As we prepare to release our River Oaks Market Report for the first half of 2017, clients and colleagues are bombarded by mixed signals.

Real estate agents inside The Loop, especially those working at the higher price points, complain of the eerie quiet since mid-April. And, given the sudden spike of LinkedIn requests landing in our inbox from realtors and related professionals, it seems to be a widespread problem.

Meanwhile, sellers in our River Oaks market have been calling to confirm what they are hearing in the local news: “HAR announces home sales heat up in May.”

“So, is this a good time to put my house on the market?” we are asked. Fighting the urge to provide a pedantic response, we try to keep it simple.

The truth is that the inventory of available houses has climbed rather suddenly. Most of that growth has been in the priciest sector.

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Despite the large number of houses to choose from, however, sales at the highest price points have been disappointing.

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In our upcoming semi-annual report we will drill down to explain the discrepancy, and to extract sense about why some houses are selling and others are not.

We will also elucidate about the robust health of the middle-market in River Oaks ‒ houses priced between $2 and $4 million. And why, despite the received wisdom of the market that anything under $2 million sells instantly, there are a higher number of properties at this price range that are just sitting there.

There is even more confusion about the lot market. Yes, prices seem to be rising dramatically, but not necessarily for the best lots. What causes this? In a word: builders. Why would they pay so much for sub-par land? We’ll tackle that conundrum, too.

With oil prices this week sliding towards the $30s, clients are asking if we are in for another second-half like 2016. Dear God, please, no. And there are reasons to hope not. One being the remarkable levels of showing activity, so far in June. In fact, showing numbers have never been higher at this time of the year.

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What would explain this spike in showing activity, and what does it mean for this market for the rest of 2017?

No, we’re not being overly coy here. It will take more than we have room for in our monthly Letter to explain the apparent contradiction. The mixed signals are real, but we invite you to read our upcoming full report for a thoughtful explanation of the market forces at work here.