What To Do with the Gus Wortham Golf Course; Record Houston Home Inventory Lows

battleship texas

Photo of the Battleship Texas: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


21 Comment

  • The Houston housing market is really crazy right now. There may be 2.5 months of inventory on the market when you look at the numbers as a whole, but the real issue is some pockets are in demand and some aren’t. I have a buyer who has been looking in one area for months, being outbid when something does come up and after a dozen + offers is under contract in 24 hours or less. In contrast I have a house across the street from mine that’s been on the market for months. Location is the key and those overall statistics of months inventory don’t paint the whole picture. I am REALLY hoping the Spring season sees a flood of people putting their homes on the market but I have a feeling it won’t be as many as needed.

  • Not sure GW is worth saving at this point, but I will say that Houston’s public and semi-private courses are a joke, in both quantity and quality, for the 4th largest metro in the nation.

  • Market is awful for buyers…

    Ive been looking for 3 months. Most houses worthy of looking (for me, inside the loop) at are option pending within 3-4 days of listing.

  • Dreadnought of the Day

  • Tawnya: You’re 100% right. I have homes that are large and cheap, and have rotted on the market forever (which is fine, since we have renters in them). No peep of an offer. Then I have tiny places in Montrose that if you so much as hint that they’re going up you get attacked by buyers.
    And what’s funny is at times there are only a few miles separating these areas (example: Southmore a few blocks west of 288 vs. southmore a few blocks east)

  • The “Gus Wortham”? What kind of dumb name is “Gus”?
    (KIDDING :)

  • @purdueenginerd if you work downtown, look in 77020 or on the east end.

  • Totally agree w/ Mr.Clean.

  • just find a quick rent vs. buy calculator that’s easy to use like Trulia’s and keep it handy. find a very detailed one and run the comparison against some of the homes you had wanted but lost out on recently. there’s not a huge gap between rent vs. buy in the inner loop right now and i wouldn’t suggest buying unless you plan on staying put a minimum of 10yrs at this point.

    employment growth is slowing in the Houston area right now so it’s all up to how the dvelopers can respond to the demand at this point. we know a ton of apartments will be coming online and continue to be developed but i don’t think property values have gone up enough to justify the razing and redevelopment of the older single family/rental residential stock in the hot areas just yet. if you’ve got money stashed then i guess use it while you can, but I certainly wouldn’t be kicking yourself just because you can’t participate in today’s bidding wars. i’d point out that stocks have well outperformed the houston housing market, but i guess last year sucked out a lot of the growth moving forward in that market as well.

  • @ purdueenginerd – Unfortunately now everyone wants to be in the Inner Loop. Or, right by it. Your price range is going to play a key role in how fast things go. I’d say have your Realtor contact any developers who had properties you liked and see if they have something in the works you can try to get first crack at before it hits the MLS and you are in a multiple bid war. I know that too well – My buyer I mentioned is actually looking just outside the Loop in the Meyerland / Willow Meadows area. All the older unrenovated homes are being snatched up and flipped. The good ones go in hours, the so-so ones linger a few weeks. We’re discussing target mailing some houses she likes just to see if there’s any interest on the owner’s part in selling.

  • Aggree with Joel too… The hotter the market, the better it is to rent. Reason being is in hot markets, people are wiling to accept a very low return on their rental properties.

    Inside the loop, in the hotter markets, prices for homes are more than 100x rents. Outside the loop or in lower demand areas home prices are ~50x rents.

  • So my theory on stocks performing better than homes is just based on my current situation. I bought a home for 200k, with 10k down 1 year ago. I can now sell that home for about 275 to 290k in just over a year. My 10k investment has now turned into a 70k return (give or take taxes and HOA). Should I sell now and take my money and run or wait another year to get out of capital gains?

  • @Mr.Clean19, the $70K is deceiving… let’s do some back of the envelope calculations….
    Let’s assume you can sell for $280k
    Because of the closing figures and the way bank fees work, I’d bet your payoff amount is still close to $200k
    Let’s do $80k gross profit, minus $10k you put as downpayment, minus $14k in interest portion of the payments, minus 6% commission of $16,800, minus Taxes of $5k, Insurance of $1,500, Maintenance and lawn care of $2k, Moving costs of $2k, and $10k downpayment for the new house you will have to buy…. and you’re actually only clearing $18,700 on a good day.

  • @commonsense
    Worst. Math. Ever.
    First, you’re not double-counting his down payment, but TRIPLE-counting it. A $190k mortgage would be 185-186 after a year, and pay off fees are not $10k and certainly not $14k. (I just paid off my mortgage and the closing fees were FIFTY dollars.) You’ve essentially just added back 10k for no reason.
    And then later you accounted for the 10k put into the next investment, yet counted none of the profits of the next investment.
    He bought a year ago, so at 3.5% mortgage, the interest amounts to about $6600 in 12 months on a 190k mortgage, certainly not $14000.
    Unless you’re comparing the two scenarios 1. Invest in stocks and be homeless. 2. Invest in a house and not be homeless, taxes, insurance, and lawn care (or HOA as initially mentioned) should not be factored in to the assessment. Whether living in a different house, or renting, you have to pay these costs anyway. If you rent, you pay the homeowner’s taxes, insurance, and lawn care through higher rent. You can only count the costs to close out the transaction such as moving costs, realtor commission, and other fees.
    I think it’s more like $80000-6600-16800-2000 = $54600, not $18700.

  • The East end is absolutely nuts if torpedo the Botanical Garden at GW—It never ceases to amaze me when people look a gift horse in the mouth. I say just forget them and carve out 140 acres of Memorial, it would get much note attendance and be in a much better part of town–let them keep that ragged old course, if they don’t want this gift, we’ll take it. Just goes to show you no good deed goes unpunished.

  • @eiioi, rough math but certainly not worst math ever.
    $200k sale usually has $10k in closing costs so he either brought a lot more than that to closing or put a lot less down on the actual mortgage. I have numerous real world HUD statements to show this scenario. So, not a double count.

    Since you have to put that $10k down on the next house, it’s not really usable money, so on the books it could count as profit, in real life you’ll never have it. So no triple count.

    Although %3.5 percent is a possible mortgage, it’s not the Average, the average is %5, plus PMI, you’re between 12k-14k per year in interest only (according to Bankrate calculators)

    I’m not comparing house or no-house or stock investments, I’m simply pointing out that people have a very distorted view of how much they actually net on a home sale, that’s also why I included many of the ancillary costs in the calculations. Hence, the $18,700 is a real world number for gross profit.

    Yes the check to seller at closing will be bigger than $18,700 because it will include refunds for some costs already paid for, but that’s not profit, I like to call it a “forced savings account”.

  • I’d prefer to see botanical gardens (and other amenities developed along the Buffalo Bayou Hike & Bike Trail in order to lure more users to that amenity and to build it up as a destination worthy of investment. There’s plenty of land up there, but only speculators, investors that see potential, and no users. If the City gets active right there and provides a good mix of amenities then it’ll get the ball rolling.

    By contrast, I think that Magnolia Park (where the entrance to the golf course is located) is going to be very very slow to reap any of the benefits of a botanical garden. It’s less of a blank slate, and that’s not such a good thing in this case.

  • I forget about the realtor fees. I assume just looking at that cost, it is worth just getting my own license to help sell my home and negotiate the cost better on the next home i buy.

  • Why is having the botanic gardens on the light rail line such a big draw? I imagine the gardens main demographic would be old river oaks biddies and housewives with three children in tow – none of whom would be touching the light rail with a ten foot pole, especially light rail that goes through “the barrio”. I guess for the 50 people who live downtown it will be great…

  • Why wouldn’t they touch the light rail? My wife, daughter, and I walk to light rail all the time and take it downtown or towards herman park. I love having light rail available. Between living in an area that has so much in walking distance, and light rail to go to those places that are out of walking distance, having a car seems silly.
    If ‘car sharing’ were more prevalent or practical I wouldn’t own a car.

  • Cody, I agree with what you have to say about rail (which I ride often) & car share. But, as much as I wish things were different, most people here do not feel that way.