Million-dollar homes stagnant on market, skewing market value in the Lake Conroe area

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Million-dollar homes stagnant on market, skewing market value in the Lake Conroe area
Average lake home prices and real estate listings are picking up this summer in the Lake Conroe area. However, the number of property listings and the total value of the Lake Conroe area market actually decreased 9.5% since last summer, according to the summer 2019 Lake Market Report by Lake Homes Realty.

The study said Lake Conroe has the fourth-largest lake home market in Texas this summer, offering 6.8% of the state’s total lakeside listings—worth $221.7 million combined. Lakes Travis, Lyndon B. Johnson and Austin top the chart at 16.1%, 10.7% and 9.9%, respectively, of Texas’ total $3.3 billion in lake home listings.

The report pulls from more than 100 multiple listing services across 26 states for lake properties with lake views or access—abundant in Conroe and Montgomery communities.

“In many markets, buyers and sellers incorrectly believe home prices have stagnated or have even increased,” Lake Homes Realty CEO Glenn Phillips said. “In some areas, this may be true. However, while the average has gone up [near Lake Conroe], it’s possible the reason for this is that much of the available inventory of lower- and mid-priced homes have sold, while higher-end homes remain on the market.”

Lake Homes spokesperson Dezirae McGee said the Lake Conroe area lost 22 lake listings compared to this time last year. She said only six listings were added over the last quarter, but they were expensive homes that drove up the average price by about $12 million.

“That land value decrease is not unique to the Lake Conroe market—across Texas, [other lake] markets saw similar decreases,” McGee said.

According to the Houston Association of Realtors on July 9, three out of 34 listings in the Bentwater neighborhood were above the $1 million mark—two of which have been on the market more than 110 days, about twice the county average. April Sound, another lakefront community, has one home listed for $2.5 million on the market for 29 days, out of 85 listings.

Most developable lakefront land on Lake Conroe has already been built out, with the exception of Chambers Creek Ranch, currently under construction.

“There haven’t been a lot of new listings added. If you look at what’s sold, we’re seeing market values have increased,” said Bruce Sellers, realtor with Keller Williams in Conroe. “Time on the market and also offer prices have gone up—enough that it’s noticeable.”

McGee said last year, Lake Conroe and other lake markets saw land listings going for lower prices than previously.

“What that indicated for us from a numbers standpoint, and really what we’re seeing across the state as a whole, is Texas’ land market is kind of slow to start for this year,” McGee said.

She said about 15% of homes listed in Lake Conroe are priced between $1 million-$2 million, with only 3% priced above $2 million—but most buyers prefer $500,000-$600,000. Many high-priced properties are in upscale neighborhoods such as Bentwater or rural, unincorporated ranches, according to HAR.

“The age of opulence has passed, meaning real estate consumers are no longer willing to buy those high-end properties of the past,” McGee said. “These high-end, multimillion-dollar, big, opulent homes are remaining on the market for longer periods of time, while more desirable, more affordable properties are being sold ... driving average home prices up.”

View more of our 2019 Real Estate Edition coverage.
By Jules Rogers
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Jules Rogers has been covering community journalism and urban trade news since 2014. She moved to Houston in June 2018 to become an editor with Community Impact Newspaper after four years of reporting for various newspapers affiliated with the Portland Tribune in Oregon, including two years at the Portland Business Tribune. Before that, Jules spent time reporting for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in Southern Oregon. Her favorite beats to cover are business, economic development and urban planning.