Gay Realty Watch: Houston, Texas

Gay Houston Real EstateWe continue our look into local real estate markets with large gay and lesbian communities. Today, our second place in Texas: Houston by the sea – hot beaches, hot guys, and lots of oil money:

John Daugherty, Realtors, Houston Real Estate Agency, Adds Smartphone Technology to Houston Home Buying – John Daugherty, Realtors, has become the first Houston real estate company to incorporate a powerful new mobile technology called Microsoft Tag on yard signs. The Tag technology was developed by Microsoft and is free of charge. The Tag Reader app can be downloaded from http://gettag.mobi to mobile phones, such as Windows Phone, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android-based Internet-capable mobile phones that include a camera. Once downloaded, with just a quick scan from a smartphone, buyers will have instant access to property description, price and photos along with local information such as maps, schools, nearby restaurants with ratings and shopping.

Heritage Plaza deal could be a record price – One of downtown’s signature skyscrapers is being sold for perhaps a near-record price, a sign of strength in the still-wobbly commercial real estate market. Brookfield Office Properties, a major downtown landlord, is buying Heritage Plaza – the 53-story tower crowned by a Mayan temple on the western edge of the Central Business District. Brookfield, a commercial real estate company with corporate offices in New York City and Toronto, would not comment on the transaction, but a source familiar with the deal said the sale could close by next month.

From bad to worse in mortgage crisis – When Juventino Mireles’ daughter and his in-laws hit financial rough spots earlier this year, his efforts to help them put him $7,500 behind on his own mortgage payments.
In September, his northwest Houston home was posted for foreclosure. Just as things seemed most desperate, a letter arrived in the mail from a company offering help – as long as Mireles acted fast. The company said it could get his monthly payments and interest rates lowered for a fee of about $1,400, he said.

Cold feet still chill Houston-area home sales – Area home sales took another hit in September as uncertainty over the economy and broader housing market kept buyers at bay. Single-family home sales fell 18.6 percent, compared with September 2009, the third straight monthly double-digit decline, according to data released Tuesday by the Houston Association of Realtors. Local housing activity has been sluggish since a federal homebuyer tax credit expired earlier this year. Combined with the typically slower fall selling season and confusion amid foreclosure moratoriums, it appears the near future, at least, will remain weak.

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