Postponing the Wheatley High School Demo; Documenting the Birth of Marfa Style


Photo of the East Downtown: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


10 Comment

  • RE: housing values. Does anybody track home values more locally? For example, inner-loop west of downtown? It seems that the article about slowing appreciation may be in part prompted by the new construction in the exurbs, which really represents a different market entirely. The article quotes average sales price as still being in the $100k range, which gives credence to that supposition, as even postage stamp lots in the inner loop are selling for substantially more. The question is whether the frenzy/bubble is still inflating at the same speed as past years in the inner-loop and memorial areas.

  • A developer friend of mine told me that when you the cranes start “popping” up the boom is over. I can see a dozen or so looking west from downtown. Brace for impact.

  • Irony alert: commenter from Vineland Meadows subdivision in Katy on the Houston Chronicle article about suburban sprawl displacing wildlife laments the fact that he no longer sees wolves (I think he means coyotes) and deer because of new devlopments and Grand Parkway.

  • RE JD York:

    If the boom ends, the question is going to be whether it will be “brace for impact” or “meh”. I think it’s going to have more to do with oil prices than anything else. Oil goes to 50 for a few years? Brace for impact. Oil stays in the $80-100 range? Meh. Not all real estate run-ups are short term. Look at New York real estate over the last 30 years.

  • @JD York
    There have been quite a few construction cranes crowding the Houston skyline for over a decade now. Even during the last recession, the cranes were kept up as most of the large construction projects they are used for are multi-year, pre-funded projects that span over bumps in the economic cycle.

  • The current boom is very different. First, it is a boom in a very tight credit environment. No tax shelters, S&Ls or mortgage brokers fueling this boom. It is a boom based on real demand. In fact, prices have been surging so much because building did not keep up with demand during the worst of the recession and was caught flat footed coming out of the recession. Thus, if demand slackens, the market will be able to adjust without any widespread crisis. Second, the boom is taking place during generally tepid world economic conditions. World GDP growth has been meh. GDP growth in the US has been improving, but was way better during past booms. That means that it will take a pretty bad spell of economic news to really bring things down. Modest improvement in economic conditions will sustain the boom and good economic conditions will make the current boom seem insignificant. Third, the growth in supply of oil is mostly from oil that is expensive to recover (shale). As prices drop, drilling will slow and stabilize prices. This is not like the 80s when it was possible to keep pumping oil from the North Sea and Alaska even as prices continued to fall.

  • No doubt we’re in for a slowdown. I have a feeling most of the announced buildings downtown won’t get built, I’m just glad 609 Main is going to get built. I’m sure some of the announced condo towers will not be built and home prices will certainly tail off a bit. Houston has been leading the nation for several years now, but oil is now slipping and the city is getting over built too quickly. It’s always the same in Houston, no one ever learns……

  • Hopefully Houston will be able to lean on its economic diversity, should it have to.

  • Yeah, after all, we have oil AND gas.

  • Current price and new construction trends are driven by the almost complete lack of construction between 2009 and 2012 in an environment of continuous strong population and employment growth. As of 2014 the growth rate of available office s.f. and residential permitting is just now approaching the expected employment and population growth rates. If current trends continue, for the next couple of years we will probably see a slow down in the growth rate of real estate prices (though still positive rates), past that we will have to watch the new construction numbers.