How Houston dodged the housing bubble

Population explosion is good news for market that didn't overbuild

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Oct. 21, 2011

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Dorrance, who works the high-end neighborhoods in the core of Houston, said the biggest problem she has is that the professionals moving into Houston can't sell their homes in their old neighborhoods somewhere else around the country. For the first time, she is now doing leases.

"When they move here, they really would love to buy a house, but until they sell a property in another part of the country they really need to lease," she said. "Leasing in Houston was always at a small level, but it has dramatically increased this past year."

Then when clients can buy, it's not as easy as expected.

Dorrance gives this example: A client and his family moved from California a year ago to one of the nicer neighborhoods near Houston's famed medical complexes, but they couldn't sell the old house so they leased.

Eventually, the old house did sell and the client sought to buy in the same neighborhood. The client was outbid on three homes before getting a fourth home in the $800,000 range.

Jones, the economist, breaks out the problem this way: You need 1.25 to 1.5 new jobs for every new dwelling unit; we have almost 2.5 new jobs for a new dwelling unit.

Or you can look at the Houston paradox this way: In July, a home for sale in Houston sat on the market an average of 7.6 months, down 2 percent from the year before.

About her experience with the client who was outbid on three homes, Dorrance said, "We couldn't believe we were having so much difficulty getting a house within their price range."

Steve Bergsman is a freelance writer in Arizona and author of several books. His latest book, "Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis," is now available for sale on

Contact Steve Bergsman:
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1. Gene Mitchell said... on Oct 26, 2011 at 12:20PM


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2. Gene Mitchell said... on Oct 26, 2011 at 12:25PM

“Well, of course any city with no character or no culture would be the most valuable place to live. Houston is a country town , it's not a city. It also lacks of urban developments and mass transit that you have in other cities. Houston really sucks!!!!”


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