WalkScore.com recently named Houston as the most pedestrian-friendly large city in Texas.
Based on the amount of amenities available within .25 miles of any given address, Houston took No. 23 in the United States with an overall walk score of 50, trailed by Dallas at No. 30, Austin at No. 31 and San Antonio at No. 40. El Paso took No. 44 on the nationwide list, and Fort Worth ranked No. 47.
Though the Bayou City is still scores behind New York (at No. 1, of course, with a score of 85.3), San Francisco (No. 2, 84.9), Boston (No. 3, 79.2), Chicago (No. 4, 74.3) and Philadelphia (No. 5, 74.1) in overall walkability, our individual areas proved to be self-sufficient.
Neartown/Montrose, for instance, earned a walk score of 82, while Greenway/Upper Kirby, Midtown and Downtown all scored 78, 77 and 76, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, the Hunterwood area had the lowest walk score — a meager 11.
The pace of Houston home sales has never been brisker, as a super-low supply of homes for sale is igniting bidding wars for houses in many neighborhoods. Sellers are getting offers from multiple buyers on the day their house goes up for sale. And home prices are going up fast.
The inventory of homes for sale is at its lowest point since 1999, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.
Historically, January is a slow month for Realtors. But not this January. January property sales in Houston totaled 4,680, a 29 percent increase over January of last year, the Realtors Association Reported.
“This market is in an unbelievable frenzy. I’ve never seen a market like this,” says Bernstein Realty owner Amy Bernstein, a 30-year veteran of Houston realty.
“The majority of homes that come on the market today and are priced right — or even priced a little high — are getting multiple offers on the first day." Bernstein says she has received as many 12 offers from would-be buyers vying for the same house.
In some cases, buyers are submitting offers even before the house officially goes on the market, just based on scuttlebutt that the house will be put up for sale soon.
Housing inventory in Houston shriveled to 3.6 months in January, the lowest level since December 1999, the Realtors association reported. The inventory of homes for sale is down 20 percent from January of 2012.
The shrinking inventory is a concern to Danny Frank, chairman of the local Realtors association. “We are maintaining a watchful eye on the local housing supply because a significant decline from current inventory levels could potentially have an adverse effect on sales and drive prices disproportionately higher,” Frank says.
Prices are already going up. Last month’s average sales price of $200,296 was the highest ever recorded in Houston in a January, the association reports.
Exceptionally low mortgage rates, with 30-year home loans available at less than a four percent interest rate, are the lowest in 50 or 60 years. The Houston economy is adding a significant number of new jobs and people in the energy business are being relocated here. Combined with a tight inventory and robust consumer confidence, the conditions are just right for a realty boom.
Homes inside the Loop, Memorial, Katy, Meyerland and Bellaire are very strong, but the positive surge is widespread in Houston area markets.
Home builders are very active and their pursuit of tear-down lots in the Inner Loop is relentless. Houston is leading the nation in home building construction permits. Builders are sending letters to owners of older homes, just to see if the owner may be ready to sell.
The upper-end market is exceptionally hot. In January, the sales of houses priced above $500,000 and into the million-plus bracket were up 52 percent over January of 2012, the association reported.
The market is not expected to cool down anytime soon. The sales pending at the end of January were up 13 percent over January of last year, signaling that the spring selling season will be excellent. In short, Realtors are going to be running fast for a while.
Source: Culturemap, February 20, 2013
by Ralph Bivins, former president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors
OliverMcMillan LLC’s River Oaks District development will be home to a new movie theater from Boca Raton, Fla.-based iPic-Gold Class Entertainment LLC.
The Florida company said Monday it has signed a lease to build the eight-screen, 560-seat luxury theater at the development along Westheimer Road at Westcreek Lane, just east of the Galleria. The location is slated to open in 2014, and each auditorium will seat about 50 to 90 people.
Since forming in 2006, iPic Theaters has grown to nine locations with 67 screens in seven states. The division also has Texas locations in Austin and Fairview.
The theater will include iPic’s dining concept, Tanzy Express. “Premium plus” seating includes individual call-button service from Tanzy Express, and moviegoers in “premium” seating can bring their Tanzy Express orders into the theater with them.
The River Oaks District location will also include Salt, iPic Theaters’ bar and lounge.
New Year's Eve Houston Brings Disco To Discovery Green
KC & The Sunshine Band Headlines FREE Family-Friendly, Community Celebration
Put on your boogie shoes and ring in 2013 at New Year’s Eve Houston with Grammy® Award winner KC & the Sunshine Band. Celebrating his 40th anniversary, the “king of disco groove” will bring his infectious party music to the city’s annual fun-filled, FREE and family-friendly night for some booty shakin’ and gettin’ down in the Discovery Green Disco. Revelers will enjoy a host of performers and entertainers, a bubble garden, the always-funky illuminated art car parade, ice skating, a variety of food and drinks galore, plus two countdowns. New Year’s will arrive early for families with small children and a second arrives at the stroke of midnight with a spectacular fireworks finale atop the George R. Brown Convention Center.
This event will be Monday, December 31, 2012; 7 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. at Discovery Green -- 1500 McKinney.
The event is sponsored by Mayor Annise D. Parker; City of Houston; Houston First; Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau; Houston Downtown Management District
The Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2013 report is out and Texas is on top for real estate investment potential, according to the 900 industry experts surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute.
Houston moved up to No. 5 on in this year's ranking of the top 20 markets to watch, up three spots from 2012 thanks to energy-related employment. The Bayou City saw massive job growth between 2007 and 2013, adding more than 300,000 jobs during that period.
"Houston is a winner," said one survey respondent, and although the rank for homebuilding prospects fell by one spot from last year's ranking, the industrial sector is ripe with buying opportunities.
The Bayou City saw massive job growth between 2007 and 2013, adding more than 300,000 jobs during that period.
Austin ranked No. 4 on the list, with further expansion of commercial real estate likely to follow an anticipated population increase next year.
Dallas/Fort Worth took No. 9, ranking only behind Houston in employment growth — by 2013, it will have added more than 230,000 jobs since 2007 — with one of the most diversified job bases.
Although San Antonio ranks only 19th for real estate potential, it took No. 5 for job growth over the past six years.
Houston, now the fourth largest city in America with 600 square miles and over 2 million residents was founded on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou 175 years ago with just over 6,000 acres. Along the way Houston has inherited many interesting places and things to call its own.
Some spectacular things even long time Houston residents might not be aware of include:
Bats! A quarter million bats reside under the Waugh bridge near Allen Parkway. Check it out at sundown when the bats come out to feed!
Glenwood Cemetery, many of Houston’s royalty, mayors, governors, even the tycoon Howard Hughes is laid to rest here.
Bayou Bend Gardens, the largest garden in Texas is 14 acres of lush organic scenery.
The Orange Show, it’s a life size maze, a work of art, and a concert venue among other things. It’s open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5pm for tours.
Dress like a Houstonian! Pick up a custom pair of boots from Tejas Boots and clothing from Hamilton Shirts which is a local institution since it opened in 1883. The shop is older than Houston which was in founded 1836.
Make a reservation in room 271 at the Houstonian Hotel! This was the official residence of George and Barbara Bush from 1981 until 1992.
Push the Red Button! The stairwell at Preston where it crosses the Buffalo Bayou near the Wortham Center. Take the kids, press the button, and watch the water to find out what happens!
These things will make any resident or visitor alike feel like a real Houstonian! Enjoy the adventure.
Houston has always been a hip place to live, but now it’s official.
Forbes.com recently ranked “America’s Coolest Cities To Live” and Houston earned the No. 1 spot
The article talks about Houston’s connection to NASA, urban sprawl and business friendly policies, and adds that “coolness” is another one of its appealing features.
The article states, The Bayou City may not be the first place you associate with being hip or trendy. But Houston has something many other major cities don’t: jobs. With the local economy humming through the recession, Houston enjoyed 2.6% job growth last year, and nearly 50,000 Americans flocked there in response — particularly young professionals. In fact, the median age of a Houston resident is a youthful 33.
The result? Over the past decade, the dreary corporate cityscape — pictured above — has been quietly transforming. Stylish housing developments have popped up downtown, restaurants have taken up residence in former factories and art galleries like the Station Museum <http://stationmuseum.com/> have been inhabiting warehouses.
Combine that with a strong theater scene, world-class museums and a multicultural, zoning-free mashup of a streetscape and you have the recipe for the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Coolest Cities To Live.
For more information, visit www.Forbes.com .
Friendswood Development residents and the Houston community can mark the calendar for Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm at The Grove, 1611 Lamar Street through September 26th! The Grove, Discovery Green, and Mix 96.5 have partnered for Sundown at The Grove presented by Land Rover.
This weekly cocktail hour will take place in the upstairs restaurant, the Treehouse featuring extraordinary views of the downtown Houston skyline. Guests will enjoy complimentary light bites, live bands, and more. Live entertainment includes Moodafaruka and Dharma.
Since its creation in 2003, Houston Restaurant Weeks showcases and promotes Houston's restaurants, while benefiting the Houston Food Bank. Friendswood Development residents can dine out and make a difference during the month of August! Founder and Chair, Cleverley Stone, states that the event is planned entirely by volunteers so that all funds raised are donated to the Houston Food Bank.
Lunch- Two courses for $20 (three courses at some restaurants)
Restaurants donate $3 per lunch sold to the Houston Food Bank.
Dinner- Three courses for $35 (four courses at some restaurants)
Restaurants donate $5 per dinner sold to the Houston Food Bank.
Some of the acclaimed restaurants participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks include:
-Benjy’s (both locations)
-Brennan’s of Houston
-Eddie V’s (both locations)
-The Bird & The Bear
-White Oak Kitchen
For a complete list of restaurants and menus visit, please click here. For further questions, or if you would like to participate in this event as a restaurant or sponsor, please email Cleverley@HoustonRestaurantWeeks.com.