CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Al Martin has been working with local Re/Max Professionals realtor Lydia Ransom to find a small house.
But even though he was looking for something small, the current shortage of houses being sold on the market – also known as a seller’s market – made it very difficult.
Not only did the shortage give him fewer houses to choose from, but finding the sweet spot of houses he liked and could afford, was tricky, despite falling interest rates.
“I had to find one, and Lydia found me this house that was just being finished,” he said. “I think it’s 650 square feet -- something like that. Just a little house. It was pretty nice looking, and had a fairly small yard, but it was decent.”
Ransom said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the make-up of the Corpus Christi housing market, causing prices to go up.
“Sometimes we think we know the market and it’s just so much things that have happened and it’s like out of our control,” she said.
Local realtors told KRIS 6 News the pandemic has affected the market in very different ways.
Some people aren’t able to qualify for a home loan because they lost their job due to the pandemic, Ransom said, and they couldn’t pay their bills, which affected their credit.
Others are looking for change, and that’s what Martin’s daughter, Amanda Burleson, is counting on as she tries to sell her house.
“People are ready to get out, they’re ready to make changes and move. I think everybody’s been stuck in kind of a spotfor a while. Even us we’re like it’s time to make some changes,” she said.
Burleson said her house only has been on the market for about three weeks, and even though she hasn’t had any offers, people are coming to see it.
Being stuck at home is exactly what Corpus Christi Association of Realtors CEO Elke Gonzalez said is motivating people to buy now.
She said the market is booming and said, since 2015, realtors are seeing the number of houses sold increase by more than 25 percent.
She said the median house price was under $200,000 in 2019, but now, the median price is slightly above that.
“We’re seeing more people wanting to purchase homes and we’re finding that our realtors are having multiple offer situations in our market,” Gonzalez said.
Ransom agrees. She said before the pandemic, prices were more negotiable, but now she’s encouraging clients selling their homes to take the highest offer.
Martin ultimately landed in a home that works for him, despite the current market.
And though Ransom admits the changing market can be difficult for some to navigate, for her, it’s still worth helping her clients through the process.
“Just finding a house for a person -- that is so satisfying,” she said. “Watching the family and everybody be happy and walk into their house, and -- it’s the American dream to own a house.”