Comment of the Day: Little Houses Not Far from Prairie St.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LITTLE HOUSES NOT FAR FROM PRAIRIE ST. “I did get a chuckle out of the statement that the problem with the old houses was that they were 900 square feet and thus there was ‘nothing to do’ but tear them down. I actually think there’s quite a market for 900 square foot living spaces located right near downtown. When they are condos or apartments, they’re quite popular, and there are quite a few houses that size in the Heights that continue to sell – and not as teardowns. It’s an ideal, efficient living space for a single person or a couple, and the existence of smaller houses creates housing options – so the entry price in a neighborhood isn’t higher than many can afford – and thus you get a healthy mix of residents, from young professionals in the smaller houses to families in the larger ones. Having small houses in the mix is really good for an urban neighborhood; the idea that they all have to go is kind of crazy.” [John, commenting on Withering Townhouses of the First Ward]

9 Comment

  • Totally agree with this commenter.

    When we built our retirement/vacation island house, we decided to go small. Our new house is 800 square feet and I don’t know why we ever lived in anything bigger ( well we lived in a 1,500 sq.ft. so the kids could have a bedroom, but the kids could have gotten by with less room).

    It’s less expensive for utilities and much easier for me to keep clean.

    I would recommend smaller to everyone.

  • Totally agreed. My friends and family that have 5000 sq ft and larger homes NEVER use all of the space. It’s a total waste of their resources.

  • I live in 840 sf. Last year I added on a screened in back porch, 400 sf. Love it. Love my house. It is perfect for a single person and I have many dogs and we all get along wonderfully.

    I oculd probably not move to the suburbs unless I wanted a condo (which I don’t) because all the houses are too big for me. Same goes for most of my neighbors. To each his own, but please leave me to my own.

  • The problem is not whether there is a market for small homes but if there is a market for small homes that cost $300 sq. ft. When a lot costs minimum 200k in the Heights, that is what you get, plus the fear that it will be very hard to sell. When I moved here in 1981, the first thing I was told about Texas was “Nothing succeeds like excess!” It remains true.

  • The market fear is a valid point – although a small (less than 800 square feet) house up the street from me (in Sunset Heights) with an asking price of $275/square foot just went under option. (It’s a really nice house, and there’s plenty of room to add on in the back if one so desires; I considered buying it.)

    There are people (including me) who value location very, very highly, and would happily trade 200 extra square feet for a great location, and so I think you will see that segment of buyers picking up good small houses. It’s a little tough now while the market is soft… but I’ve seen lots of bigger houses in the heights sitting around for months unsold too.

    But my bet is that if you fast forward a couple of years you’ll see people doing pretty well on these houses.

    I’m just pointing out that as part of the mix, they are good for a neighborhood. If they are the only thing, then there are a lot of people who will never consider a neighborhood; if there are none, there are people who want to be there but can’t afford it; neither of those situations is good. Diverse housing choices are healthy. The ideal situation is when you can go from an apartment to a small house to a bigger house and maybe back to a small low maintenance place in one area as your needs change – that creates stability.

  • Point well taken but, as a long time observer, I have see the tsunami in slo-mo. What is in fact happening is that ALL the housing is becoming out of reach for most people. The Houston average house costs about 154k and that don’t buy you bupkus in the loop’s west side, not even an empty lot. The artists and social workers and teachers and such cannot possibly move in. I know this is what the Mayor wants but I mourn the passing of economic diversity, because my block is basically all rich white people now and the feel has changed – not for the better. As one said to me while I was out doing yard work “Didn’t you know? That is why God made Mexicans.”

  • In the loop includes more than the western half. Yes, some neighborhoods gentrify. That’s how it goes. There are lots of affordable spots in the loop though (Lindale Park, Idylwood, etc.)

  • Dear John
    About one of the places just 20k over average, the realtor says (today on

    “Either remodel for yourself, continue renting the property to tenants or tear it down and build new. This area is in transformation!
    Listing Price: $174,900
    Address 406 Graceland St
    City / Zip: Houston / 77009-1818
    Subdivision: Lindale Park 5”

  • Oh finness, I feel your pain. I wouldn’t want that trash as a neighbor either.