More buyers are choosing urban high-density real estate in the Houston area than ever before, according to experts. In fact, sales of townhouses and condominiums grew faster than single-family homes between January and May of 2014. According to a report released by theTexas Association of Realtors, townhouse and condominiums saw a six percent increase over the same period in 2013.
Price Driving Sales
One reason many experts believe that urban residences are selling faster is that they are often priced lower than single-family homes. The median sale price for acondominium or townhouse is $145,000, and it is sometimes difficult for buyers to find a house that is less than $200,000. Although buyers are finding it easier to qualify for mortgages, many want to keep their mortgages as low as possible, which is also contributing to the rise in urban real estate sales.
Light Rail System
A new light rail line is another cause for the growth in high-density real estate in some areas of Houston. The area near Settegast Park, located east of the city, has become more attractive to developers due to the addition of the new rail line. However, this has led to an increase in land prices by about40 percent in the past six months. A project of 23 single-family homes and townhouses is in the permit stages now with prices to average $380,000 once the project is complete. Even the inner city is the focus of some developers with residential permits up 22.8 percent within Beltway 8 compared to the same period last year. Overall, residential building permits were up more than nine percent compared to the previous year.
Houston’s strong economy is also fueling the growth in high-density urban residences as well as the lack of land available for housing development. By building multi-family units, developers are able to maximize the land available and keep prices where consumers need them to be. As the economy grows, it is expected that more families will relocate to the area, further increasing the need for affordable housing.
Homeowners are also seeking residences that require less maintenance, including landscaping, lawn mowing and repairs. Although most condominium and townhouse complexes require homeowner’s fees or membership in a homeowners’ association, many consumers say that those fees are far less than the cost of yard and building maintenance. The older population values this as well as service amenities such as elevators and secured building entrances. Many of the residences also offer fitness center memberships, swimming pools and social gathering places to residents, which single-family homesmay not offer. Condominiums and townhouses are also excellent options for rental properties, and many owners choose to have those properties managed byprofessionals.
There are many reasons that the high-density urban housing market has grown significantly over the past year throughout Houston. With less maintenance, lower costs and the addition of a new light rail line, it is easy to see why many homeowners are choosing to purchase condominiums and townhouses in the Houston area rather than single-family dwellings.