What Was the Houston Area’s Most Overlooked Neighborhood in 2012?

Yesterday we added a couple more categories to this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. That means 4 of them have now been opened for your nominations: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, the Swamplot Award for Special Achievement in Traffic, and the “It’s Alive!” Award. We’ve received a number of terrific nominations for each category so far. Keep those great entries coming for all of them!

Today we introduce the fifth and sixth categories in the 2012 Swampies. And we’ll call this Neighborhood Day. Up first, then, is the award for Most Overlooked Neighborhood.

Some prominent sections of the Houston-area real estate market are now attracting flurries of activity — while in some other areas of the country there’s not much doing. So certain neighborhoods in our region are being looked over carefully by potential residents and investors. What neighborhood in the greater Houston area (yes, we’ll include The Woodlands, other parts far and wide, and even throw in Galveston) rightfully deserves the title of “most overlooked” — and why?

You know the drill by now. We need your smart nominations to make the award in this category valuable. Tell us, in a comment below or in a private message, what neighborhood deserves to win this award. What are you seeing?

14 Comment

  • I vote Museum Park. It has a very active neighborhood association, it just got a good new restaurant (Lucille’s), a fair amount of residential and commercial building is going on, the Rice Design Alliance just held a competition setting out a reimagining of the neighborhood by local architects, and all one hears about is Montrose and the Heights.

  • Spring Shadows. I’m shocked how nice it is and how cheap the prices are. With Spring branch improving so much in the south, eventually this area has to get noticed. It’s got decent access to the energy corridor /memorial city and eventually when 290 is fixed…to the west belt area.

  • I’d have to say Westbury and Sharpstown, although they started to attract some buzz all last year. You can do nice, cheap, safe, and close in both if you are careful and lucky.

  • I second Sharpstown. Pockets of well kept homes (and yards), longtime residents, and close to everything.

  • Shepherd Park Terrace. Truly identical homes to Shepherd Park Plaza, but on average $100k less because you have to cross the street to a different zip code. But that’s changing fast. Good time to get in on some predictable appreciation over the next few years.

  • I have got a neighborhood that is so overlooked, it doesn’t have a name. The area around TC Jester, W. Tidwell and Wheatley north of Oak Ridge (probably would be considered Highland Park, at least in part). I was cutting across Tidwell one day trying to get from 290 to I-45 without having to hit the follies of the North Loop and was amazed at all the undeveloped land out there. I drove around for a while and was stunned to see mostly greenspace with one or two industrial facilities and an odd residence here and there. Given that Oak Ridge is officially going to be Bellaire 2.0, this area has to come into play soon. The land is just too cheap and too wide open to pass up. Lots are two and three acres with some giant lots mixed in. You could build 40-50 Shady Acres-esque townhomes on a typical lot and have room left for a detention pond/greenspace amenity. Granted the first few developments would be pioneers of sorts and would have to put up with some tire and body dumping in the area. But there are a lot of people coming to Houston who are getting priced out of the housing market who do not want to live 45 minutes plus away from work. Anyone with a bag of cash and nerves of steel should start buying up land and building out that area and start building. It is Houston’s last frontier.

  • Mangum Manor hands down. This neighborhood of about 450 homes has easy access to 290, 610 North, and 45 North. The heart of the neighborhood is a city park with some nice features. Good streets and sidewalks, mostly brick homes with well kept yards, and a strong civic club.

  • Old School @ #6: Maybe Acres Homes, or possibly Independence Heights if east of Shepherd? A plus for Acres Homes is that residents are still allowed to keep horses (there must be some minimum requirements, I suppose), but it’s really cool to turn the corner and see horses in a yard!

  • Old School…..why don’t you cut through there a little after dark and let us know how you would like living there.

  • Afton Village, a neighborhood between Antoine and Silber, just north of Ikea. Beautiful brick homes from the late ’50’s and ’60’s, well maintained, deed restricted community. Very close to I-10, and the West Loop, you could probably be downtown in 15 minutes. The homes look a bit like Tanglewood before all the tear-downs started happening there. I don’t know much about living there, but I’ve been impressed the few times I’ve driven through there, and I never hear anything about it.

  • @erhed: Cottage Grove, West End, Shady Acres and even Rice Military are all neighborhoods that at one time not too recently I would have also said “drive through there at night and let me know if you want to live there.” In Highland/Inwood, or whatever you call it, you could build little gated communities and use the required detention pond as an ammenity to let people walk their dogs without going outside the security of the gate. Someone did a little community like that on Rosslyn called “Marbella” or something. It went up during the market crash of 2008 and floundered for a bit before getting filled out more recently. But the area is largely empty. You do not have to worry about whether the City will be able to shut down the crackhouse down the street because there are no houses down the street. Given the trajectory of Oak Forrest/Shep Park/Garden Oaks, development will inevitably start to push north of that area.

  • Afton Village for me as well. It’s a very family friendly area. The thing that impressed me with this area is that you can actually have lawn or porch furniture in your front yard… and not have it stolen! Color me impressed!

  • Willowbend/Willowbrook/Post Oak Manor: These neighborhoods form a contiguous neighborhood bordered by South Post Oak on the west, railroad tracts on the south and east, and Willowbend on the north, with the Willowbend neighborhood extending north of Willowbend as well. After several years of researching and looking at neighborhoods, I chose to buy in Willowbrook because of its still very reasonable prices for an established neighborhood of ranch houses with a great location right next to 610, with easy access to the Galleria, the med center and downtown. Add friendly neighbors and safe streets and it is the perfect location to have the best of the city with the yard of the suburbs.

  • Sharpstown Country Club Terrace, because these are the family neighborhoods that take a licking and keep on ticking.

    It is only a matter of time before the location, lot size, availability of good private schools, and affordability get noticed…for now, the Sharpstown stigma keeps it under wraps.