Which Houston Neighborhood Is the Most Underappreciated?

Yesterday we announced a couple more categories in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. That means 4 categories are now open for your nominations: The “Only in Houston” Award, Best Teardown of the Year, Best Vacancy, and Favorite Houston Design Cliché. We need your suggestions for all of them!

Now we have our next category: the Most Underappreciated Neighborhood. We Houstonians show our appreciation for different neighborhoods in various ways. And when the timing and the market are right, neighborhoods often respond in kind — with some appreciation of their own. Sadly, many fine parts of this city simply miss out on one type of appreciation, the other, or both — when clearly they deserve some. Here’s our chance to recognize and cheer on these underperformers! Which neighborhood in this town is most suited to the Most Underappreciated title — and why?

This is a brand-new award category for the Swampies, and we’ll need your smart nominations to make it work. Tell us which neighborhood should receive this singular honor — in a comment below or in a private message. Consult the official nominating rules if you like. What’s your choice?

38 Comment

  • Given the ire and invective directed toward the residents who had the temerity to oppose the Ashby high-rise coupled with the spectacular insensitivity to site and scale that that project represents, I nominate the Southampton and Boulevard Oaks neighborhoods as Most Underappreciated. The fact that the developers actually thought that this would be a good location for this building and that no one would object to it because it’s on the one unrestricted sliver surrounded by exclusive neighborhoods is just more evidence of under-appreciation. Not to mention the “Density is the wave of the future and let it begin here!” crowd.

  • Timbergrove.

    This quaint and green (grassy green, that is) neighborhood is both ITL and affordable. It doesn’t have the history or eclectic nature of the Heights but has pretty much all of the conveniences. Its tidy ranch style homes have large trees and even larger yards, making bedroom additions and swimming pools perks that the other “affordable” Loop neighborhoods don’t see much.

    Like its neighboring ‘hood, Timbergrove has a strong sense of community. Residents fight to keep their parks and improve their schools. Old schoolers and original home owners live in peace with yuppies and young families.

    With easy access to I10, residents can get anywhere in Houston quickly and have easy access to the city’s other major highways.

    More and more people are starting to take notice. Some large, impressive homes have popped up on the large, impressive lots. Still, this neighborhood has so much to offer and is constantly overshadowed by The Heights to the east and areas like Spring Branch to its west. Timbergrove is much loved by the people who live there and totally under appreciated by the rest of Houston.

  • +1 for Timbergrove. We love it, yet more than half the people I talk to have no idea where it is. We tend to say, near the Heights.

  • Southgate. More affordable than West U and not (yet) totally rebuilt, walking distance to Rice Village and the Med Center, and has one of the best elementary schools in the city (Roberts).

  • Lindale Park! Lindale Park! Lindale Park! I really like this orderly, modest, well-kept, quaint neighborhood. (See also http://robertwboyd.blogspot.com/2009/10/houston-streets-17-lindale-park.html)

  • Robindell (or more specifically Robindell, Braes Timbers, and Braeburn Terrace). This neighborhood has tree-lined streets, great mid-century moderns and ranches, an active HOA, and lots of hip young couples and families moving in.

    It’s also located just outside the Loop and right next to Bellaire and Meyerland for 30% to 50% of the price! Half of the neighborhood is even zoned to a highly rated elementary school – Herod, and neighborhood kids transfer regularly to great schools close by including Bellaire High School.

    It also benefits from being surrounded on two sides by very stable and established more upmarket neighborhoods. Bellaire McMansions have crept out to within a block of Robindell, and we now even have our first very own ginormous David Weekley build on your lot home in Braes Timbers. Few affordable up and coming neighborhoods have the same level of high quality neighborhood retail and restaurants so close by. Meyerland Plaza is only about a five minute drive.

    Yes, I live there, so I am a little biased, but, where else could I get a fairly renovated 3/2 ranch on an 10,000 sf lot, on a tree lined street with great neighbors two miles from Loop 610 for $150K? Homes seem to be selling for $85 – $120 / sf which is crazy cheap for the location. Yet almost no one I talk to about it has ever heard of the neighborhood. So, time for a little shameless self promotion. Anyone who is looking in Oak Forest and other “cooler” close in neighborhoods should come and take a look around my little neighborhood.

  • I’m not clear on the concept here. Underappreciated by whom? By outsiders, by the market, or by its own residents? It makes a big difference.

  • Tall Timbers.

  • Eastwood. No one ever thinks of Eastwood, which is a shame because anyone who doesn’t is sure missing out.

  • We need a new category for Southampton and Boulevard Oaks – how about most underwhelming? The attitude doesn’t quite live up to itself so to speak.

    As for Lindale Park it has always been this little secret among those realtors who dared to go over there with hesitant buyers. Who always bought once they saw the neighborhood. One of many including Robindell and Glenbrook Valley. But it’s still the most secret. So I vote for Lindale Park.

  • I vote for the Land of Meyer (Meyerland)since the residents have take not being under appreciated to an art form.\

  • +1 more for Timbergrove from me. I have friends that live there and it’s really nice.

    I’d also nominate Oak Forest, for many of the same reasons that Viula noted for Timbergrove.

    P.S. I live in the Heights, which I love, but it would make a good candidate for Most Overappreciated (property-tax wise and otherwise).

  • Eastwood seconded! Quiet streets, historic bungalows, good neighbors, delicious eateries, with easy access to downtown and points beyond.

  • +1 for Oak Forest

    Beautiful trees, moderate deed restrictions, many original post-war homeowners and top-rated HISD schools. All this and you can still find a house for 150k. Downtown in 10 minutes, Galleria in 5, Heights just down the street, yet a totally suburban feel.

  • @ TheNiche,

    The Market has no thumbs, so It will probably not be emailing Swamplot with its nomination. This category is for real estate agents to practice writing their listings. But you already knew that. Oh, and perhaps for some overly earnest urban poets with a need to describe their walkable streets and vibrancy and all the ususal goo that litters their mostly unread blogs, but you knew that too.

    That said, I nominate Midtown. It’s full of ugly townhomes, my-first-real-place apartment transients and street people; it suffers from a greatly lowered expectation of density and hipness, but it’s still a busy, desirable hood in its own right. We would be wise not to we underestimate the value of a (relatively) affordably priced, busy area for young professionals in walking distance of downtown jobs. Not to mention Specs.

  • Meadowcreek Village. 15 minutes to downtown, large custom homes for less than $200K, decent parks, tree-lined streets, rapidly gentrifying with young professionals. But virtually unknown and unvisited by most.

  • I vote for Baldwin Square (in Midtown). A bunch of townhouses owned by doctors, lawyers, etc. within walking distance of a nice park (Baldwin), restaurants, clubs, bars, etc. Easy to get to the Metro Rail line, ride a bike to Hermann or go Downtown. In the middle of everything, yet no one really knows about it. You can even walk to a Rockets game on a nice day.

  • Meyerland. It’s never gone downhill in its 50-year history. Low crime. Close in. Most houses are rehabed, not torn down and replaced by McMansions. Lots of cool mid century architecture. Plus — the flood Brays Bayou flood prevention work has made a big difference.

  • +1 more for Timbergrove. I moved here in July 2008 after 11 years in the burbs. I have loved every minute of it and can’t believe it took me this long to get here!

  • +1 Timbergrove. I would prefer to just keep it underappreciated and not let the cat out of the bag…but it appears to be well on it’s way to fullblown fame after winning this Swampie.

  • Brooke Smith – good location close to the booming Heights and Downtown with cute 1920s bungalows at low prices. Unfortunately, the residents don’t seem to appreciate it, as most of the properties are poorly maintained.

  • Oak Forest. I lived there for awhile and thought it was great. It definitely has its own feel and character.

  • I consider myself to have a smidgen of knowledge of Houston’s neighborhoods, but I have to admit that I’ve had put in some of the above-mentioned neighborhood nominations (like Oak Forest, Meadowcreek Village, and Robindell) into HAR to see a map of where they are located.

    I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who has had to do so…and if that doesn’t make a place “underappreciated,” then I’m not sure what will.

    That being said, from what I found on HAR, I’m not entirely convinced that some of the neighborhoods mentioned in this thread have any “appreciation” going for them.

  • Lindale Park. And I’m not just saying that because I live there. It’s just as nice as the Heights, if not nicer.

    When I tell people where I live, as soon as I say “East of 45” they tune out. So I’ve started using the generic “east of the heights” (since EVERYTHING real-estate related in Houston must somehow connect with the Heights) line.

  • Lindale Park is the Idylwood of the North Side.

  • +1 for Timbergrove. We’ve lived here for almost 5 years and love it. Large tree-covered lots with a great neighborhood feel.

  • This might as well be a poll for “Where do you live?” Midtown, Meyerland, Southampton? Come on, now… Same for any of the other neighborhoods I’ve ever lived in or actually been through. I’ll go +1 for Lindale Park because it’s in a decent location and I don’t know much about it, and the housing stock actually looks nice and affordable on har

  • @OkieEric- I voted Timbergrove but I don’t libe there. I live in The Heights and we are plenty appreciated :)

  • Timbergrove & Oak Forest are great, but discovered long ago. I keep hoping Eastwood will come on strong, but our downturn hurts it. What’s left? Lindale Park! A wonderful pocket of cottages (true cottages-tall peaked roofs, cropped eaves) just like miniature West U homes. However, it is not over-run with the Yuppies that took over the Heights long ago.
    No shopping has been it’s bane, but now that the old scary Northline Mall has been redone, that is changing too.
    More importantly, the “toy train” that I love to make fun of, is coming down N Main and Fulton. You will be able to step off the train on Fulton at Graceland and be just a few blocks away from any house in Lindale Park. A train in a real neighborhood might actually make sense.

    The right-of-way is being cleared. The builders can’t get money to put up their tacky homes. So, maybe real people will “discover” this area before prices are run up too much.
    That’s my vote…Rich

  • Rich, the lack of shopping has been a big pain. More restaurant options would be good as well. But, I’m hoping that’ll come in time.

    The rail is exciting. I think we’re going to be one of the few neighborhoods it actually goes through (excepting the East end line).

    I hope you’re right in that “real people” discover it before developers. The problem is, most of us in Houston have what my realtor called “I-45 vertigo”. Anything east of I-45 does not exist. Telling someone I live east of 45 is like telling them I live on the Texas-Louisiana border.

    It’s funny to see Timbergrove being mentioned. Those houses spiked up to $300,000 like five years ago.

  • +1 for Meadowcreek Village. Would have never thought to look/buy here.

  • This category is not about which neighborhoods are “undiscovered.” It is about which neighborhoods are under appreciated. Those two things are different. A very well established neighborhood can still be underappreciated, especially when it’s overshadowed by an overrated neighborhood close by.

    I also cast a vote for Timbergrove.

    Yes, prices there have gone up but it is still overshadowed by the Heights and ignored by homeshoppers who say they have to move to the ‘burbs to get a yard.

    Another great area to consider in Candelight Estates. Big yards are common there and many homes have only had one owner. It’s not as touted as other neighborhoods but also has a lot to offer. Still, it’s not the most underappreciated; just not as well known.

  • Ironically, it can be said that the more people nominate a neighborhood, the less likely it is to be really underappreciated. After all, those nominations are expressions of appreciation.

  • RWB, I’ve got to agree with you. Especially with respect to Timbergrove.
    That’s why I’m nominating Settegast, an enclave of little cottages tucked away from all the townhomes and industry, neatly arranged around Settegast Park. It’s completely off the radar, yet barely half a mile from downtown.

  • I vote Eastwood with Iydlwood in a close second. Close to Downtown, Campus, and up and comping bayou trails!

  • Post Oak Manor – With its 50’s/60’s modern homes, Beren Academy (sp?) and the Willow Waterhole Park development, it is truly a well kept secret.

  • Robindell is definitely the most under appreciated neighborhood in Houston. It’s stayed a well kept up area with lots of trees, convenient to many areas, lower crime than most surrounding areas, and a very comfortable neighborhood, where I’ve lived for almost 25 years…