Low inventory, interest rates influence Cy-Fair's real estate market throughout pandemic

New home construction continues in the Bridlecreek neighborhood, featuring builders such as Coventry Homes. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
New home construction continues in the Bridlecreek neighborhood, featuring builders such as Coventry Homes. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)

New home construction continues in the Bridlecreek neighborhood, featuring builders such as Coventry Homes. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)

Despite the Greater Houston region losing more jobs than in the Great Recession and the 1980s oil downturn combined in March and April 2020, people continued to purchase homes at competitive prices with low mortgage rates.

While local home sales dipped in the spring, Cy-Fair’s market began to bounce back in June and ended up reaching about the same level of sales as the previous year, according to Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center.

“I think what we saw in Cypress was pretty indicative of what was happening in Houston in general. In the beginning of the year, it started off pretty strong, the pandemic hit [and] everything slowed up a little bit,” Patten Title Company President Eric Fontanot said. “But as we continued to progress through the latter part of the year and the stay-at-home orders were lifted, it was gangbusters.”

Fontanot, whose company works with local buyers, sellers, lenders, appraisers and brokers, said the busiest months for single-family home sales typically fall between May and August with a peak in June and July. But because of the pandemic and pent-up demand, selling activity spiked in June and continued at high rates even through September—when the market typically slows at the start of the school year.

In Cypress particularly, Fontanot said the market’s strength comes from the healthy balance of higher-end homes and entry-level homes for young families, all located in an acclaimed school district. The area should expect continued appreciation of home values and opportunity for new homeowners to buy as the community expands over the next five years, he said.

He said most of the local homes were built after 2000, and about one-third of homes fall in the affordable $125,000-$250,000 range.

“It’s harder and harder to find homes because people really like living out on the northwest side of town because of the schools, because of the affordability, because of the options that are available,” Fontanot said. “And with the buying power that they have, they can buy quickly. I think that continues to strengthen the market, and I don’t think it’s really going anywhere.”

On top of that, interest rates across the nation dropped lower than ever before during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.

Fontanot said he believes low mortgage rates will continue through 2021, and high home sales will continue as long as builders can keep up with the demand in the aftermath of the pandemic—when inventory rates in Cy-Fair on average declined about 33% year over year.

Otherwise, Fontanot said he expects the real estate market to return to a more traditional trend in 2021 with more activity in April, May and June than Cy-Fair saw in 2020. However, if COVID-19 rates increase and extended lockdowns are instated again with businesses closing their doors, he said things could start heading in the opposite direction again.

“The pandemic absolutely caused a bit of a stumble in the traditional trajectory of the real estate market, but it’s actually had a positive effect from the standpoint of homeownership,” Fontanot said. “There’s a desire for renters to move into single-family residences [to] get out of those confined spaces; there’s more folks working from home, so they want a little more operating room; there’s a lot of buying power with interest rates really low. That is all fueling the desire to go out and purchase a home.”
By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


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