Hard stop to full throttle: Houston’s land market generates career firsts in 2020

Rounding the corner into 2020, things were looking good for the Houston-area land market. “Retail was strong, multifamily was acquiring sites for new development, listings were moving and buyers were very active,” said Kristen McDade, who leads Berkadia’s land services team. As soon as the pandemic took hold, though, the market came to a grinding halt. “Everyone stomped on the brakes as nobody has ever been through a pandemic in the U.S. before,” said Kirk Laguarta, broker at Land Advisors. He said that one thing did accelerate: the home-buying process. Laguarta suggested the increase was due to low interest rates and many people wanting to get out of apartments into new homes. “Bottom feeders” also emerged in the spring, looking to capitalize on what they viewed as a wounded market.
“In April, I had a group make a $25,000 offer on a site listed around $3 million,” McDade said. “When we all finished laughing, they made another similar offer on another tract. I finally told the guy, ‘Even in the worst of times, this is ridiculous.’” She said a couple of her deals dropped, but most buyers paused to evaluate whether to close deals they had under contract. McDade said the majority worked out extensions that allowed them to get a better handle on the market moving forward. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.