Houston Economic Update by the Federal ReserveThe Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reports that the Houston economy is beginning to feel the effects of the national housing crisis.  New construction is down and foreclosures are up...

"Is Houston feeling the strain of the U.S. slowdown? It is not apparent yet in the employment data, but the clearest effect is spillover from the U.S. housing downturn. Both the number of single-family permits and existing home sales are down sharply, and foreclosures are rising...

"The bottom rungs of the Houston housing market continue to lag, with overall permits for new single-family construction down 27 percent from January 2007, and existing homes sales down 14 percent. The bust in the subprime market and loss of those potential customers triggered the local slowdown last summer, and year-to-date foreclosures were up 16 percent in the first two month of 2008 compared with last year..."

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, February 2008

The Houston economy has been lucky to avoid these real estate woes so far, but our housing market has definitely slowed recently, particularly for entry-level homes on the edges of the city.

Roger Martin