Houston Floods Again; Kingwood’s Rise; How the East End Got Its Rail


Photo of casket on Keegans Bayou hike and bike trail: KHOU


21 Comment

  • If you follow the chron article on housing data there is a much more detailed article it’s cribbing some of its data from. Interesting stuff there, I’m surprised the inventory is still so low. That said I am sick of seeing articles like this with realtors listed as experts. Those people have a SERIOUS conflict of interest and it shows in how every single thing they say is laced with some kind of positive spin. Also the problems with HAR having to constantly “revise” their numbers downwards right after they send out a bunch of press reports about how good the numbers look. Academically they are…pretty greasy.

  • On average with a herd of Jiraffes I’m 15’9″, that’s the same with the real estate sales numbers. The current market is extremely segmented… Galleria, inner loop are still seeing bidding wars and closings at above asking price, Cypress, Sugarland, Cinco Ranch are seeing up to 20% drop from asking price.

  • Has anyone posted a map of the residential streets that flooded yesterday? I’ve seen neighborhoods mentioned wholesale, but I also understand it was hit-and-miss from street to street. Thank you!

  • commonsense: Like the articles about how “diverse” Houston is, even though there are sharp lines that almost totally divide races into their own pockets. As a whole? Sure, diverse. But not by neighborhood.

  • As a Maplewood resident (1 mile west of Meyerland, 1/4 mile from Brays Bayou), we were fortunate to only have street flooding. How it didn’t reach our door I don’t know as we got the same amount of rain as our neighbors to the east. Sadly a lot of these folks in the Meyerland area are elderly. It was very hit or miss with the drainage. Some streets underwater until Tuesday, others drained out immediately after.

  • I live in Barkley Square South, the subdivision directly behind the JCC on South Braeswood between Marilyn Estates and Maplewood. We had similar conditions to Jeff – our street was basically a river until 8 am Tuesday morning and had no power overnight but fortunately, our house did not flood. We live several blocks back from Brays Bayou, and our house is somewhat elevated. We walked around the area a little bit yesterday, and it appears that the houses, apartment complexes, and businesses right along North and South Braeswood were the hardest hit. There was still high water on both Braeswoods in the early afternoon.

  • @Heather: This online tool may help, if you can figure out how to use it: http://www.flood-alert.org/#Home:Home It appears to create computer-generated maps of flooded areas (theoretically), focused on Braes Bayou. If accurate (and I interpret correctly), it shows Meyerland and points west getting seriously whacked by flood waters. There may be other more helpful maps out there, but I haven’t found one (yet).

  • Having been through Allison, Ike, and a few other big rain events in Houston, I am always amazed that the City does not do a better job with closing off flood prone streets BEFORE they become impassible. In fact, a good argument could be made for installing some sort of permanent warning system with cross bucks or something at the low points that always flood (yes, I am talking about you, Allen Parkway and Memorial Dr). Or just install a bunch of cameras and have crews with traffic control equipment on call during storms to go out and block streets BEFORE people start stalling out and getting in trouble. A few proactive detours could save the City from having to do dozens of rescues and divert resources to places where water comes up unexpectedly and really catches people by surprise (yes, this is also an implicit slap at the boneheads who still try to drive through high water on Allen Parkway and Memorial Dr. and get stalled out).

  • commonsense, is it really that segmented though? From the sound of it whatever bidding wars may still be going on are on a much smaller scale with prices flat or trending downwards even in the areas you’ve mentioned. I could imagine there’s certainly some older housing inventory still hitting the market at below market rates driving some bidding wars, but even in the inner loop price cuts are appearing to be more of a norm than bidding or above asking right now. Again, just asking though as I’m not a realtor or have access to any, but it just seems like you can see/feel inventory starting to rise just from daily commuting. You can certainly see a lot under construction and no new jobs on the way right now.
    Are there any places where localized retail sales and manufacturing output can be found in a more real-time manner?

  • @commonsense. Do you have any sources for those 20% drops in Cypress/Sugarland/Cinco Ranch? I’ve seen some stuff that looks like its leveling off or maybe dropping a bit, but a 20% drop in less than a year is…well I think that would be called catastrophic.

  • So. Looking at Trulia aggregate data…your statement seems to be…what’s the word? Pure, unadulturated, hogwash. Only neighborhood that’s looking particularly sketchy, at first glance, is Memorial. Down 5% w-o-w and it’s inventory is increasing.

  • AHA. Swamplot did link to the casket story, and several others from Southwest Houston.
    Nobody commented on them (my comment notwithstanding). But the links are there!
    Thanks, guys!

  • What a surprise! Another economist with an optimistic take on the housing market. I’m assuming he missed the memo where the Dallas Fed’s May survey data indicated manufacturing activity that points to a Texas recession. Maybe he missed the part from the TX quarterly housing report where home inventory in Midland TX jumped 89 percent YoY. I was looking at Toll Brothers FY Q2 report this morning, and it indicates declining sales per community. Talk to any builder, and they always seem to be deliriously optimistic.

    “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Sinclair


  • I personally negotiated a purchase in Cypress from a list price of 699 down to 545 from new builder inventory a couple of weeks ago.. A colleague of mine specializes in Conco Ranch and is saying he’s dropping his listings 10% just to get people in the door, that’s before even negotiations.

  • @ Old School RE: “closing off flood prone streets BEFORE they become impassable” – I wonder if there is a road-block er I mean impasse (ha! punny of me) because such a database would underscore these increasingly uninhabitable areas of this city. I mean, what can be done to solve such a serious and continual problem? Massive pumps and retention a la Holland and Lake Olympia, mass condemnation and reclamation with infill dirt a la Hausmann’s Paris?

  • Just because a handful of houses see price reductions doesn’t mean that the market has dropped by 20%. It could also mean that the houses individually were overpriced, but that the prices they *did* sell at were still 2-5% up y-o-y . Also, Midland is a terrible benchmark to use for the Texas housing market (arguably the worst) as it is entirely dominated by upstream. Guys seriously the analytics I’m seeing in these comments are…just really really bad. Like, freshman bad.

  • Arron Layman I actually like your work, normally. But dude, extrapolating the Texas housing market based on Midland….rookie mistake.

  • @OldSchool, in Colorado, on I-70 going through the Rockies, there are barricades at many places similar to railroad crossing gates that come down when snowfall is so great that the road becomes impassable. I could see the installation of a few on Allen Parkway and Fannin in the Med Center as a worthwhile investment.

  • @MrEction:
    Thanks for the remarks. Actually, I am not extrapolating the situation in Midland onto the Texas housing market. I know there are submarkets in Houston that are thriving. My point is simply to point out the patently obvious sell-side bias of most economists in general. Economists often extrapolate past trends into the future well beyond the point of common sense. This is why so many of them, INCLUDING the Federal Reserve, supposedly never saw the last housing crisis until it hit them in the face. Economists, Realtors, and homebuilders are often guilt of severe cognitive bias for a very simple reason. It pays the bills.

    “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” Sinclair

  • Do you have an interactive map (like your Memorial Day map – http://swamplot.com/where-houston-flooded-and-where-it-didnt-on-memorial-day/2015-06-11/) that reflects the flooding from Hurricane Harvey?

  • @Maria Vieira, use this map to scroll around and drill down to the neighborhood of interest.