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Old 06-15-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,988,098 times
Reputation: 783

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I've already decided that Texas will be my home for a long time. For that reason, plus Houston's housing being more affordable than many places in this country, I want to buy a townhome/condo here. Since I work in downtown, I want to live within the inner loop. Anything outside of the loop won't be considered as options. My budget (prequalified by various banks) is going to be about $130K or less, with a 10% down payment.

People have been telling me that I will not find anything in the inner loop for that price, but I found plenty (hundreds) of townhomes and condos selling for less than that on HAR.com... Particularly in the Medical Center area. With a few exceptions, I found that the Heights, Rice Military, River Oaks, Midtown, and West University areas to be generally a bit too expensive for my budget, but not the Medical Center area.

I really would like to buy now, but my apartment lease won't be up until end of January 2009. And if I terminate my lease early, the penalty is extremely heavy (4 months worth of rent). No subletting is allowed.

So I'll need to wait another 6 months before buying. I'm wondering how the market in the Medical Center is? Is it a buyers market or a sellers market? Why are the townhomes much cheaper in that area compared with other parts of the inner loop? Will the availability/inventory of townhomes under $130K increase or decrease 6 months from now? Is 6 months enough time to wait, or is it better to buy sooner than that (despite the penalty that I'll have to pay for terminating my current lease early)?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-15-2008, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Clear Lake TX
8,322 posts, read 28,257,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCNative View Post
People have been telling me that I will not find anything in the inner loop for that price, but I found plenty (hundreds) of townhomes and condos selling for less than that on HAR.com... Particularly in the Medical Center area. With a few exceptions, I found that the Heights, Rice Military, River Oaks, Midtown, and West University areas to be generally a bit too expensive for my budget, but not the Medical Center area.

I think there are several good reasons for that. You need to choose your area wisely in the TMC area.
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Old 06-15-2008, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Westbury
556 posts, read 966,663 times
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There are huge amount of older condos for sale in the Med Center area. Many are smaller and were built in the 60's and 70's. Some are in good/decent complexes...some are not.

Definitly be aware of what the maintenance fees are at each particular complex. In older builders, they can be upwards of $300 (even for the small units). In your price range, that will be a considerable percentage of your monthly expenditure.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:59 PM
 
95 posts, read 313,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCNative View Post
I want to live within the inner loop. Anything outside of the loop won't be considered as options.
It won't? Why is that? It is a totally arbitrary boundary. Drive time from home to office would probably be a better metric.

I don't think there's going to be any significant change within the next several years in the townhouse/condo market you're considering. Be prepared for ZERO appreciation down there....you may even see values decline since most of the developments down there are just plain ugly with no hope of recovery in sight.

If you wanted a single family home, then you would have some good options for $130k close in, AND you'd probably see some good appreciation over the next few years as well.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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diggity101 - I'm prepared to pay those maintenance fees as a trade off to spending much less time maintaining the condo/townhome than I would for a single family home. The expenses would probably be the same either way. Though I would prefer to keep those fees under $300 a month... hopefully $250 or less. I'm avoiding those with sky high fees (more likely to be found near the Galleria).

starkeshia - my office is right in the middle of downtown. While the 610 loop is an arbitrary boundary, it is a valid one because I'd like to keep my commute time under 20 minutes. Especially with the gas prices. The nice thing about the Med Center is that it has walkable access to the rail line that goes into downtown. I wouldn't even have to drive to work if I live there. I might consider the Galleria area because it has a memorial/allen parkway access to downtown that doesn't have much traffic, but I haven't found any good places in my price range there. If I go outside the loop, to areas between the loop and beltway 8, then I would start finding many places in my price range... but I feel that it would be too far from work. As for zero appreciation at the TMC, that's a bit of concern for me... though it might change in the future due to gas prices - people are gonna want to live closer in than further out.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Houston
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Condos and townhouses just SE of TMC and inside the Loop has been relatively flat in the past 20 years. A lot of renters live in that area - mostly medical students and some employees who work at TMC. So, as people come and go, the neighborhood never really feels established as a permanent home.

It's an example of a bad urban planning. What needs to be done is to bring a mix of business, residential, and recreation that works 24 hours a day.

Another option might be just outside of the Loop off of South Main Street. There is a new development of townhouses in the area and perhaps in your price range and access to Metro straight to downtown.

But then, townhouses have a lot of competition so don't expect a huge appreciation in value as houses do. I would just look for a house on East End.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:19 PM
 
95 posts, read 313,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCNative View Post
As for zero appreciation at the TMC, that's a bit of concern for me... though it might change in the future due to gas prices - people are gonna want to live closer in than further out.
Fact is, most people live out in suburbia and like it. It may be because of the schools, or the big cheap new houses, or who knows, but they like it and I don't think they're going to be willing to trade down from their McMansions to a little condo in town anytime soon.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,988,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starkeshia View Post
Fact is, most people live out in suburbia and like it. It may be because of the schools, or the big cheap new houses, or who knows, but they like it and I don't think they're going to be willing to trade down from their McMansions to a little condo in town anytime soon.
Oh that's right... it's probably the schools. Forgot about that Texas law where you gotta send your kids to the school in the district where you bought a house and live in. Didn't have that law where I came from. Good thing I don't have any kids right now, eh? The last thing I want is a long commute, and that is the single most important factor in my real estate hunt (even more so than the price).
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:10 AM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker to new jerseyite ;)
4,084 posts, read 11,811,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCNative View Post
People have been telling me that I will not find anything in the inner loop for that price, but I found plenty (hundreds) of townhomes and condos selling for less than that on HAR.com... Particularly in the Medical Center area.
Where exactly in the TMC area are these townhouses and condos? What streets?
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,712 posts, read 3,988,098 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houstoner View Post
Where exactly in the TMC area are these townhouses and condos? What streets?
So far, I like Brasewood Park, Old spanish trail, Cambridge st, and Stadium Dr. I'm sure there are others that have great townhomes, they look good in the pics, but haven't visited them yet. They range between $80k and $140k, depending on size and how many bedrooms.
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