KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Building Boom or Bust?

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

There's a lot of activity in the housing market in Bryan/College Station. In the rental market, new apartments and duplexes are going up, forcing some older properties to not go up on rent in order to stay competitive.

In the buying market, homes are being built all over both cities and new builders are flocking to the area.

"Everybody wants something different," said Keith Clements, Equity Real Estate.

Clements helps a lot of students find their perfect place to live and he's noticed some changes.

"We're seeing a lot of mom's and dad's coming in and buying duplexes or small three bedroom three bath homes," said Clements.

He says most newer properties have expensive monthly rent and sometimes the cost of owning a house is about the same.

"Instead of wasting the money on rent, they can buy the home and even if they break even with the appreciation they can come ahead with that," said Clements.

"I looked and talked to three or four different builders," said Frank Wagnon, parent and home owner.

Frank Wagnon has two daughters that go to Texas A&M, Paula and Catherine. With two sets of bills, Frank was looking for a housing option that made economic sense.

"I was looking, trying to make sense of buying vs renting vs staying in a dorm," said Wagnon.

After looking at the numbers, Frank decided owning a house was the best bet.

"Compared the whole thing all the way across the board is what we tried to do and it felt like this was the best bang for the buck," said Wagnon.

Frank had a four bedroom house built, one bedroom for each daughter. The other bedrooms could be rented to friends.

"You look at it like four different living units and you rent each one of those living units, that's how it comes to make sense feasibly compared to a three bedroom or two bedroom duplex," said Wagnon.

"It's very financially advantageous at times," said James Gaines, research economist, Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Gaines, says this is happening in college towns all over the country.

"Look in Austin, Lubbock, Waco, any of the college towns in Texas or throughout the country and you'll find that same phenomenon," said Gaines.

Gaines says real estate is one of the best investments right now.

"Interest rates have been low, investing in real estate is high, interest in real estate is high, the university does provide a stable demand base," said Gaines.

This trend has contributed to the local new home boom, but in the end will it be a bust??

"We may see the pendulum swing a little far on the side of maybe a little bit more than the market can take, but I don't think it'll be to the excessive point that it just destroys everything," said Gaines.

Gaines does say the part of housing market is influenced by builders. If they build too many houses before they are sold, it is likely the market will be more saturated.

It is normal for real estate markets to go up and down a little bit. Gaines says as long as prices don't jump too high, current and future home owners shouldn't worry about their investment.


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