Most Overappreciated Neighborhood: Vote for One of These Official Nominees

You’ve made your nominations for the 6th category of the Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: the Houston area’s Most Overappreciated Neighborhood Award. And here they are — cleaned up and made ready for voting!

To make the best choice for this award, we need your vote! Add it in the comments section of this post, or send us an email if you prefer. You can get a second vote if you send it through Twitter. Got a favorite? Encourage your friends to vote for it! The polls close at 5 pm on Monday, December 28th.

The nominees for the Most Overrated Neighborhood of 2009 are:


1. West University. “Uptight and losing what character it once had on a daily basis. Constant traffic nightmares make its proximity to downtown and the Med Center moot. It’s as much of a bubble as River Oaks, but without the real big money to go with it.”

“There are great neighborhoods all around West U but even people who live in them like to say they live in West U when they don’t. Why? Because it’s the most overrated, overappreciated neighborhood in Houston!”

“Too much money for such small lots and ugly houses. However, the location and adjacent retail kick butt.”

2. The Heights. “Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Heights is terrible, just overrated. I just don’t think anything up there lives up to the hype — not the stores, the restaurants, or the McVictorians.”

“Once you factor in the risk of your house being set on fire, the values of the real estate have to be seriously discounted.”

“I like the Heights, but I am sometimes astonished at what people pay to live there. Yes, I know that there’s a certain cache to uttering ‘I live in the Heights,’ but come on. People would rather live in a run-down shack in the Heights than a nice home in other neighborhoods.”

3. Southampton. Voted Neighborhood of the Year by Swamplot readers just last year. “It is a nice enough neighborhood, but it is overvalued and overrated. Yes, it is in an excellent location, but it is just far enough from Rice Village, the Med Center and the Rice U Light Rail stop that nearly everyone here still uses their cars to get everywhere.”

“Filling up with far-more-egregious offenses to good taste than the Ashby Highrise — ***cough*** Thirty Sunset ***cough***.”

4. Montrose. “I’m always amazed at what people will pay to live in fairly scary neighborhoods near rundown apartments and neglected houses, just for the sake of being close-in. Particularly near Richmond, Montrose Blvd. and Fairview.”

“I lived there for a few years, and it has its good moments, but it definitely isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’d prefer to not pay $800/month to get my car broken into 3 times in 3 months.”

“At least it has a concentration of retail and cultural amenities to help support its pricing.”

“I adore Montrose but it’s painfully overvalued.”

5. River Oaks. “Rich people huddled together. The homes are actually becoming more homogeneous as original homes are replaced by row after row of French chateau wannabes. For the money, move out to Memorial.”

6. Washington Corridor. “Overappreciated by the New York Times and other national publications.”

“Sure, a lot of new restaurants and bars have been moving in there, but the development has been totally haphazard and I can’t see how the area is going to sustain itself in the long run. It’s not easy to drive around, it’s not easy to walk, and it’s certainly not easy to park. Some of the clubgoers may be easy on the eyes, but the overall environment isn’t. Outside of the individual attractions and the fact that the area is currently popular, what’s the appeal?”

Well, what’s your selection for this award? Let your vote be heard!

Photos of 6417 Buffalo Speedway, 2124 Gostick St., 2102 Rice Blvd., 1511 Missouri St. Unit 6, and 3734 Willowick Rd.: HAR (and all for sale!). Photo of Washington Ave.: Billie Mercer

40 Comment

  • Washington Avenue! Geez, way way way overrated! Used to live along it, hated the parking, non walk-ability, only one main road, loud train, you have to drive to get anywhere decent, etc. If I have friends that are meeting somewhere along here… I tell them I’ll meet up later when they leave.

  • Washington Avenue without a doubt. Between the nightly trains and the drunks demonstrating every possible eliminatory function wherever they possibly can, I cannot imagine living there. Too bad, really.

  • Southampton. Too many politicians and criminals for neighbors. Would feel safer living in Third Ward.

  • I’m voting for the Heights.

  • Hard choice. I guess I’ll vote for River Oaks. It’s not very desirable for me – just a bunch of old fuddy duddies.

  • Ha… great representative photo for the Washington Corridor. That’s what pops into my head.

    There are some great neighborhoods off of ‘the avenue’, though… Rice Military, Cottage Grove, Camp Logan, Crestwood … that don’t fall under this definition.

  • Even with as much as Washington Avenue gets on my nerves I have to say P-U C-U West U!

  • No, Washington corridor is definitely overated, the have open ditches that are dangerous and all the streets should be made one way because you can’t get drive past an oncoming car without fearing you’ll fall in a ditch. This was almost acceptable when nothing but tiny clapboard houses ruled the area, but with the FauxDobe townhomes it’s overpopulated.

  • Washington Corridor

  • If the award were for most overRATED neighborhood, I might go with West U. However, seeing as it is for most overAPPRECIATED, I am tempted to go with the Washington Ave. corridor, but will vote for the Heights.

    The Heights’ native artists and musicians have largely been supplanted by attorneys and carbon offset traders, while the funky bungalows are giving way to fake Creole cottages and over-turreted faux-victorians.

    The irregularity of the alleys still charms, though.

  • Montrose. At least none of the other nominees have crack houses. But I’ve gotta say that Southampton was snooty WAY before the Ashby High Rise controversy.

  • Yep, but the controversy propelled them in 2009 to new heights of general snoot.

  • #4 While I went to school at St. Thomas I though it was nice because I got to enjoy the area. But I definitely never wanted to live there like a lot of people I know/knew do/did.

  • Richmond Ave… err, I mean Washington Ave…

  • It is kind of funny to see the Heights being “overrated” just as it’s getting a decent concentration of food & drink, the big lagging factor of the neighborhood a couple of years ago.

    I was initially surprised that Midtown wasn’t on the list, but perhaps it’s no longer overrated because everyone’s figured out how crappy it is.

  • Washington Avenue. @marmer: we do too have crack houses!

  • Washington Ave gets my vote… ugly and dangerous for both motorists and pedestrians.

  • Live in the area, but have to say the Heights. It was almost too close to call with Washington Avenue, but it’s more about bars and restaurants than it is about a ‘neighborhood’ to me.
    Don’t get me wrong I like the Heights, but for me it just isn’t what people like to envision it being. However, I will admit it’s better than most Houston neighborhoods! :) …. Opps, there is that Heights pride.

  • Very close between the Heights and Washington Ave, but my vote is for the Heights. I don’t think Washington Ave area townhouses have appreciated all that much (if any) over the past few years, despite the growing popularity as a nightspot. It still has some of the cheapest living options in the area, though you’re almostly certainly stuck with a townhouse…and probably next to railroad tracks
    The Heights…I don’t know. I just don’t get the draw. It’s a great location, no doubt, but there are better for the price IMO

  • Montrose. Love the whores, drugs, homeless, unfinished townhomes, constant street tearups and clueless people trying to navigate said neighborhood.

  • I’m going to have to go with Montrose on this one. The Heights is probably over-appreciated, but at least it is still improving. I wouldn’t say the same for Montrose.

  • Southampton. Too many politicians and criminals for neighbors. Would feel safer living in Third Ward.

    I’ll second that and vote, of course, for Southampton.

  • Montrose

  • Southampton, work w/ a few of them, if only I could turn the stop the Ashby signs into cones and……

  • Going with my original vote for Washington, though the Heights comes a close second.

  • Have to go with Montrose on this one. I think nate pretty well said it all.

  • Even though I live there, I’m voting Montrose too. Things are going to get even better when rail construction begins on Richmond!

  • Gotta go with West U on this one. Washington Ave corridor has it’s issues as does every neighborhood, however, the quiet zone is coming to the area in 2010.

  • Washington Corridor. I lived just off Washington for 6 years and loved it, but the last year or so was pretty annoying — people would park on Washington, causing congestion or worse, right in front of people’s houses, making it difficult to impossible to enter or leave your own driveway. It just doesn’t seem sustainable.

  • i vote for the heights. looking at home prices it just doesn’t make sense as to why it costs so much to live there now days (aside from the fact that all the oil&gas money is slowly moving closer to town).

    i don’t understand all the montrose hate here. even if it’s full of druggies, homeless, etc. it’s the only neighborhood in houston that actually offers the city something to be proud of and doesn’t discriminate against poor middle class folks (like southhampton, west U, etc.). i guess it does now, but there’s at least a good amount of rental units that will take a while to replace with townhomes.

    more importantly this is the ONLY part of town i could see to continue appreciating long after an oil bust. restaurants, museums, bars, parks, music, diverse lifestyles. the reason it costs a lot to live here is cuz it’s a part of town that you can actually live in and not have to worry about driving 20 minutes to go do something.

  • Easy choice. Montrose

  • I still think the Heights.
    Any neighborhood in the flood zone gets discounted because of the possibility of loosing your house to the rising waters.
    Given that you can loose your house on any given night in the Heights, I say it’s overappreciated.

  • Heights – 2-story shotgun houses on tiny lots have increased drainage problems (i.e., 9 commodes where there once were 1 or 2) and increased parked cars on narrow streets. Even people in the $500K+ McVics put their garbage out on the week-ends, days before trash collection, happy Clampetts to all.

  • Washington Avenue gets my vote. Watch out for young guys with knives and switchblades, when walking the sidewalks at night. This advise is offered from a personal experience which happened near the large thrift shop, with big glass windows.

  • All of them are turning to crap with builders gone wild. Tear down a block of bungalows in Montrose to build townhouses because you like the character of the neighborhood. Okay, I’ll vote for River Oaks because the John Staub teardown potential there is the greatest.

  • Voting Heights here.

  • Please count my vote for the HEIGHTS, or what’s left of it after all the fires. The yuppies there are so smug that I sometimes get them confused with suburbanites.

  • Washington Corridor!

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