Your Nominations for the Most Overappreciated Houston Neighborhood

It’s neighborhood day here at Swampies Nominations Central! This morning we introduced the 5th category in the second annual Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. Here’s the complete list of our categories so far: Most Underappreciated Neighborhood, The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché.

Now it’s time to gather your nominations for category number 6: Most Overappreciated Neighborhood. If recognition breeds attraction, which breeds appreciation, and which in turn often breeds a different kind of appreciation, what changes will a neighborhood go through during the process? In which neighborhood are property owners are most likely to be shocked by reappraisals? Which area best fits the Most Overappreciated label?

Refer to the official nominating rules here if you need them. But we need your smartly worded suggestions for this category! Add them below — or email them to us privately.

30 Comment

  • West U.

    It’s as much of a bubble as River Oaks but without the real big money to go with it. 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.

    You ask “In which neighborhood are property owners are most likely to be shocked by reappraisals?” West U would be it b/c residents will be shocked that their new montrosity isn’t worth the $several million they think it should be b/c it’s in West U.

    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 over rated, over appreciated neighborhood in Houston!

    My 2nd choice would be Cinco Ranch but that’s not even really Houston so does it count?

  • 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, for those who are wondering.

  • It has to be Southampton, the only neighborhood where residents think highly enough of themselves to drag the City of Houston into a losing multimillion dollar lawsuit over a proposed highrise as though such a thing were inappropriate for an inner-loop neighborhood.

  • EDIT: I mean, even River Oaks has adjacent highrises, and the blue bloods there never threw such a fit.

  • I think Tanglewood would have to be the most overappreciated. It rivals River Oaks for its “ambiance” and its average appraisal value. And in some ways is much nicer. If you can put up with the traffic. And can afford it.

  • Another vote for Southampton – and this is coming from a Southampton resident. 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. And the hypocrisy of its residents – who look down their noses at suburban sprawl while fighting the Ashby highrise tooth and nail – makes me sick to my stomach.

    News flash! If you buy in a hot area w/o restrictions, high-density housing WILL come! In any case, Southampton is filling up with far-more-egregious offenses to good taste than the Ashby Highrise *cough Thirty Sunset cough.

  • I second the vote for West U – too much money for such small lots and ugly houses. That, and most of the residents are shallow. However, the location and adjacent retail kick butt.

  • West U. Tiny lots, filled with McMansions,surrounded by iffy areas, serviced by Lamar HS (iffy if you are an average student),and promotes itself as the only “intellectual” neighborhood. One million dollars to live in a filing cabinet.

    Bellaire would be choice number two for many of the same reasons, along with every blaise Master Planned Community in the Metro. But they don’t count, they’re not in Houston.

  • With all the attention given from the NYT and other national newspapers, I’m voting “Houston’s party corridor”, Washington.

  • 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. White Linen Night? Lights in Heights? Overrated.

  • I adore Montrose but its painfully overvalued.

  • Upper Kirby. Although I guess it’s not a neighborhood, more of a title straight from marketing, it seems the prices of the patio homes, high rises and West Ave (ok they’re rental) are ridiculous.

  • And the hypocrisy of its residents – who look down their noses at suburban sprawl while fighting the Ashby highrise tooth and nail – makes me sick to my stomach.

    There is some sanity in Southampton. Not much but some. Maybe the sane homeowners should hijack the civic club and change the deed restrictions and ban attorneys.

  • Candor– What “iffy areas” surround West U ?

  • The Heights.

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

  • +1 on the Heights

    I’ve thought it was overappreciated ever since the HAIF became so Heights-heavy. I personally don’t care for the Victorian style, either. Yes, I said it

  • ^^Eric, The Heights is only partially Victorian. The majority of it is Craftsman.

    I cast my vote for River Oaks. Rich people huddled together. The homes are actually becoming more homogeneous as original homes are replaced by row after row of some French chateau wanna-bes. For the money, move out to Memorial.

  • 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. Ridiculus.

  • Drew, it’s about the NEIGHBORHOOD. People deliberately pay more to live in a real neighborhood. It would be an interesting post to ask Heights-ers “What make the Heights the Heights?” But you would hear a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with just being able to say you live there. By the way Drew, Why do you live where you live?
    (p.s. I do not live in the Heights)

  • Harold… have you not driven around much?

  • OK, Candor I’m getting that you think it’s overrated. I’m just asking what are the “iffy” areas surrounding West U?
    The mean streets of Southside Place?
    The barrio of Bellaire?
    The great Southgate ghetto?

  • Harold,

    What Candor said. Clearly, you need to jump in your car and drive around. There are a ton of fantastic neighborhoods in Houston that are nicer than the Heights. And don’t get me started on the crime issue in that area.

  • Harold, the iffy areas near West U are Southampton and Boulevard Oaks. The gang of ruffians that inhabit these areas are unparalleled by even the most vile criminal organizations.
    Btw, the I agree with Drew that buying into the Heights at this point in time in its regentrification cycle is the act of a person seeking a status symbol. The neighborhood is only unique if one feels a strong compulsion to be able to drive a few blocks out of one’s way every now and then in order to glance at a smattering of victorian-era architecture. But who’d want to live next door to someone like that?

  • Get over your issues with the Heights, people. ANY decent neighborhood inside the Loop carries a certain amount of cache when you say you live there. If you live ITL, you pay more and that’s an automatic status symbol. “I live the Montrose” “I live in West U” “I live in River Oaks” “I live in Midtown” “I live in Brooksmith” “I live in Timbergrove” They all say something about you. If you live in Houston proper, there is no way you are as anti-establishment as you like to make yourself seem.

  • Ray, all of the neighborhoods you just put forth as evidence that the Inner Loop is overappreciated are from only one half of the Inner Loop.
    I agree that they’re all overrated, but this category seeks to identify the *most* overappreciated neighborhood. Out of these, River Oaks definitely passes as a unique neighborhood, Montrose at least has the concentration of retail and cultural amenities to help support pricing, and Brooke Smith isn’t appreciated enough yet to be overappreciated–it’s merely what status-seeking Heights appreciators settle on when they can’t afford even a 2/1 bungalow in the Heights proper.

  • So, there is no reason to live in the Heights other than to seek status? It’s proximity to downtown, resulting in a <10minute commute for me, is useless? The fact that it is less expensive than Montrose doesn’t mean anything? The great elementary schools don’t mean a thing to young families? It’s walkability has no appeal? The high level of community involvement is meaningless? It’s all about status. Period. Thanks for enlightening me as to why I moved here.

  • You get all those things and a shorter commute by living in Eastwood. So yes, I’d say that you either overpaid by a factor of two, or you paid appropriately for a ‘West-of-45’ status symbol.

  • One more vote for Montrose. 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.

  • West U for sure. All of the issues listed above and the amalgam of inapropriate oversized styles that have been forced together. Not to mention the tiny streets!

  • I’d have to say West U. I have a friend with an elderly father who may have to move him out of the home he bought 50+ years ago because he’s having trouble paying the taxes for a piece of land worth over $800K according to HCAD. Sure, they’ll be able to sell the place for a fortune to someone who will raze the house for a Tuscan edifice, but once in a while, money isn’t everything.