Houston’s Overpriced Homes; Switching Out the Tasting Room on West Alabama for Another Wine Bar


Photo of “Preservons la Creation,” 2800 San Jacinto St.: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


9 Comment

  • Oh, really, another overvalued/bubble article about housing in Houston that’s incredibly one dimensional. Then again, it’s coming from Trulia who says that LA and San Fran real estate is overvalued (may be true) and in a bubble (lol) as well. Won’t even go with their assessment of Detroit.

  • I understand the need for the Grand Parkway (excl. Segment H), but I have to scratch my head a bit about the Highway 36A & Prairie Parkway scheme. Identifying and preserving a right-of-way is perfectly reasonable and constructing a handful of grade separations along the existing highway will resolve the most immediate issues related to traffic or evacuation, but this is a project that doesn’t need to get built for 20 years or more.

    The second freight rail line is possibly somewhat more important. Possibly. However, most likely not for the stated purpose. Container terminals along the Gulf Coast simply don’t generate that much rail traffic. The railhead at Barbour’s Cut, despite being fairly small, is only ever used at about 30% of capacity and accounts for a tiny fraction of containers that are transiting the port. The reason is that moving containers by rail only starts to make sense at about a 400-mile trip at a bare minimum. The Panama Canal might change the way that some containers get routed to Dallas or Oklahoma or Arkansas, but those trips will be by truck. Texas stands precisely zero chance at becoming a significant transit point for containers headed further into the Midwest, regardless of whether rail rates or rail congestion are improved. It’s an issue of geography. However, any improvement to rail rates may be highly beneficial for the existing petrochemical complex or for other operations that move bulk commodities by rail; so it might be worthwhile after all. But that also begs a question as to whom should be paying for it.

  • I don’t think id scoff at the Trulia warning, I think I’d watch very closely at the market. I’m
    not as concerned in Houston (yet) as I would be Austin. I cannot understand how Austin’s non diverse economy can continue to draw so many at such below market wages yet have such above market housing prices, something has to give. You look at SA, which actually had a more diverse economy than Austin and its low housing costs. Austin continues to churn out all of these million dollar plus homes and you wonder who is buying all these houses? Everyone I know in Austin is underemployed, over educated and not in the market for a million dollar home. I’ve never understood how Austin continues year after year to lead the nation in growth when it has so few Fortune 500’s and its economy is completely one demential.

  • One reason Austin has high home prices is because everyone wants to live on the west side of I-35, but there are building restrictions in the Aquifer recharge zone, there’s land use controls to protect habitat for various animals, and the topography is somewhat difficult. So, unlike Houston, where the land is flat and you can build to the horizon, there’s more limited space to build near Austin. That drives housing prices up. Also, there’s a lot of tech people who have transferred in from California who think that paying below $500k for a 3 bedroom rancher is a bargain.

  • The answer to Shannon’s question is Californians. They come to Austin for SXSW from Silicon Valley, see what they can get for $1,000,000, and never look back.

  • I don’t put much stock in any list of overpriced real estate markets, they doesn’t include New York Ciry.
    That said, there probably are some neighborhoods that are overpriced in Houston. I’m thinking certain places Inside the Loop and in Memorial. But overall, Houston real estate is about where you’d expect it to be.

  • I’m concerned about Austin as well. My neighborhood, which is considered “central”, is about 5 miles north of downtown Austin. It’s a nice but somewhat ordinary looking neighborhood where existing homes are now averaging about $600K to $700K for 2,000 sq ft, and speculators are building strange looking modernistic homes next to our older ones and asking no less than $1M. Even unattractive neighborhoods full of residents on fixed incomes are seeing home prices approaching $500K if the neighborhood is anywhere close in. It’s absolutely crazy. And our property taxes are forcing many of us to move to distant suburbs or to obscure, less expensive cities (if we can). Like Shannon, I don’t know who these people are who can afford these homes. But they sell within days (sometimes before a sign goes up).

  • The difference between Berlin and Houston is that a tropical environment is not something people in Berlin have a lot of exposure to. We live in a nearly tropical environment, and have easy access to an actual ocean coastline. I don’t see locals clamoring to stay in a “tropical resort” that would probably be cooler inside than outside most of the year, and I don’t think it would appeal to enough tourists to make it profitable.

  • Houston probably is overvalued as the tide seems to be turning on the supply crunch (see more activity now than I did 10yrs ago), but at such a low value we’re really just talking about valuations being pulled forward from future price gains.
    is our economy really that much more economically diverse than Austin’s though? it’s a big tech hub, the seat of texas politics and all the lobbying that comes with it, home to UT and all the money burn to support it and it’s also a huge tourism and cultural destination. I know of many houstonians that have second homes in austin, i don’t know of any austinites with homes in Houston.