03/27/17 4:00pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT IT TAKES TO LIVE NEXT TO THE FAST LANES Freeway Overpass Next to Building“The housing stock of the city has MANY luxury apartments located too close to comfort to a freeway. On I-10, the Sawyer Lofts’ north side [sits] right up on the freeway with some units being feet away from an exit ramp. Go further west and I-10 is lined with luxury apartments that look out at the freeway from a very uncomfortably close distance (basically two lanes away, plus a small setback). This is becoming a permanent fixture of the city. I’m not sure why anyone would voluntarily rent one of these, but the developers are banking on housing being in so short supply that someone will basically lose out when the music stops playing and there’s not a chair to sit in and they will be forced to rent one of these. I think that must be the game plan. Maybe they think if it’s common enough people will just subconsciously modify their lifestyle expectations in a big city to thinking its okay to live between 7 and 50 feet from one of the widest freeways in the world.” [Commenter7, commenting on The Downtown Apartments Caught Between a Freeway and a Curved Place] Illustration: Lulu

06/07/16 4:15pm

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE PROOF IS IN THE PERMITTING Bulldozer Illustration“You don’t need to read a university study to know the Houston housing market is going through a downturn. You don’t even have to look at HAR. To gauge the health of the Houston real estate market, you only have to look at the Daily Demolition Report: only 2 residential permits today; only 1 yesterday. Crisis!” [Angostura, commenting on Move-In Day Approaches for New Phillips 66 HQ; Montrose’s Crowded Mexican Restaurant Scene] Illustration: Lulu

02/25/13 10:00am

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ’EM . . . Two single-family houses in Midtown, 1505 Rosalie and 1917 Ruth (pictured here), have been home since 2010 to an assortment of yoga instructors, police sergeants, and college students, all of whom share the cooking and cleaning in a cooperative housing project, reports the Houston Chronicle’s Nancy Sarnoff. Part of Houston Access to Urban Sustainability, the houses require all tenants to sign a “sustainability pledge” before they move in, but that doesn’t mean it’s all rainbows and rain barrels: “Each person is responsible for contributing five hours of labor to the house per week. Those who shirk their domestic duties are fined $10 for every hour missed.” Sarnoff adds: “There are regular parties and events, though the housemates are quick to stamp out comparisons to hippie communes or college frat houses. Such misconceptions frustrate Rabea Benhalim, a corporate finance attorney who says some think the residents can’t be professional and they all do drugs and sleep together.” [Houston Chronicle ($)] Photo of 1917 Ruth St.: HAUS

05/09/07 7:30am

Houston’s housing market will slow, UH economist Barton Smith told homebuilders, real-estate agents, and a Chronicle reporter at his annual spring symposium:

Smith cautioned builders that this area is not immune to the national housing market correction just because housing remains affordable and fixed-rate mortgages are still low.

A national crackdown on subprime loans because of increasing foreclosures will significantly shrink the number of households that qualify for homeownership.

Combined with interest rates that are slightly higher today than two years ago, Smith estimates that the reduction in subprime lending will eliminate nearly 100,000 Houston households from the owner-occupied home market.

On the other hand, real estate experts have seen an uptick in sales of higher-priced homes.

“You’re just seeing the high end of the market going wild,” said Mark Woodroof of Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors.

More than ever before, builders are creating homes valued in excess of $500,000 in places other than the silk-stocking neighborhoods where they’re traditionally found.

“Today, they’re in The Woodlands, Fort Bend, and it’s not because prices are skyrocketing, but because we’re building bigger, more luxurious homes,” Smith said.

Of course, it’s difficult to compare last year’s prices to this year’s—because the house that sold last year is in the landfill, and the new one that replaced it is three times the size. In Houston, that’s your growth in the residential market. So maybe Dr. Smith’s just calling for a little less Foyer.