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Is real estate in the Heights really this hot?

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I agree that the yuppie-fication of West University in the 80's (not 90's) is similar to what is occurring in the Heights now, but even then West University Elementary was one of the top HISD elementary schools.  And West University was never a ghetto with rampant crime, so gentrification did not really occur.  West University has always been a middle class neighborhood, which is why the schools were always good (and I do think the good schools helped West University explode). I'm sure the Heights will get better schools, but I suspect it will take many years before they are as good as comparable schools south of 59. 

 

This is a good point.  Often the gentrification follows the schools, not the other way around.  Look at Oak Forest, for example.

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However, the story changes when you look at middle school.  Travis and Harvard feed into Hogg. If you look at the FRL proportion of the seven elementary schools that feed into Hogg, and assumed that all the students in those 7 schools moved on to Hogg MS, you would expect 70% of Hogg students to be FRL.  The actual proportion is 90%.  That means that middle class enrollment in Hogg is only 1/3 that of its feeder network. It's not clear what proportion of this drop-off is from families that stay in HISD but transfer to other middle schools (by comparison, Hamilton is 76% FRL, Lanier is 31%), and what proportion is due to gentrification lag, but it's a pretty big drop-off.  

 

 A lot of parents will bail on public schools after elementary school.  Also, Travis is Vanguard.  The Vanguard kids will often pick Lanier over Hamilton.  And now that Black is turning around, they may also bypass Hamilton for that school.  Otherwise, a lot of Harvard and Travis kids go to magnets like Pershing, Lanier or Pin Oak.  It gets a little easier to get to a middle school magnet as families move out of the district or switch to private school.  Thus, it takes a lot longer to turn around a middle school in HISD. 

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I plan to send my kids to Travis (I only have one so far and he's still a baby), I'm really hoping that by the time they get to middle school Hogg will have turned around a good bit.  I have had a few conversations with the principal there and like the direction they are trying to go, but it is going to take something big to get the local residents to send their kids there.  I work with a group that is trying to establish an cultural program at Hogg, and for the most of the past 7 years Hogg wasn't receptive.. the newer principal however is interested.  The more local community groups that get involved with Hogg the better.

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I have been in the Heights for 7 years.  I Just moved out because of Schools.  I am the second to last of quite a few good friends to move b/c of schools.

 

Elementary schools are not a big concern.  As was mentioned above Harvard & Travis are both considered good schools...I would be comfortable with those schools for my children...Unfortunately I was not zoned to those schools...I was Love and I would not send my kids to Love.  Despite how much it and the whole neighborhood has improved in the 7 years I've been in the Heights, its still not even a decent school, and Im not going to send my kids to a bad school just to live in an area that is convenient for me.  Could I afford to move into the Harvard district?  Sure - but for what?  1-5th grades?   Im still stuck with the middle and high being abysmal.

 

If you are interested in playing the magnet game and jumping through the different hoops to get your kid into the right program, at the right magnet, then you can still get a pretty good education in HISD.  However, even if your kid is in the programs, he is still surrounded by a bunch of kids who are not.  Without trying to make this into a haves/have not conversation, suffice it to say that many of the lower income residents simply do not put the same emphasis on education that I do.  There are also quite a few gangs and other pretty rough elements that goto the same schools but are in different programs.  I would prefer not to expose to my kids to that element or lifestyle. 

 

For about the same cost as the Heights I can get a house in Frostwood, Bellaire, or West-U where those elements are almost completely non-existent.  The financial demographics are completely different and the school performance shows what a difference demographics and involved parents make.  Its not about income/race/religion/etc its about values and whether or not a family cares or is involved.   There are still drugs and bad kids, but they are on a completely different level. 

 

The Heights is great.  The families that live in the Heights are great but there just are not very many families in the Heights who send their kids to schools here past elementary.  I do not know even one single family who sends their kids past elementary.  With only one exception every single family I know has moved out b/c it was cheaper to move than pay for private school.  The one family I know who is staying is still undecided on what they will do with the schools for their kids.

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If you are interested in playing the magnet game and jumping through the different hoops to get your kid into the right program, at the right magnet, then you can still get a pretty good education in HISD.  However, even if your kid is in the programs, he is still surrounded by a bunch of kids who are not.  Without trying to make this into a haves/have not conversation, suffice it to say that many of the lower income residents simply do not put the same emphasis on education that I do.  There are also quite a few gangs and other pretty rough elements that goto the same schools but are in different programs.  I would prefer not to expose to my kids to that element or lifestyle. 

 

For about the same cost as the Heights I can get a house in Frostwood, Bellaire, or West-U where those elements are almost completely non-existent.  The financial demographics are completely different and the school performance shows what a difference demographics and involved parents make.  Its not about income/race/religion/etc its about values and whether or not a family cares or is involved.   There are still drugs and bad kids, but they are on a completely different level. 

 

The Heights is great.  The families that live in the Heights are great but there just are not very many families in the Heights who send their kids to schools here past elementary.  I do not know even one single family who sends their kids past elementary.  With only one exception every single family I know has moved out b/c it was cheaper to move than pay for private school.  The one family I know who is staying is still undecided on what they will do with the schools for their kids.

 

 

We were fortunate enough to be able to send our son to a good HISD elementary school, but it was very stressful, and 5 years from this January when the magnet lottery results get sent out, I'll have my real estate agent and mortgage broker on speed dial.

 

Just curious, though: aren't West U and Bellaire part of HISD? Is moving to those municipalities any better than moving to somewhere zoned to Lanier/Lamar?

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You guys all bring up very valid points. I am definitely in agreement that the Middle and High Schools in the Greater Heights are not quite up to par yet. Speaking from just personal experience, every coworker, friend or family member I know of in the neighborhood either has a child less than 1 year old, are currently pregnant, or are planning to start a family in the next 1-2 years (I personally fall in this last category). I think we all agree that for those Heights residents zoned to Travis and Harvard the schools are already good. That means for those with newborns it will be 6 years from now before they start grade school and another 5 years before they would be middle school age. That gives a full 11 years for school development. 11 years worth of demographic changes, 11 years worth of displacement of lower income families due to increased rent and increased property taxes. I really don't want to leave, but at least I have the comfort of knowing it will be more than a decade worst-case before I would need to look to move. If I was a betting man though, I'd put my money on 11 years being more than enough time to revamp the middle and high schools.

 

Also, I'm not sure I agree with statement above "gentrification follows the school." In my opinion, while having a good elementary school is definitely a plus, I think what we are witnessing is a generational shift in psychology. The "white flight" to the suburbs has reversed and now professionals are more interested living closer in to the city center. People are seeking shorter commute times and less cookie cutter homes.

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Yes both are HISD. Pershing and Lanier are fairly similar quality for middle schools (you are in a lottery for Pin Oak if you are in West U and Bellaire (and other surrounding areas for that matter)). Bellaire is a better high school than Lamar, although I think that most of West U is zoned to Lamar.

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For about the same cost as the Heights I can get a house in Frostwood, Bellaire, or West-U where those elements are almost completely non-existent.  The financial demographics are completely different and the school performance shows what a difference demographics and involved parents make.  Its not about income/race/religion/etc its about values and whether or not a family cares or is involved.   There are still drugs and bad kids, but they are on a completely different level. 

 

Agreed. That's why we bought in Knollwood Village (South Braeswood area, just south of West U). The homes are newer/better than the Heights (like living in 1950's Leave it to Beaver), you get more for your money, WAY less crime, more families, and zoned to better schools (Longfellow, Pershing, Bellaire). I like the Heights as well, but I don't understand why a family would spend the crazy amounts of money to live there when you can get a 3/2/2 or 4/2/2 for around the same cost in S. Braeswood. Our neighborhood is nice throughout... unlike the Heights where certain streets have some really sketchy places. Plus, we have deed restrictions that will keep it at single-family. For those reading this forum and trying to look at the Heights and finding it unaffordable, listen to Marksmu and I.

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Agreed. That's why we bought in Knollwood Village (South Braeswood area, just south of West U). The homes are newer/better than the Heights (like living in 1950's Leave it to Beaver), you get more for your money, WAY less crime, more families, and zoned to better schools (Longfellow, Pershing, Bellaire). I like the Heights as well, but I don't understand why a family would spend the crazy amounts of money to live there when you can get a 3/2/2 or 4/2/2 for around the same cost in S. Braeswood. Our neighborhood is nice throughout... unlike the Heights where certain streets have some really sketchy places. Plus, we have deed restrictions that will keep it at single-family. For those reading this forum and trying to look at the Heights and finding it unaffordable, listen to Marksmu and I.

 

Very different "feel" than the Heights, though. The curvy streets with limited entry/exit points and lots of space between houses all feel very suburban (Oak Forest feels the same way to me). I don't mean suburban as a pejorative; I think it's a lovely area, but if someone bought in the Heights for a certain "feel", it won't be duplicated here.  The largest width of frontage you tend to see in the Heights is 50 ft, often less with newer construction, and the ubiquitous front porches and lack (for the most part) of front-facing garages encourages interaction with neighbors rather than isolation from them.

 

Also, if you're commuting to NW Houston or the Energy Corridor, you have to cross the Galleria at rush hour to get there from Bellaire and West U, and access to downtown from the Heights is quicker as well.

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Agreed. That's why we bought in Knollwood Village (South Braeswood area, just south of West U). The homes are newer/better than the Heights (like living in 1950's Leave it to Beaver), you get more for your money, WAY less crime, more families, and zoned to better schools (Longfellow, Pershing, Bellaire). I like the Heights as well, but I don't understand why a family would spend the crazy amounts of money to live there when you can get a 3/2/2 or 4/2/2 for around the same cost in S. Braeswood. Our neighborhood is nice throughout... unlike the Heights where certain streets have some really sketchy places. Plus, we have deed restrictions that will keep it at single-family. For those reading this forum and trying to look at the Heights and finding it unaffordable, listen to Marksmu and I.

 

The pockets of old 1950s homes around Braeswood are definitely the best value in the City right now if your main concern is schools.  But there are definitely some big trade offs.  The 1950s housing stock has low ceilings and very drab exteriors.  If there is a problem with the old slab foundation, you are looking at a very expensive repair.  While the little neighborhoods are nice and quaint, S. Main is a dump.  The nearest decent restaurants/shopping are all up on Bellaire/Holcombe.  Access to downtown is not very good compared to the Heights.

 

The Heights has seen a big spike in B/Es because HPD has basically sat on their butts and let it happen.  That kind of crime is more likely in neighborhoods where the lots are smaller and there is alley access to garages.  More opportunities in a smaller area than in a more spread out neighborhood.  But all the other crime stats in the Heights have been steadily declining for years. 

 

The number of derelict properties in the Heights is rapidly declining.  In three years on my side of the Heights (WHD), two crappy apartment complexes are flipped/in the process of getting flipped, an old warehouse was demoed and is going to be 4 single family homes, and about a dozen properties that were anywhere from needing updating to just barely being able to be saved have been redone.  Even the SW quadrant of the Heights is seeing a major clear out of old derelict rentals.  A few pockets remain, but Rome was not build in a day.

 

If you are just looking for the best roof and schools inside the loop for your buck, the SW corner of 610 is the best bet.  But, if you have the money to pay for private school and value the amenities of the Heights, it is worth every penny.

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Very different "feel" than the Heights, though. The curvy streets with limited entry/exit points and lots of space between houses all feel very suburban (Oak Forest feels the same way to me). I don't mean suburban as a pejorative; I think it's a lovely area, but if someone bought in the Heights for a certain "feel", it won't be duplicated here.  The largest width of frontage you tend to see in the Heights is 50 ft, often less with newer construction, and the ubiquitous front porches and lack (for the most part) of front-facing garages encourages interaction with neighbors rather than isolation from them.

 

Also, if you're commuting to NW Houston or the Energy Corridor, you have to cross the Galleria at rush hour to get there from Bellaire and West U, and access to downtown from the Heights is quicker as well.

 

I agree about the commute past the Galleria... but that should be alleviated a couple years from now when they widen 610.

 

As far as the "feel", I'd rather have a larger ranch house than a 2/2 "quaint" shack... but that's my opinion. Yes, Knollwood/Linkwood/etc. is more suburban... but it's in the middle of the city and kids/neighbors mingle freely (I have to dodge kids on bikes and playing soccer in the street on the way home), and the limited access points mean far less riff raff walking the streets (only neighbors and kids). Plus, we have larger yards than the Heights so kids can actually run around, play football, and have fun. I don't mind the suburban feel when I can walk to Reliant or bike to Rice Village. It's urban suburban with good schools:)

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Agreed. That's why we bought in Knollwood Village (South Braeswood area, just south of West U). The homes are newer/better than the Heights (like living in 1950's Leave it to Beaver), you get more for your money, WAY less crime, more families, and zoned to better schools (Longfellow, Pershing, Bellaire). I like the Heights as well, but I don't understand why a family would spend the crazy amounts of money to live there when you can get a 3/2/2 or 4/2/2 for around the same cost in S. Braeswood. Our neighborhood is nice throughout... unlike the Heights where certain streets have some really sketchy places. Plus, we have deed restrictions that will keep it at single-family. For those reading this forum and trying to look at the Heights and finding it unaffordable, listen to Marksmu and I.

 

I loved the Heights, my wife loved it even more than I did.  We left primarily because of schools.  Also, I wanted more space - lots more - the Heights lots are tiny, and lots of people prefer that...I don't but I enjoyed my time in the Heights - it was a great 7 years.

 

That said I am looking forward to having more space, a place to park a trailer when I need to tow one, and the additional distance between homes.  I never got used to the fact that when I looked out my kitchen window I was glaring into my neighbors family room.

 

The Heights is a feel all its own though that is not replicated in other areas of Houston in the same way - I think much of it is b/c of the lack of tract homes, and the fact that the neighborhood has a history of sticking together to fight crime and look out for one another...as the neighborhood has gentrified, and the Historic District People became more aggressive, much of that good neighbor feeling has unfortunately eroded.  The look of the area has improved drastically, and the parks/trails make the neighborhood great. Unfortunately the live and let live attitude has been eroded and there are too many people now who take it upon themselves to attempt  to dictate to others how they should live.

 

What will I miss about the Heights?  I will miss the proximity of everything to where I lived.  I had a great location, even if I did not use all the things I was close too.  I was blocks away from everything I needed daily and that was great.  I will miss the hike and bike trail, Collinas and Menchi's as I ate at those places frequently.  I will miss the location to all major freeways and the ability to take multiple routes when traffic arose.  The location of the Heights to everything in Houston is what truly made it convenient.  It was central, and central is easy to access everything.

 

What will I not miss?  The expensive restaurants b/c I never ate there due to having kids, bars b/c I never used them, I will not miss the HD natzis (though I still have a house in the HD west), I will not miss the narrow streets, lack of curb/gutter, everyone parking on the street, poor sidewalks, CRIME, check cashing stores, and the random ugly houses that are poorly maintained, and the sheer quantity of arrogant bicyclist in the area.

Edited by Marksmu

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I was in Montrose (the best "location" you can get, at least to me) and after having a couple of kids wound up in Old Braeswood.  Southgate was my top choice but we wound up sacrificing a fraction of commute time for a larger lot.  Anyway, the pricing of the Heights versus an area like Southgate just doesn't make sense to me.  Southgate certainly has better schools, I'd argue a better location (faster to Med Center, Rice, Rice Village, museums, midtown, Montrose, Hermann park, zoo, ~comparable to downtown).  I can see the new construction point but why on earth pay $870K for this (glorified townhome?)

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=41218795&v=s

 

When you could get this for $820K

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=44539834&v=s

 

Sure, maybe the 2nd place needs some updating but you could do quite a bit with $50K and wind up with an actual house/lot in a great location...  I will admit Southgate in general is priced higher, but I would think it will always be

 

It's funny, my brother isn't from Houston but all of his friends that have moved here are going to the Heights.  Neither of us can figure out why but we always joke about it (in a positive way.  "Let me guess, the Heights?").  These aren't West U-type earners by any means, but they are certainly professionals with decent earnings.  My best guess is that people view it as some sort of compromise between Montrose and West U?

 

 

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I was in Montrose (the best "location" you can get, at least to me) and after having a couple of kids wound up in Old Braeswood.  Southgate was my top choice but we wound up sacrificing a fraction of commute time for a larger lot.  Anyway, the pricing of the Heights versus an area like Southgate just doesn't make sense to me.  Southgate certainly has better schools, I'd argue a better location (faster to Med Center, Rice, Rice Village, museums, midtown, Montrose, Hermann park, zoo, ~comparable to downtown).  I can see the new construction point but why on earth pay $870K for this (glorified townhome?)

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=41218795&v=s

 

When you could get this for $820K

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=44539834&v=s

 

Sure, maybe the 2nd place needs some updating but you could do quite a bit with $50K and wind up with an actual house/lot in a great location...  I will admit Southgate in general is priced higher, but I would think it will always be

 

It's funny, my brother isn't from Houston but all of his friends that have moved here are going to the Heights.  Neither of us can figure out why but we always joke about it (in a positive way.  "Let me guess, the Heights?").  These aren't West U-type earners by any means, but they are certainly professionals with decent earnings.  My best guess is that people view it as some sort of compromise between Montrose and West U?

 

 

 

I'd pick the first one for a couple reasons. One, location. The heights is closer all around to restaurants and bars I like to frequent. There are less than a handful of places I like that are south of 59. Yeah, the zoo and Miller and arts are great, but I don't frequent it often enough to justify the location. Restaurants and bars and such, I'd do that any day of the week. I'm not talking douchey bars, but chill bars to wind down from after workThe other reason is the build of the house. I'd forgo the bigger yard for a house with better efficiency and newer technology than one i have to retrofit or fix up. Just my two cents.

Edited by nervouslaughter

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The first house is overpriced by at least $200,000, maybe 250.

 

Wow you aren't kidding.  I really wonder where in the heck that developer thinks he is going to get a sucker to pay that, and if he does get a sucker, where in the heck is that sucker going to get a loan?  There is no way a townhome like that is going to appraise for $869K

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The first house is overpriced by at least $200,000, maybe 250.

 

Good lord.  $311/sq ft?  That's insane.  That's $100/sq ft over going rate.

 

In fairness though, it's ~3 blocks from Torchys :-)

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I prefer the Heights place for a variety of reasons although I dont have that kind of money so its irrelevant.  R+W are high end builders so this price is really out of scope with most, but they do have their fans and I'm sure it will sell.  I do think the Southgate home is a much better long term investment though.  

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I'd pick the first one for a couple reasons. One, location. The heights is closer all around to restaurants and bars I like to frequent. There are less than a handful of places I like that are south of 59. Yeah, the zoo and Miller and arts are great, but I don't frequent it often enough to justify the location. Restaurants and bars and such, I'd do that any day of the week. I'm not talking douchey bars, but chill bars to wind down from after workThe other reason is the build of the house. I'd forgo the bigger yard for a house with better efficiency and newer technology than one i have to retrofit or fix up. Just my two cents.

 

Bars and restaurants move, cultural institutions don't.  I'm also going to assume you don't have kids and aren't as interested in the schools

 

Definitely point taken on the age of construction, though.  The lot to home value ratio is pretty high in these older places.  I like the look of older homes but realize I'm in the minority on that one.  You really can't find a new home (not townhome) under $1 million anywhere near that part of town

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I prefer the Heights place for a variety of reasons although I dont have that kind of money so its irrelevant.  R+W are high end builders so this price is really out of scope with most, but they do have their fans and I'm sure it will sell.  I do think the Southgate home is a much better long term investment though.  

 

High end or not, it wont appraise so banks wont lend.  It's not bigger than comparable construction, its just significantly more expensive.

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I was in Montrose (the best "location" you can get, at least to me) and after having a couple of kids wound up in Old Braeswood.  Southgate was my top choice but we wound up sacrificing a fraction of commute time for a larger lot.  Anyway, the pricing of the Heights versus an area like Southgate just doesn't make sense to me.  Southgate certainly has better schools, I'd argue a better location (faster to Med Center, Rice, Rice Village, museums, midtown, Montrose, Hermann park, zoo, ~comparable to downtown).  I can see the new construction point but why on earth pay $870K for this (glorified townhome?)

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=41218795&v=s

 

When you could get this for $820K

 

http://search.har.com/engine/dispSearch.cfm?mlnum=44539834&v=s

 

Sure, maybe the 2nd place needs some updating but you could do quite a bit with $50K and wind up with an actual house/lot in a great location...  I will admit Southgate in general is priced higher, but I would think it will always be

 

It's funny, my brother isn't from Houston but all of his friends that have moved here are going to the Heights.  Neither of us can figure out why but we always joke about it (in a positive way.  "Let me guess, the Heights?").  These aren't West U-type earners by any means, but they are certainly professionals with decent earnings.  My best guess is that people view it as some sort of compromise between Montrose and West U?

 

You have picked houses that are on opposite ends of the spectrum for each neighborhood.  East of Kirby is Roberts Elementary.  Good school, but Poe is where everyone wants to be.  Also, being in the shadow of Rice's football stadium isn't as attractive as being a hop and skip away from 19th st.  So, the Southgate example is on the low end of the spectrum for that neighborhood.  Most everything west of Kirby is 1 mil+.

 

The new construction on 18th is way on the high end of the spectrum in the Heights per sq ft.  It is a fancy custom builder who will put in all the high end stuff.  The house will probably sell for $800k.  2900 sq ft houses from an inferior builder have been getting @730k in the neighborhood.  869k is not going to happen, but 780-800k will.  Lots of great stuff happening on 19th st. adding value to that area. 

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Wow you aren't kidding.  I really wonder where in the heck that developer thinks he is going to get a sucker to pay that, and if he does get a sucker, where in the heck is that sucker going to get a loan?  There is no way a townhome like that is going to appraise for $869K

 

 

It's not a townhouse; it's a 3-story single-family, but that's REALLY testing the top of the market. One assumes there not in a big hurry to sell; only one of the six homes on the site is on HAR.  

 

There's not a TON of inventory in the Heights between $800 and $900k, but there's enough to indicate that for that kind of money, you can get at least 500 more s.f. and double the lot size, zoned to a better elementary school. (Like this one.)

 

Same builder will do the conversion of the AT&T building on the corner into "lofts", as well as build some houses on what is now the parking lot.

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Bars and restaurants move, cultural institutions don't.  I'm also going to assume you don't have kids and aren't as interested in the schools

 

Definitely point taken on the age of construction, though.  The lot to home value ratio is pretty high in these older places.  I like the look of older homes but realize I'm in the minority on that one.  You really can't find a new home (not townhome) under $1 million anywhere near that part of town

 

If school was an issue and private school wasn't an option, then I'd go with Southgate or West U. I do think the 3 story home shown was overpriced, though. I have lots of friends who live in Super Neighborhood 22, Heights, and Garden Oaks, so that makes a difference as well.

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It's not a townhouse; it's a 3-story single-family, but that's REALLY testing the top of the market. One assumes there not in a big hurry to sell; only one of the six homes on the site is on HAR.  

 

There's not a TON of inventory in the Heights between $800 and $900k, but there's enough to indicate that for that kind of money, you can get at least 500 more s.f. and double the lot size, zoned to a better elementary school. (Like this one.)

 

Same builder will do the conversion of the AT&T building on the corner into "lofts", as well as build some houses on what is now the parking lot.

 

Its still a townhouse, its just a detached townhouse.  Tiny, tiny lot, big house, more than one side by side = townhouse.  Townhouses do not have to share common walls.

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You have picked houses that are on opposite ends of the spectrum for each neighborhood.  East of Kirby is Roberts Elementary.  Good school, but Poe is where everyone wants to be.  Also, being in the shadow of Rice's football stadium isn't as attractive as being a hop and skip away from 19th st.  So, the Southgate example is on the low end of the spectrum for that neighborhood.  Most everything west of Kirby is 1 mil+.

 

The new construction on 18th is way on the high end of the spectrum in the Heights per sq ft.  It is a fancy custom builder who will put in all the high end stuff.  The house will probably sell for $800k.  2900 sq ft houses from an inferior builder have been getting @730k in the neighborhood.  869k is not going to happen, but 780-800k will.  Lots of great stuff happening on 19th st. adding value to that area. 

 

That's completely incorrect.  Roberts is superior to Poe - look it up.  Poe is still an OK school, though

 

My impression is that the rich people zoned to Poe tend to go private

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High end or not, it wont appraise so banks wont lend.  It's not bigger than comparable construction, its just significantly more expensive.

 

Well, again not in my price range, but bigger home doesn't mean bigger price anymore.  I don't think it will have a hard time appraising.  These are the guys that built million dollar Caceres homes in a time when Rice Military was maxing out in the $350s and seem to be doing well enough there.  My guess is they have a pretty good idea of what they're doing.

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You have picked houses that are on opposite ends of the spectrum for each neighborhood.  East of Kirby is Roberts Elementary.  Good school, but Poe is where everyone wants to be.  Also, being in the shadow of Rice's football stadium isn't as attractive as being a hop and skip away from 19th st.  So, the Southgate example is on the low end of the spectrum for that neighborhood.  Most everything west of Kirby is 1 mil+.

 

The new construction on 18th is way on the high end of the spectrum in the Heights per sq ft.  It is a fancy custom builder who will put in all the high end stuff.  The house will probably sell for $800k.  2900 sq ft houses from an inferior builder have been getting @730k in the neighborhood.  869k is not going to happen, but 780-800k will.  Lots of great stuff happening on 19th st. adding value to that area. 

 

While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you may be the only person I've ever met (or not met) who thinks a house on 18th street near Shepherd is more attractive than a house bordering Rice University. And, I am not surprised that you think that price is close to correct. I remember when you were bragging about what you payed for your house a couple of years back.

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Well, again not in my price range, but bigger home doesn't mean bigger price anymore.  I don't think it will have a hard time appraising.  These are the guys that built million dollar Caceres homes in a time when Rice Military was maxing out in the $350s and seem to be doing well enough there.  My guess is they have a pretty good idea of what they're doing.

 

Funny that you should mention Caceres. Check it out. Million dollar 4700 foot homes. $280 psf. That's 30 bucks a foot LESS than this Heights house...a house that is WEST of Heights Blvd, by the way.

 

 

http://search.har.com/engine/130-Calle-Catalina-Pl-Houston-TX-77007_HAR78961173.htm

 

http://search.har.com/engine/114-Calle-Catalina-Pl-Houston-TX-77007_HAR90047404.htm

Edited by RedScare

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 There's not a TON of inventory in the Heights between $800 and $900k, but there's enough to indicate that for that kind of money, you can get at least 500 more s.f. and double the lot size, zoned to a better elementary school. (Like this one.)

 

But again, South Braeswood: http://search.har.com/engine/3206-Drummond-St-Houston-77025-1920_HAR96818694.htm

 

Double the lot size, more sq footage, better schools, safer neighborhood, one story, 84k less.

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Agreed. That's why we bought in Knollwood Village (South Braeswood area, just south of West U). The homes are newer/better than the Heights (like living in 1950's Leave it to Beaver), you get more for your money, WAY less crime, more families, and zoned to better schools (Longfellow, Pershing, Bellaire). I like the Heights as well, but I don't understand why a family would spend the crazy amounts of money to live there when you can get a 3/2/2 or 4/2/2 for around the same cost in S. Braeswood. Our neighborhood is nice throughout... unlike the Heights where certain streets have some really sketchy places. Plus, we have deed restrictions that will keep it at single-family. For those reading this forum and trying to look at the Heights and finding it unaffordable, listen to Marksmu and I.

I respect that you want to defend your neighborhood to the death. But to say the housing stock in Knollwood is better? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not is up to interpretation, but at least for me 1950's architecture marked the beginning of the ranch style home which is still what we see built today in the burbs. Not much architectural value whatsoever at least in the present, although i have seen an increased interest in midcentury modern furniture as of late. There is a reason all the 1950's homes are being demolished in garden oaks/oak forest. The Heights on the other hand is flush with Victorian and Craftsman era architecture; ornate millwork, exposed rafters, open front porches, etc. Likewise, there is a reason so many homes are renovated as opposed to being demolished and when they are knocked down ppl have a cow. People who seek out the Heights arent the ones looking for the most square feet per dollar; that is the same 'burbs mentality that everyone seeking to live inside the loop are trying to get away from.

Edited by laiall

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Someone who is smarter than me - how much profit in a hypothetical situation would the developer make on that one lot if he got 800k per house?

 

About half a mil.

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Roberts > Poe. Poe is good. Roberts is excellent. The difference is Poe has a ton of kids from North of 59 (think apartments and old houses that line Richmond). Every day around 3 you can watch the parade on foot across the 59 bridges. 

 

Also, I am with Red on this one. I've never heard anyone complain about living in the shadows of Rice Stadium. Ever. Having the university close by is one of my favorite things about living down here (South of 59). The new sky public art deal, the campus coffee house, the trail around the campus, and the beautiful architecture of the original quad that opens up to Hermann Park are all huge plusses for me. I also enjoy walking over to campus to catch a football/baseball game or to watch the nerds play the Harry Potter game.

 

As for laid back bars, Kelvin Arms. Kay's, Gingerman, Volcano's, Fedora, Simone's on Sunset, and Valhalla are awesome (depending upon the night).

 

 

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Roberts > Poe. Poe is good. Roberts is excellent. The difference is Poe has a ton of kids from North of 59 (think apartments and old houses that line Richmond). Every day around 3 you can watch the parade on foot across the 59 bridges. 

 

Also, I am with Red on this one. I've never heard anyone complain about living in the shadows of Rice Stadium. Ever. Having the university close by is one of my favorite things about living down here (South of 59). The new sky public art deal, the campus coffee house, the trail around the campus, and the beautiful architecture of the original quad that opens up to Hermann Park are all huge plusses for me. I also enjoy walking over to campus to catch a football/baseball game or to watch the nerds play the Harry Potter game.

 

As for laid back bars, Kelvin Arms. Kay's, Gingerman, Volcano's, Fedora, Simone's on Sunset, and Valhalla are awesome (depending upon the night).

 

 

And I doubt that many people share the view that being close to 19th street is better than being close to Rice village.

Plus you're closer to the museums, plus zoo, plus Hermann park.

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About half a mil.

 

I'm not sure what they paid for the land, but if you assume $30/sf (which is probably low), it's sitting on $100k of dirt.  I would have expected 2800 s.f. of house plus a detached garage to cost more in the range of $400k than $200k, especially with the kind of high-end materials and finishes expected at this price point.

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I respect that you want to defend your neighborhood to the death. But to say the housing stock in Knollwood is better? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not is up to interpretation, but at least for me 1950's architecture marked the beginning of the ranch style home which is still what we see built today in the burbs. Not much architectural value whatsoever at least in the present, although i have seen an increased interest in midcentury modern furniture as of late. There is a reason all the 1950's homes are being demolished in garden oaks/oak forest. The Heights on the other hand is flush with Victorian and Craftsman era architecture; ornate millwork, exposed rafters, open front porches, etc. Likewise, there is a reason so many homes are renovated as opposed to being demolished and when they are knocked down ppl have a cow. People who seek out the Heights arent the ones looking for the most square feet per dollar; that is the same 'burbs mentality that everyone seeking to live inside the loop are trying to get away from.

 

 

You can't remodel your way out of 8-ft ceilings.

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Good for you if you want Victorian with fine mill work. Frankly, I want a solid place to live in the loop in a safe neighborhood that's easy to maintain and room to grow. I love 8 ft ceilings and single-storied. I looked at the Heights before Knollwood (and could have easily bought), but did not like the houses and neighborhood. As a liberal I was hoping to like the Heights since it seemed like a place I would fit in, but I just couldn't stomach the kind of house and lot size for what I could find elsewhere in a better location.

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You can't remodel your way out of 8-ft ceilings.

 

They can raise 8' ceilings assuming you have an attic above...Ive seen it done a few times.  It is not cheap, a 2,500sq/ft house would probably spend about $35-$40,000 doing it.

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Yeah when i was looking in Timbergrove it seemed almost all the houses that would have had 8' ceilings had used their attic space for cathedral ceilings, traces, raised coffers, etc.

 

It makes a world of difference.  8' flat ceilings are a deal breaker for me.   (heck mine are over 9' and i wish they were taller)

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Good for you if you want Victorian with fine mill work. Frankly, I want a solid place to live in the loop in a safe neighborhood that's easy to maintain and room to grow. I love 8 ft ceilings and single-storied. I looked at the Heights before Knollwood (and could have easily bought), but did not like the houses and neighborhood. As a liberal I was hoping to like the Heights since it seemed like a place I would fit in, but I just couldn't stomach the kind of house and lot size for what I could find elsewhere in a better location.

 

Brian, I actually don't live in a Victorian. I chose a Craftsman which are actually very different in design philosophy. I highly doubt the crime in Heights proper is any worse than Knollwood. And as far as "solid" is concerned, original Heights homes (Pre-1940s) were constructed of old-growth wood not farmed saplings (as I can attest everytime I curse my walls when trying to hammer a nail in the wall to hang a picture) so we got that a covered. You describe that you couldn't stomach the "kind" of house, but I suspect what you mean to say is you couldn't stomach the amount of square feet for the price which I think I drove home in my last post as well. Noone is going to pick a 1950s ranch style home over a Craftsman Bungalow for the same price/sq ft.

 

I'm calling it now and only time will tell if I'm right: Heights is West U and Garden Oaks/Oak Forest is Bellaire for Generation X/Y.

 

I, like you, also could have easily bought in either neighborhood and am also liberal/progressive leaning (part of the reason the Heights was attractive to me as well). It is a matter of opinion and we can agree to disagree :) We just had different criteria; I was looking for the convenience of living inside the loop and a neighborhood with original homes; specially in this day in age of cookie cutter homes, mcdonalds and walmarts. I literally go for walks and bike rides around my neighborhood just to admire the architecture and am happy that to this day I still have not found two homes that are the same.

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It makes a world of difference. 8' flat ceilings are a deal breaker for me. (heck mine are over 9' and i wish they were taller)

I couldn't justify having to heat and cool all that extra space. Plus, it's not like I walk around the house looking up :)

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I read something about the next generation of consumers are less concerned about a big house and lot and prefer functionality and lifestyle. I have to agree on that. I'll take what suits my interests any day over space.

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I'm calling it now and only time will tell if I'm right: Heights is West U and Garden Oaks/Oak Forest is Bellaire for Generation X/Y.

 

I think West U is West U and Bellaire is Bellaire for Generation X/Y.  Keep in mind there are other factors that make West U and Bellaire different than the Heights and other areas - schools are just one aspect.  Both are incorporated cities so the higher and higher property values (and taxes) go towards better services over a relatively smaller area.  Whereas being part of Houston my streets suck and yours probably do, too.  Heck, aren't there still some open ditches up in that part of town?

 

There will always be another part of Houston to gentrify and move up, but there are limited numbers of these small "enclaves" (or whatever the term is)...so there will always be an advantage there

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I think West U is West U and Bellaire is Bellaire for Generation X/Y.  Keep in mind there are other factors that make West U and Bellaire different than the Heights and other areas - schools are just one aspect.  Both are incorporated cities so the higher and higher property values (and taxes) go towards better services over a relatively smaller area.  Whereas being part of Houston my streets suck and yours probably do, too.  Heck, aren't there still some open ditches up in that part of town?

 

There will always be another part of Houston to gentrify and move up, but there are limited numbers of these small "enclaves" (or whatever the term is)...so there will always be an advantage there

 

Let me clarify my statement. West U up until the early 90's was a aging solidly middle class neighborhood that began a gentrification process with young professionals moving in. These were people grouped in the later baby boomer to early gen X category. Since then the neighborhood has transitioned to an upper class family-friendly neighborhood. Eventually, people started getting priced out of West U and that is when Bellaire began to develop due to its still good location and larger lots.

 

In my eyes, the exact same thing is happening right now in the Heights and GO/OF. The vast majority of people moving into the Heights during this boom the last 2 years or so have been people in their late 20s to early 30s on the cusp of starting a family (late gen X'ers and mostly gen Y'ers). Those priced out of the Heights have started to venture north/northwest to GO/OF for their cheaper prices and larger lots.  

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I have 8 1/2 ceilings and I don't mind them at all. I love my old tudor. I did add french doors in two spots and added more windows and opened up two walls to let more light through. However, I don't even notice the "low" ceilings anymore other than when I head downstairs and feel like I need to duck my head. 

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Good for you if you want Victorian with fine mill work. Frankly, I want a solid place to live in the loop in a safe neighborhood that's easy to maintain and room to grow. I love 8 ft ceilings and single-storied. I looked at the Heights before Knollwood (and could have easily bought), but did not like the houses and neighborhood. As a liberal I was hoping to like the Heights since it seemed like a place I would fit in, but I just couldn't stomach the kind of house and lot size for what I could find elsewhere in a better location.

 

The Heights is mostly craftsman.  The old ranch houses do not have much of an advantage over the older craftsman bungalows.  At this point, the original wiring on both should have been replaced as well as all the mechanicals, fixtures, etc.  As far as framing, no big advantage either way.  Craftsman bungalows have old growth hardwoods and are generally over engineered structurally.  The ranches have the benefit of some more modern engineering and design, but look out if that slab starts to move. 

 

Lot size in the Heights really isn't that small compared to the ranch houses.  Most ranches are on 7-8000 sq ft lot.  The set back is huge, making most of the green space the front yard.  Deed restrictions prevent fencing in the front yard.  Thus, if you have a dog or don't want your toddler running out into the street, you are confined to the back yard which isn't that big.  No big advantage on lot size. 

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I couldn't justify having to heat and cool all that extra space. Plus, it's not like I walk around the house looking up :)

 

 

High Ceilings can be benefical to heating and cooling houses... that is why the old houses have high ceilings in the first place...  

 

 

Not to mention 8' ceilings make it hard to have adequate ceiling fans... they become hazards for anyone over 5 feet tall. 

 

 

I walk around the house looking everywhere, and I even have a good reason to not look up... my beautiful 1920s longleaf pine floors.

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Brian, I actually don't live in a Victorian. I chose a Craftsman which are actually very different in design philosophy. I highly doubt the crime in Heights proper is any worse than Knollwood. And as far as "solid" is concerned, original Heights homes (Pre-1940s) were constructed of old-growth wood not farmed saplings (as I can attest everytime I curse my walls when trying to hammer a nail in the wall to hang a picture) so we got that a covered. You describe that you couldn't stomach the "kind" of house, but I suspect what you mean to say is you couldn't stomach the amount of square feet for the price which I think I drove home in my last post as well. Noone is going to pick a 1950s ranch style home over a Craftsman Bungalow for the same price/sq ft.

 

I'm calling it now and only time will tell if I'm right: Heights is West U and Garden Oaks/Oak Forest is Bellaire for Generation X/Y.

 

I, like you, also could have easily bought in either neighborhood and am also liberal/progressive leaning (part of the reason the Heights was attractive to me as well). It is a matter of opinion and we can agree to disagree :) We just had different criteria; I was looking for the convenience of living inside the loop and a neighborhood with original homes; specially in this day in age of cookie cutter homes, mcdonalds and walmarts. I literally go for walks and bike rides around my neighborhood just to admire the architecture and am happy that to this day I still have not found two homes that are the same.

 

You do realize that there are TONS of repeat "craftstman" homes throughout the Heights.  These houses were tract homes of their day - Sears Catalog homes.  You pick the plan, they generate the  materials and you can either contract for the labor from them or do it yourself.  There was nothing special about them, EXCEPT for the fact that at that time in history true carpenters built houses instead of unskilled labor.  Fortunately for everyone else, modern technology has made precision less important...but it is a shame that carpenters dont build homes anymore.   For all the talk about hating suburbs people are quick to forget that the Heights was Houstons first suburb.

 

That said I like the Heights look....I also like the ranch home look of the non-tract ranch homes...I also like New Orleans style homes, and Southern Georgia style homes with plantation columns and the like...suffice it to say I like many many home styles.  The only style I don't like is the repetitive tract homes...and there is nothing wrong with the styles of those homes - just the fact that they are repeated over and over and over again is distasteful to me.  I do not have a problem with the home itself.

 

I am custom building my home right now and I could choose any style I wanted...I choose a Georgian as my "style"  I moved out of what the craftsman snobs would probably call a McVic and I liked that house too.

 

All the weiner measuring here over one house style being better than another is silly.  People have differing tastes.  Craftsman is not better than ranch, is not better than modern, is not better than Georgian, etc, etc.

 

Also all the talk about the ranch house foundation collapsing is pure speculation.  Houston does predominatly have terrible soil, but much to my surprise on the home I am currently building, my house sits on sand directly above stone...and the stone is at a depth of 7'....That is as good a building strata as you can get anywhere in the world...odds of my foundation moving - close to zero...How does anyone know what soil is under what particular house?  You dont.  The only way to know is to drill and test.  Your just putting someone elses house down to feel good about living in your own.  Just enjoy your house....his house may collapse tomorrow or may outlast your house...you dont know... and your cute little craftsman may be swallowed by a sink-hole tomorrow.  

 

Why is it that people in the Heights always feel the need to tell everyone else how much better their house is?  Its a phenomenon I have not seen anywhere else in Houston.

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You do realize that there are TONS of repeat "craftstman" homes throughout the Heights.  These houses were tract homes of their day - Sears Catalog homes.  You pick the plan, they generate the  materials and you can either contract for the labor from them or do it yourself.  There was nothing special about them, EXCEPT for the fact that at that time in history true carpenters built houses instead of unskilled labor.  Fortunately for everyone else, modern technology has made precision less important...but it is a shame that carpenters dont build homes anymore.   For all the talk about hating suburbs people are quick to forget that the Heights was Houstons first suburb.

 

That said I like the Heights look....I also like the ranch home look of the non-tract ranch homes...I also like New Orleans style homes, and Southern Georgia style homes with plantation columns and the like...suffice it to say I like many many home styles.  The only style I don't like is the repetitive tract homes...and there is nothing wrong with the styles of those homes - just the fact that they are repeated over and over and over again is distasteful to me.  I do not have a problem with the home itself.

 

I am custom building my home right now and I could choose any style I wanted...I choose a Georgian as my "style"  I moved out of what the craftsman snobs would probably call a McVic and I liked that house too.

 

All the weiner measuring here over one house style being better than another is silly.  People have differing tastes.  Craftsman is not better than ranch, is not better than modern, is not better than Georgian, etc, etc.

 

Also all the talk about the ranch house foundation collapsing is pure speculation.  Houston does predominatly have terrible soil, but much to my surprise on the home I am currently building, my house sits on sand directly above stone...and the stone is at a depth of 7'....That is as good a building strata as you can get anywhere in the world...odds of my foundation moving - close to zero...How does anyone know what soil is under what particular house?  You dont.  The only way to know is to drill and test.  Your just putting someone elses house down to feel good about living in your own.  Just enjoy your house....his house may collapse tomorrow or may outlast your house...you dont know... and your cute little craftsman may be swallowed by a sink-hole tomorrow.  

 

Why is it that people in the Heights always feel the need to tell everyone else how much better their house is?  Its a phenomenon I have not seen anywhere else in Houston.

 

People in the Heights do not tell everyone else how much better their house is.  They just have pride in their homes, which most people in Houston do not as the vast majority live in stucco/hardiplank boxes that have absolutely no redeeming architectural quality. 

 

The old ranch houses in Houston are ugly.  Most have very few architectural elements and are just bland as bland can be. 

 

And Craftsman homes were not the tract home of their day.  There is tremendous various between craftsman homes.  There were a number of different catalogs with distinctive designs.  There is way more variation as a result of the catalog system because people were not tied down to a particular builder who owned the entire subdivision but was only going to build from a small set of plans.

 

And there is plenty that is special about them.  The craftsman homes were part of the Arts and Crafts movement.  The Arts and Crafts movement was a reaction to the extravagances of the Victorian period while also resisting the increasingly diminished amount of design as the result of mass produced housing.  Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie School was essentially born out of the Craftsman movement in architecture. 

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