In the near future, there are a few things we can predict and a few things we can’t regarding Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the Houston real estate market.
I recently had the opportunity to travel down to the Houston area with my Keller Williams colleagues to lend a hand to homeowners whose homes had flooded due to Hurricane Harvey. We got to help a lot of families, but there are many more who still need help.
When I got back to Austin, my Lyft driver asked me how the Houston market would be affected by the disaster. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t thought much about it too much, but I want to tell you what I told him.
In the short term, lease activity will be pretty heavy. There are a lot of displaced families who need a place to live, so any houses or apartments for rent will likely get snatched up pretty quickly.
It’s hard to say if the demand for homes will increase or not. A lot of people who lost their houses may want to buy a new house instead of rent one. However, there will also be a sizeable segment of people who had previously been shopping for homes and now want to put those plans on hold in light of everything that’s happening.
It’s also hard to say whether any of this will affect the Austin market. I’m sure some people will want to move out of the Houston area and into other areas, but it’s difficult to say how many of those people there are, and I think it’s a pretty small percentage.
How long will it take Houston to recover? Again, it’s hard to say. Before Hurricane Harvey, the Houston market was booming. There was a lot of building happening, and they already had a shortage of good contractors. With all these thousands of homes that need repair, I don’t know where the work will come from to fix and renovate them.
Another point to remember is that some families in Houston simply won’t be able to recover. Most of the homes in Houston before the flood weren’t located in a floodplain, so they likely didn’t have flood insurance.
These aren’t very definitive answers, but I hope it gives you an idea of how a disaster affects a metropolitan market like Houston. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to speak with you.