Houston Home Sales Continue To Tumble; One More Link in the Grand Parkway


Photo of the Downtown Aquarium: elnina via Swamplot Flickr Pool


19 Comment

  • FTA: “With this in mind, it’s obvious that Houston will not surpass the sales recorded in 2014, the greatest real estate year in Houston’s history. However, it will certainly be the second best.”
    You know, that’s a really good thing to remember. Sales could tumble pretty dramatically but we would still be looking at an exceptional sellers market. Just not if you’re trying to unload your half million dollar 2 bedroom Heights bungalow.

  • There is still a serious shortage of affordable housing in the city. A couple whose income combines to six figures and who have been saving can reach for a house between 300 and 400K. There are still lots of people like that in Houston who would prefer not commuting from suburbia. East end blah blah. They want good neighborhoods and there’s a big shortage of supply. Engineers making 300 a year have been given their walking papers so those million dollar houses will be tougher to sell.

  • @Commenter7: I get the whole thing about not wanting to move to the suburbs. But I think most people who, like your hypothetical couple that can’t afford a $300k house, need to understand that there ARE neighborhoods in Houston with housing they can afford. A shortage of affordable housing in the hot neighborhoods does not equate to a shortage of affordable housing city wide.
    I understand the reasons why people want hot neighborhoods and shy away from housing they can afford in the so-called “bad” areas: bad schools, crime, blight, no stores you like nearby…. but those are problems that could be fixed if enough people were interested in fixing them. Sadly, and frustratingly, too many people would prefer to throw up their hands in despair rather than doing the hard work of urban pioneering.

  • When is the ‘aquarium’ moving to Kemah?

  • @Commenter7, did you skip economics 101? Just merely WANTING a $300k house in a $800k neighborhood is not going to make it happen. It mathematically, economically, financially cannot happen due to the very basics of supply & demand and realities of business incentives.

  • Commonsense, I don’t think Comm7 was talking about wanting to buy a $300k house in an $800k neighborhood. I understood his statement to be that in the last 2-3 years, builders have been putting up way more $500+ homes within Beltway 8 than homes in the $300-$400k range. If that’s indeed what he meant, then yes, builders may have to change their business model as there will be a lot less million dollar properties changing hands over the next 24 months in Houston. We do continue to work through the shortage of new construction locally that occurred when lending all but shut down in the 2008 to 2010 time frame. But once that demand is met, we’re in for a tough couple of years.

  • @ZAW people want instant gratification in Houston. No one wants to do the hard work or better yet fool themselves into thinking they can improve the neighborhood schools (HISD is abysmal) in time for when their children become school aged. There definitely are plenty of great affordable neighborhoods close-in, it’s also getting in/out of them that scares people away.

  • About time for people to realize that nice houses do exist east of 59 and 288. My wife and I are both professionals, live in a sub-$300k house, and enjoy our 12 minute commutes to work every day. Wouldn’t trade that for 4000 sq/ft and a pool in Katy any day of the week.

  • @shadyH, this is what I was referring to. Thank you. I was really just talking about holding up home values in the under 400k market but your comments apply too.

    Most people are willing to do some kind of urban pioneering but we can’t all just coordinate a move to a super low income area and get local schools turned around in the time that people will need to use them. There has to be a base to build on which includes decent area schools, a grocery store and some decent restaurants. Being surrounded by gang activity on every side is not a good indicator that you’re pioneering effort will be successful.

  • I am a real estate agent in the Heights, Montrose area. While sales are down a bit in volume, prices are still slowly rising. Correct, 2014 was a banner year, the likes of which may not be seen again for another few years. We are seeing price reductions on listings that were speculating the continuation of the rapid price increases, however, when the prices are brought down, they still sell. Here inside the loop, we are quite busy, and the good stuff under 500k is moving nicely.

  • There has been tons of urban pioneering in Houston. The problem is that all the low hanging fruit is gone. Redeveloping neighborhoods on the west side of downtown is a whole different ballgame than the east side. First, much of the near east side, and 3/5th wards are going the way of the townhome. That will do nothing to rebuild schools, etc. as families will generally stay away from townhomes in Houston (with some exceptions, but not enough). Second, as crunchy as places in the Greater Heights, GOOF, etc. were, you were always a short drive from River Oaks, the Galleria area, etc. On the east side, you have to cross downtown before you get to the major retail centers. And the east side has a lot more industry mixed in that is not going anywhere anytime soon. Finally, the City and HISD have focused way more on the west side and are only recently coming to pay attention to the east side. Most of the magnets and IB schools have sprung up on the west side of downtown. TIRZ activity, 380 agreements and major parks developments (Buffalo Bayou, Discovery Green, hike and bike trail etc.) have been on the west side. There is hope with the plans for the new botanical garden and eastward improvements on the Bayou. But, it is just a completely difference urban renewal situation on the east side of downtown that most people would rather head to the burbs than try to push redevelopment on the east side.
    But I think the real opportunity to expand affordable housing is in Houston’s “donut of despair”. The area between 610 and the beltway (save an except around the Spring Branch area) is full of acres and acres of empty land. With a huge push from the City, these areas could be redeveloped into truly affordable neighborhoods with homes in the $150-250k range.

  • What’s stopping people from moving to Sharpstown?

  • @LMD, gangs, drugs, Sharpstown Middle, Sharpstown High, Plazamericas Mall, general ickiness.

  • @commonsense: except that Sharpstown Middle School no longer exists – it has been replaced by The Sharpstown International Magnet School, which is widely held by the locals as a great thing. The Plaz Americas Mall has never been as big a problem as the no-class strip clubs and BYOB after hours clubs around (not in) the neighborhood. And you didn’t mention the masses of run down apartments also around (not in) the neighborhood.
    If you’re going to dis Sharpstown, at least do it for the right reasons.
    Either way posts like yours just prove my point. People in Houston would rather whine about how expensive the houses have gotten in The Heights and other “cool” neighborhoods, than actually move to neighborhoods they can afford – like Sharpstown.

  • anyone have the latest news on sales tax receipts in Houston? aren’t we down about 7% end of 2015 and entering a recession?
    sinking home prices & more inventory will be a big bright spot in a miserable year for those of us in energy.

  • Funny, Adam, didn’t you recently move OUT of Sharpstown?

  • There are a lot of great homes in Sharpstown… But they are not great enough to overcome the low-quality shopping choices and incredibly depressing vibe of the area.

  • Not sure where the hate on Sharpstown is coming from, but it’s a perception here that doesn’t line up with reality. We tried to buy a house in Sharpstown last year and didn’t even make it past a showing on any of them — even the ones in the flood zone.

  • The East Side & North Side have potential but townhomes are becoming too heavy of a mix. Most people with kids prefer some kind of yard. Empty nesters will take them; young couples will do the same and then move to Katy if they have children. The developers, most of them, are not interested in enhancing the neighborhoods and are instead trying extract as much profit as possible whatever that means–often tree-scraped streets with paved front yards, fully paved lots, three story anorexic structures, and few children. Neighborhoods like Meyerland are desirable. Westbury bumps up against a mass of run down apartments on its west side–east of Hillcroft is more desirable. Sharpstown is a mess–the lack of urban planning is painful to drive through. Alief is mostly blighted. People are clustering where re-development has occurred. So Oak Forest is popular because its adjacent to Garden Oaks & Heights. The 1-10 corridor is overall strong. The 59 corridor is mostly eye soar. 45 will garner some improvement between the loops but it could be more with a better mix of re-development. The northern part of the Third Ward is in a similar boat–heavy townhome building on the north, spilling over from mid town but little in the way of housing construction.