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Old 01-27-2013, 10:51 AM
 
1,442 posts, read 2,338,725 times
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We visited Houston this weekend, and we were overall pleased with the area. Coming from the North, the weather was fantastic (it felt like May), and the people were mostly friendly and helpful.

We visited a decent number of areas over the past several days: Meyerland, Memorial Villages, Memorial West, East Katy, Katy - Cinco ranch, Katy, Sugar Land, and Riverstone. While we like Houston overall, the lack of zoning is obvious and we did not find that to be positive.

Here are my thoughts on the above areas - keep in mind that these are my opinion only from a few days visit and some research from a week. I am very interested in your comments either confirming or refuting my observations:

Meyerland - Did not seem to be that great for raising a family. If I worked downtown, I would give it another look, but since the commute is not the best, we are ruling this out.

Memorial Villages - It is a lovely area, but we cannot even hope to afford this on $400k budget, save for some condos. It does not seem like a good investment, plus we'd be one of the "poorest" families there, so we are ruling this out.

Memorial West - While we can afford some properties in this area (77079), the area seemed much less desirable than Memorial inside the beltway or even Katy or Sugar Land. The businesses on the main streets did not seem as nice, but the houses seemed very expensive for what they were. Not ruling this out yet, but am not sure if this is a good investment.

East Katy (Kelliwood area) - The houses were decent for what they were and the neighborhoods seemed nice, but the commercial development (on Mason Rd south of I-10), seemed like an ugly hodgepodge.

Katy Cinco Ranch - We really liked the houses and the neighborhoods here. We probably wouldn't spend $400k in Cinco, as we could easily get what we like and then some for $300 - $325k. The only negative is that there seemed to be a noticeable lack of commercial development (i.e. restaurants & shopping) in that area vs. Sugar Land or Memorial. Is this planning to change in the future? Overall we really like this area and like that we can be perfectly fine spending $100k less, but are not sure what direction this area is headed.

Other Katy - Going west, the neighborhoods were nice, but they just seemed so far away, that I was concerned of a nightmarish commute.

Sugar Land - We were extremely impressed with Sugar Land - Town Center and all. The selection & quality of the commercial establishments were the best we've ever seen for a suburb. For our price, we could get an updated house in First Colony or a resale in Telfair. We liked this area the best, as almost everything a family needs or wants is right in the community. We also felt this area had the best "community feel" of all the other areas. We realize we would probably end up spending the full $400k here, so our major concern would be what direction Sugar Land is expected to go in the future for the resale.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: plano
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Where is your job? I presume it is DT from the comment you made so on that assumption, I will say I agree with your observations overall. Of the areas you mentioned considering, I think west 77079 (KISD) is where you will see significant change with all the new office construction in EC, this area is going to see nicer commercial amenities and its a place where values of homes will hold or increase due to the congestion coming with the job growth from DT to west Houston. Take a look at google maps and you will see a big gap in development from SH6 out to Barkers cypress due to the reservoirs. The biggest issue with this location is the KISD schools are located well west of you due to this gap.

Good luck with your move and decision where to live. I think you have a good handle on things for as little time as you have spent in Houston.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:08 AM
 
Location: The Lone Star State
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Since you said you liked SugarLand the best of what you saw... plus being you said you didn't like the "no zoning" of Houston... and SugarLand is technically a separate city that does have zoning, it sounds like where you should look.
For someone with a much higher budget, I'd say look at West University Place or Piney Point/ Villages areas too, but your budget won't work for those.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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Thanks for the quick comments. My work is off of Highway 6 - near the West Oaks Mall. My issue is that I may be relocated in 4-6 years, so we're looking for a place that will either hold or increase its value. That is why I'm wondering what people think will happen to the above areas in the future. If everything were to stay as it is right now, then yes, we liked Sugar Land the best. Based on my research, the Houston area has changed so much, with the growth, and some parts getting better and others going downhill. If we're going to spend $400k on a house, we want it to be a solid investment.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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I'm baffled by the observation that Meyerland wouldn't be a good neighborhood tor raise a family. That is the opposite of my experience.

One thing that never seems to come up in these discussions is that Houston has one of the best restaurant scenes in the country. When we were considering suburbs vs. Meyerland area, I realized that in the suburbs, I would have lots of chain restaurants as options. In the Meyerland area, I have easy access to the Galleria restaurants, as well as ethnic food in the Hillcroft area. Just something to consider.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown2013 View Post
Thanks for the quick comments. My work is off of Highway 6 - near the West Oaks Mall. My issue is that I may be relocated in 4-6 years, so we're looking for a place that will either hold or increase its value. That is why I'm wondering what people think will happen to the above areas in the future. If everything were to stay as it is right now, then yes, we liked Sugar Land the best. Based on my research, the Houston area has changed so much, with the growth, and some parts getting better and others going downhill. If we're going to spend $400k on a house, we want it to be a solid investment.
My work is near that location as well.

For that location, I'd say look in west Houston - 77077, 77079, or in Sugar Land/Richmond.
Since you say you prefer the look of the zoned areas over non-zoned Houston, Sugar Land is a good choice because it does have land zoning, sign ordinances, etc. I don't see values going down in Sugar Land other than the areas far north with Sugar Land postal addresses that are more like Alief-lite and not technically Sugar Land (basically everything north of W Bellfort Ave, east/inside of Hwy 6.) For your work location, a neighborhood like Telfair/New Territory or Sugar Lakes should give you a better/faster commute than a neighborhood like Greatwood or Riverstone.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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Just to chime in on Katy/Cinco Ranch, I think that this would be an excellent choice for you given your work location. We have a child and are extremely happy with the friendly people and family environment. Yes, we have a little less shopping/retail than we should given the demographics of the area, but that is changing quickly. The upscale shopping area, La Centerra, is being built out to more than double the space and there is lots of other retail and dining coming in. For example, a new Whole Foods in Cinco Ranch opens in three days and lots of other options are going to be available shortly. I think that this is a great place to live and because the schools are very good your home should certainly hold its value.

We looked at Sugar Land too and liked it but found that our housing dollar went further in Cinco Ranch. We have no regrets about living here. Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:45 PM
 
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Resale value and home appreciation in Sugar Land is extremely poor.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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I currently live in Katy/Cinco (Cardiff Ranch) but used to live off of Wilcrest & Memorial (77079). I love where I am for me. My husband did not want an older home, and commute wasn't an issue. 77079, is a higher priced area. I do agree that the neighborhoods look run down, however I do not think this will last for several reasons. They are higher priced to begin with, they feed in to good schools and it seemed like all my brothers friends (who went to Stratford) all were from above average income & upper class (doctors, lawyers, business owners, ect). It was a safe neighborhood and City Center right across from Beltway 8 has lots of shopping & dining. Not to mention your commute would be easy (I used to work by West Oaks Mall when I lived over there, you would be going against traffic during traffic time). That is an area that has ALWAYS held it's value. My grandpa owned a house on Kirkwood between 10 & Memorial for over 30 years. So, I do believe it is a safe investment. There are tons of hidden gem dining to be discovered over there. Just get one that has been updated & stay between 10 & Memorial (or slightly south of Memorial) and Beltway & Kirkwood.

I hate the traffic in Sugarland personally. It seems like there is always traffic around the commercial areas. That being said, can't argue with the variety. Have no idea about resale.

Katy has expanded greatly in the last few years. However resale, after 4-5 years would determine on where you buy. Cinco has too many houses to ensure you could break even so shortly after having to pay realtor fees. I would check out Kelliwood or Green Trails. Your commute wouldn't be bad at all and those neighborhoods have been established. Nice, big homes on larger lots with good resale value and so close to the Energy corridor that I think it's a safe bet. Again, All the schools on that side of 10 are good, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It seems like people around here tend to think newer schools are some how better...which is ridiculous. The test scores are fantastic.

Check out Houston Real estate, Houston homes, Houston Realtors: HAR.com and pull up the houses that are for sale in the areas you are looking at. Pay attention to the ration of "option pending", "sale pending", ect vs. homes for sale. That is probably the best way to find something that will be a safe investment in a short period of time.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:52 PM
 
1,442 posts, read 2,338,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshRall View Post
Resale value and home appreciation in Sugar Land is extremely poor.
What is your basis for saying this? Do you live there and have you had problems there?
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