In Katy, Texas, west of Houston, the real estate market is slowly improving, say local Realtors. The rising tide of Houston real estate is lifting the suburb's boat.

Says Realtor Rosa Jimenez ( Luxury Real Estate Kitchens Homes, Condos, Mansions and Estates Photo Gallery ), "Existing home sales for the third quarter of 2002 increased 3.5 percent over the third quarter of 2001, as reported in Houston’s Multiple Listing Service. In addition, existing sales last month reached an all-time high, representing the highest amount of sales ever recorded during the month of September. Total sales for the third quarter of 2002, consisting of single-family homes, townhomes, multifamily, country homes, high-rise properties, lots and new homes listed on the MLS, topped out at 16,118 for 2002, which is a 3.5 percent increase in cumulative sales from this time last year. Last year's total sales for the third quarter of 2001 reached 15,572.

She says, "There are 46,036 homes that have been sold year to date. Existing home sales for the same period last year totaled 43,282."

Located about 25 miles west of downtown Houston, Katy is a prime beneficiary of the constantly improving highway network in and around metropolitan Houston," says Realtor Margie Kaplan , "It is strategically located to offer the best of all possible worlds in transportation. One of the reasons people love the Katy area is the pleasant subtropical climate. Situated on the coastal plains of Texas, with relative proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, moderate summer and winter low temperature extremes, the winters are mild and the summers warm and humid. Average daily high temperature in the summer is in the low 90's and daily high temperatures in winter average 65 degrees. Gulf winds make summer nights pleasant and snowfall is rare."

"Fort Bend County's residential real estate market offers a diverse range of products to meet the demands of its expanding population," explains Kaplan. "Master-planned communities account for approximately one-third of the Fort Bend housing market. There are currently 32 planned communities in the county with a minimum planned population of 1,000 residents. The total designed population of the planned communities is 327,165 persons. Over 9,075 acres were announced the past year for development in eight locations throughout the county. Additionally, several of the existing planned communities are continuing to develop, and others are undergoing expansion to address the increased housing demands in Fort Bend County. In 2001, 7,037 homes were sold in Fort Bend County, a 5% increase over last year's numbers, outpacing the surrounding counties in the region. The averages sales price of homes is $170,000."

Says Realtor Houston Home Team , "August single family resales were off considerably from last year. With 4009 existing single family homes sold in 2002 and 4912 in August of 2001, that's a drop of almost 20 percent.

However, interest rates are still hitting lows, advises the Houston Home Team, "so it's a great time to look into refinancing or selling and getting something larger. You may not get as much money for your home, if you sell, or it may take longer to market. At the same time you will be able to get more for your money when you buy."

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