Comment of the Day: Looking for Houston’s Neighborhood-Alikes

COMMENT OF THE DAY: LOOKING FOR HOUSTON’S NEIGHBORHOOD-ALIKES “I think the math is already starting to work for some people. Remember the guy who was concerned that he had 30 days to vacate the Andover Richmond property in Montrose? The 3rd and 5th Wards may be a good option for tenants like him, — as older, more affordable properties continue to disappear from Montrose. Of course it’s a while before anyone would drop $3,000 a month for an apartment in that area. The New York Times had an article in January titled ‘So You’re Priced Out, Now What?‘ They looked at neighborhoods, sometimes miles from each other, in very different price points, but that looked like each other. They had pictures of a street of gorgeous brownstones in Manhattan’s Upper West Side; and an equally gorgeous street in more reasonable Prospect Heights Brooklyn. You’d swear they were side by side; not miles away. The same thing happens in Houston, and Montrose versus the 3rd and 5th Wards is starting to be like that.” [ZAW, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Rent Isn’t Too Damn High]

19 Comment

  • Just because the properties and streets look the same doesn’t mean the neighborhoods are the same. Hell, most of the buildings in Montrose look pretty “bleh” but it’s the neighborhood itself that isn’t easily replicated.

  • I agree completely, although I’d check out the East End before jumping to the Third or Fifth Wards.
    I looked at several apartments in Montrose and the Heights because living in a neighborhood (as opposed to a complex) is important to me. I’m a recent college grad though, and there’s no way I could cough up the $900-$1000 a month for rent in a Montrose fourplex. I didn’t want to choose between rent and food, so I started looking at the “rough” parts of town inside the Loop instead.

    I found a one bedroom in an 8-plex in the Second Ward, just north of Eastwood near Harrisburg and Milby. It’s big, renovated and on a tree-lined street. I pay half of what I would in Montrose or the Heights, and I’m no more than ten minutes from anything inside the Loop.

  • R and H management is who I rent through and always has inexpensive units around Montrose. I’m pretty lucky too, my rent is 625 a month for a 1 bedroom including cable and water. And we have central air! Cant beat that! They don’t raise the rent on you when your lease is up and don’t make you sign another one. We are the only small complex on the street so there is not a lot of cars parked everywhere. I can’t picture myself ever finding a better deal in Montrose right off Fairview and Dunlavy :)

  • yes, that comparison is made quite often. indeed, most people can’t keep 5th Ward and Montrose apart.

  • Polly: I’m glad that there are pockets of affordable good deals in Montrose. But the cynic in me would point out that R&H is doing a terrible job for the owner they are managing for. Your place should be $200 more easily meaning they are costing the owner $1000s a month in lost potential income.

  • Sounds like Polly is just begging for her rent to go up. Why is she advertising about the low rent that she pays?

  • Cody at least the tenants paying $625 a month tend to stay for years and years. And in the end, well, that’s less money the landlord has to spend once a year on “make-ready.” It’s why a lot of landlords allow good tenants a little “leeway” on the rent these days. They may be late but they have also been good tenants. And the landlord may not be able to find another good tenant. Money ain’t all.

  • And the tenants paying $625 tend to let the little things go which also saves the landlord money. The tenants paying $825 want a new floor installed because the maintenance man dropped a hammer and cracked a tile. And they’re the ones who will sue the landlord when he doesn’t install the new floor. More to being a landlord than just collecting the rent. More to being a tenant than just paying it.

  • +1 for everything MM said. We enjoy a fairly good deal, but we’ve only had one maintenance call in ten years, to repair a leaking gas line. Something you hire a pro to fix. Everything else we’ve repaired ourselves and at our expense.

  • notice that all the affordable places are cheap for a reason: lack of proximity to jobs and amenities. simply switching to cheaper neighborhoods isn’t an option for most folks outside of students and young grads. for everyone else it usually requires an entire job/lifestyle change.

  • simply switching to cheaper neighborhoods isn’t an option for most folks outside of students and young grads.

    oh, its always an option, just not one that makes people happiest. if you worry about paying now, just wait until the government doesn’t allow developers to tear down the old garden apartments. watch where rents go then.

  • Feel like I’m getting priced out of Greenway. Where are my look-alikes?

  • I doubt they will raise our rent, a new unit just got rented and they only raised it up to 650 for the new tenant. There are people that have been living in my complex for 5-8 years who all pay around 585 a month and have never had there rent go up. The point I was making was how there are good deals, but it takes sometimes looking around for a while or just lucking out. The best advice is if you can pay month to month after your lease is up and then look for a new apartment it gives you time to find an affordable place to grab as soon as it comes on the market.

  • this got me to thinking… seems like most people focus their sites when house hunting on their work/kids and buy in areas where the schools are good for their kids sake first and foremost…. but if there were no kids in the house-buying equation where would someone’s ideal location be if they are upper 30s, no kids, working downtown, and looking to spend no more than $500000 would you rent or buy and where? Basically, if you have an average budget and no kids where is the ideal area for “adults” to live in this city and why?

  • Jenny,

    My ideal location would be a remaining small ranch in West U/University/Braeswood Place. I love the neighborhood feel but still be close in. Heights, Montrose are too old school city for me. Yes, theres alot within walking distance, but Houston is so hot that walkable area shrink to about 1/4 mile from my house in the summer. Beyond that I’d rather drive, taxi or ride a bus/train.

  • I can present an entire spreadsheet and decertation on the question of Rent vs. Buy but it all boils down to 1 question, how long will you stay there? Under 10 years, rent, over 10 years, buy.
    As far as where, I know a lot of swampies will push Montrose but I disagree. Living in Montrose seems like a full time job onto itself. You constantly have to keep an eye on the roaming weirdos, the bad roads, the inconsistent quality restaurants, overly proactive neighborhood deed nazis, the eccentric weirdo that will build some ugly (artsy) monstrosity next to you, the 24/7 noise and drama from your neighbors, and so on.
    I think living in the galleria area allows you to avoid all the drama and be able live in peace and concentrate on a career.

  • My vote is for Rice Military. If you aren’t bothered by the sea of townhomes, narrow streets (problems with onstreet parking), and lack of yard, it’s a pretty awesome neighborhood. The commute into downtown on Memorial is a breeze, it’s relatively safe, and it’s well within running distance of the park.

  • I think Montrose is far and away the best place to live. If you have that much to spend, you can get a nice place in Westmoreland historic subdivision where you’re surrounded by a lot of large historic homes, but still walking distance to all sorts of restaurants/shops.

  • I vote for Norhill. It is zoned to a terrible elementary school, which explains why you can get more bang for your buck there than Heights proper (at least those parts zoned to Harvard) and the Woodland Heights (zoned to Travis).