This is the question posed repeatedly of late by one of our favorite buyer clients. The cheeky and obvious answer is, “Because you didn’t buy it.”

It is a relevant question in our current River Oaks market where many delightful homes are not selling, and a challenging one to answer – though never as challenging as the accusatory, “Why haven’t you sold my house?”

And that’s what it comes down to, in the case of both questions: One can’t actually “sell” a house, especially in River Oaks. If you are a good agent you can market the house well, educate your seller to be aware of the market’s nuances and communicate well to both your client and to the other market participants. But the sale always requires a motivated buyer, at the very least, and it often requires a motivated seller, too.

As the year 2015 nears its end, real estate sales in River Oaks, when accounting for the four closings expected in December, will be almost exactly on par with 2014.


However, the reasons for houses selling – that is, the motivations of buyers – have been very different from last year to this year. Looking at the dozen or so houses that have sold since the summer (we’re excluding lots and future teardowns), eight of those sales were consummated for compelling personal reasons. All those buyers were motivated in so far as they couldn’t miss the opportunity to buy a particular house, very often for family reasons such as bursting at the seams with munchkins in their current home or needing to be close to family members.

For a while it was looking like everyone else, buyers and sellers alike, were not doing very much at all. Thankfully, in the last days of November and the first week of December there was a new breath of life in the market.


After a demoralizing September and October, pending contracts picked up in November. Some of the houses involved have been on the market for a while, and four of them are in the high price range of the River Oaks market, $4 million and above. This was in spite of the fact that showing activity has been in steady decline since September, indicating that many of these new buyers have been looking for a while, but have only decided to take the next step recently.


Looking forward to 2016, there is an interesting prospect of fresh inventory soon, especially at the high end. Fortunately, this will be accompanied by a large number of qualified buyers who have been biding their time for many months. But when will they decide that the time is right to actually make the purchase? When we have the answers, we’ll let you know.