San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

COVER: Century 21 president and chief executive officer Rick Davidson welcomed Randall Morris & Associates principals to the national company during a ceremony on Wednesday at Texas State University. Pictured from left to right are Davidson, Carter Morris, Holly Morris, Kathy Morris and Randall Morris. PHOTO by RAFAEL MARQUEZ

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Longtime local real estate industry fixture Randall Morris & Associates celebrated its recent affiliation with Century 21 during an event last week.

Rick Davidson, the national company’s president and chief executive officer, told Morris’ 52 agents and their guests that Century 21 intends to dominate the San Marcos and New Braunfels residential markets.

Nationally, Davidson said, the real estate industry continues its rebound because home prices are still well below the pre-bust highs in most markets and because interest rates are at an all-time low. The current prime interest rate is 3.25 percent and analysts expect it to hold at relative bargain levels through 2013.

Nevertheless, Davidson said, recession-chastened banks remain tight-fisted in granting mortgages. In 2012, the average home loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration went to a borrower with a FICO score of 720 compared to 627 in 2007 and 628 in 2008. Fewer than 20 percent of U.S. adults qualify for a loan at the current threshold, according to the Washington Post.

In December, after 30 years as an independent broker, Morris and his son, Carter Morris, finalized an agreement to buy out Mark Mayhew’s Century 21-The Excell Team and to acquire the exclusive rights to the Century 21 franchises in San Marcos and New Braunfels.

Carter Morris said the deal gives his companies the opportunity “to join a national brand [that would] bring the resources that are [necessary] to compete in a fast changing market.”

The deal gives Randall Morris & Associates access to Century 21’s extensive information technology infrastructure, Carter Morris said, giving the outfit an edge in the Austin-San Antonio corridor.

RAFAEL MARQUEZ contributed reporting for this story.

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