Reader Bob lives south of I-10 and says houses on his side of the freeway aren't moving, despite this article.
Katy is a "boomtown" based on spikes in new home construction and salaries from 2000 to 2008, according to a study by BusinessWeek, which ranked Katy as the second-fastest growing city in the nation.The main upscale neighborhoods in the Houston metro area lie between downtown Houston and Katy, in the corridor south of I-10 and north of Westheimer/FM1093. Houston residents know what I am talking about. That narrow 30 mile x 8 mile corridor contains the trendy new "lofts" near downtown, expensive new condo towers in the Galleria area, River Oaks, Memorial, the Villages and Cinco Ranch. I think that Bob made a good decision long-term, even if right now sales are slow and values are stagnant. 100+ years of real estate history says so.
Me? I live north of I-10, the crappy side. It was a nice quiet place when we moved out here in 1995. It's still an OK place, no real problems. But property values have been flat since 2000. The houses on this side of the freeway are between $100k-$150k. Here's the thing: Long-time readers here have seen my videos and have seen the inventory and foreclosures from my bike tours. The new houses in these videos (1) (2) have all been sold, and this is AFTER the shady lending was stopped. I did a video update three weeks ago and didn't post it on YouTube because there's almost nothing on the market! In my subdivision of 900 houses there are two houses for sale and one foreclosure. That's it.
Meanwhile, reader Todd sent me an article from Builder Online, ranking the nation's best 15 housing markets.
1. Houston, TexasPast performance is not a guarantee of future results. What I see on my bike rides is that construction has ground to a halt in Katy. Which is a good thing.
2008 Total Building Permits: 42,697
They like to do things big in Houston. Now the metro area, home to nearly 5.8 million people, can lay claim to being the largest home building market in the country, with 42,697 building permits. The market is still benefiting from an influx of population and jobs and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Employment rose 2.2 percent last year, representing the addition of an incredible 57,000 jobs. Home building activity in Houston has only fallen 31 percent since 2005. Also, existing home prices actually rose in Houston last year, 2.8 percent, to $160,200, still a very affordable level.
So... cheap houses north of I-10 move quickly, nicer houses in the I-10/Westheimer corridor are moving slowly. Did we get the subprime crap out of our system two years ago when I was seeing the problem, or is this the calm before storm? I don't know. I do know that the last time "boom town" was used to describe my neck of the woods it became "bust town" soon thereafter.
What the heck, here's the incredibly dull video, from January 31. Like I said, nothing to see.
I'll be glad to get the metal off my teeth so that I can speak normally again.