LUKFIN, Texas (KETK) — Texas is home to one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Here in the piney woods, some people say they’re struggling as they try to buy a new home.
John Landes is one of those people, and right now, he’s a man on a mission. He’s set his eyes on the East Texas housing market and his family’s future.
“My wife and I have baby number one coming in a month and a half,” Landes said. “Getting priorities, dominos getting them straight in order is big for us right now.”
Landes says when he started searching the internet for listings, he was surprised about who he’s going up against.
“It definitely was a shock to see we’re competing with lots of people and not people we might run across town and see and know, but people out of state, out of city,” said Landes.
Economy professors at Tyler Junior College highlight one of the biggest issues home buyers are facing. People out of state are coming to East Texas, and they are paying for houses in cash.
“They come to East Texas and find a home that is twice as large for significantly less money for them. Well that’s cheap, and they can simply afford to pay,” says Nancy Carter, TJC economic professor.
With this extra pressure, buyers like Landes are turning to local realtors who say they’re seeing rising prices affecting their clients.
Some East Texas realtors say these costs are impacting their agents too.
“Agents are having trouble finding houses in a timely fashion so they can get them into that house so they can make a competing offer,” said James Carpenter, East Texas realtor.
According to the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors last year’s first quarter, the median price for a home was $248,000. This year, the price increased by $50,000.
Down in Deep East Texas, the median price in Angelina County is around $230,000.
Despite an overall lower cost than other areas, Deep East Texas realtors say their problem is supply not meeting the demand.
“I was looking at the number of listings and it was around 360 to 400 five years ago, now we have 111 listings,” said Abby Todd, a realtor in Lufkin.
Local mortgage lenders have some advice for people who have never owned property.
“The most common question I get from first time homebuyers is, ‘Is it required that we have a large down payment for a mortgage loan?’ And the answer is no,” said Philip Price with Premier Nationwide Lending.
Landes and his family have to face all these obstacles just to get a new home. Thankfully, he has some insight other buys can’t compete with.
“Being a realtor has definitely given some tools and insights while looking for my own personal home that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Landes.
Landes said he’s staying positive as he hopes to find a house and turn it into a home.
If you’re looking to buy, it’s important to be mindful of scams. As more first-time buyers enter the market, there are several reports of people getting taken advantage of.
It’s always a good practice to read the fine print before signing a contract.
Here’s some information about avoiding scams: