Headlines: Home Goods Store in West Ave; Houston’s Variation on Pocket Listings

Photo of Greenway Plaza: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

12 Comment

  • Interesting that the HBJ’s article about affordability comes on the heels of a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition saying that Houston is one of the least affordable markets in the US. I’m inclined to agree with the HBJ on this. The NLIHC’s study is seriously flawed in two ways. First, Houston is a 50% FMR city – which means that HUD sets our Fair Market Rents at the 50th percentile of rents in the metro area, instead of the 40th percentile as is customary. This sets the bar for affordability artificially high, and makes it seem like Houston is less affordable than it really is. Second, here in Houston, you have to count a percentage of our low-end condominiums and single family houses as rentals. Many of these units are investor owned and rented out as apartments. It is unclear whether the NLIHC did so.
    So ultimately, I really think the HBJ article has it right; not the National Low Income Housing Coalition study.

  • It’s fascinating that the article that talks about the Shady Acres development says the homes “will appeal to…empty nesters seeking a smaller footprint” and then goes on to say the homes will average 2,500 sq ft. How big are the homes they’re downsizing from? Even in Houston, 2,500 sq ft is ample space for most families, much less downsizing empty nesters.

  • Then there is the Rice University report showing that Houstonians spend a higher percentage of income for housing and transportation than do folks in New York and Chicage (and that was just for 2010, must be worse now). Real estate is relatively cheap in Houston. However, we get paid less than people do in other major metros and commute longer.

  • Densify—I think by smaller footprint the developer is talking about the amount of land, not the square footage, that the house occupies. These homes have essentially no yards, unlike their suburban kin.

  • ShadyHeightster That makes sense, especially if they’re looking to avoid yard work as they get older.

  • @old school
    of course people spend more on cars here, most buy the Cadillac Escalade (or other full sized SUV or truck) that gets 2 miles per teaspoon.
    but then they also pay $90 psf for a house, and get a 5000sf house.
    that was a silly study.

  • Please don’t link to sites you that have a pay wall.

  • There are very few shady parts of Shady Acres left. . .

  • There are SO many inner loop places just miles from the medical center, rice, midtown, downtown, etc. that are close to free. If people are paying “too much” for rent they are making a choice to live in those particular areas (like Montrose). That doesn’t mean other areas/options don’t exist. We just bought what was almost a totally vacant building that rents huge 1 beds for $400/month. And it’s about 3 miles from downtown. That said, it’s in upper 5th ward and totally ghetto (IMO). Still. It’s close and cheap.
    There are also tons of homes close by that rent for $500-600/month. For a HOUSE. And with rates today, you can get mortgages that low (or lower). How much cheaper can you expect to be miles away from the center of town of the 4th largest city?
    So I don’t buy any argument that says we don’t have low income housing.

  • @Toasty
    I wish my truck got 2 miles per teaspoon! At 768 teaspoons per gallon, that’s 1536 mpgs! Amazing!

  • Cody,
    I agree: amazing how much cheap land exists so close to downtown. Dirt in the 5th ward within a block or two of new light rail can be had for less than $15/sf, with a rental house on it.
    I don’t see this area becoming a new Midtown anytime soon, but then again, those of us who remember midtown in the early 90’s didn’t expect MIDTOWN to become Midtown.

  • I agree Cody. It is a choice. I have convinced a friend to leave her luxury apt in Shady Acres to go a few miles NW to Langwood and rent a room from a friend. She will cut her housing costs by half.