coldest weather it’s seen in a few years this weekend and early next week. Possibly below 20 with snow in the Conroe area even! We’ll be sending out notices to tenants, but do make sure you prepare if you’re in the area as well. Sprinklers love to bust in this kind of cold, and you definitely don’t want to be on the roads in Texas if there’s ice or snow. As a native Texan, I can promise you that I do NOT know how to drive in it and neither do most of the other folks here, so plan ahead!
Until next time, stay safe and stay warm.
Advantage Asset Management