Recent freeway improvements, proximity to the airport and housing availability are some of the factors that help sell northeast Houston to prospective homebuyers, according to two real estate agents in the area, Joan Imperato and Kim Fazzino of the Imperato Fazzino Real Estate Group.
What they see on the ground is reflected in recent data that show the region has seen steady growth both in single-family home sales and in the apartment sector.
Despite a slowdown in the market following Hurricane Harvey that left thousands of homes damaged in the area, Imperato and Fazzino have seen a strong pickup in activity within the last two months, with sales numbers on target with what they saw last year.
“(Recently) Joan and I worked together on a transaction involving an estate home that flooded and had been mitigated and remodeled and sold the first day on the market,” said Fazzino, an agent with Re/Max Northeast. “This is very encouraging to all of us.”
Kim Fazzino, Joan Imperato, Greg Fazzino
While Imperato and Fazzino see clients seeking everything from new construction to older homes, the region itself has been a strong destination for new builds. In 2017, the northeast market area had the third-most housing starts across the city, according to the housing research firm Metrostudy.
Lawrence Dean, regional director for Metrostudy, said flooding from Harvey didn’t have a large impact overall on the northeast market.
Dean expects to see similar trends for new home starts in 2018 and 2019 as well, with master-planned communities such as Signorelli’s Valley Ranch, Land Tejas’ Etteridge and Balmoral communities and DR Horton’s Rancho Verde community building out. But, the recent new home starts follow a shortage of lots just a few years ago.
The master plan of the amenity center with a 2-acre Crystal Lagoon in Balmoral, a new master-planned community being developed by Land Tejas Cos. northeast of Houston.
Dean explained how that 2013-2014 shortage led to fewer new home starts in 2015 and 2016. That started turning around in 2016, and by 2017 there was an 8.7 percent increase for new home starts in 2017 compared to the year before.
Who’s buying in northeast Houston?
According to Imperato and Fazzino, buyers include people who work in and around the Kingwood, Atascocita and Humble areas as well as those who commute to downtown, the Texas Medical Center, the Houston Ship Channel or newer employment hubs such as Generation Park. Some commute even farther, Imperato said, and need immediate access to an international airport for weekly business travel.
"We have a strong ‘move up’ and ‘empty nester’ pool of buyers in Kingwood," Imperato said. She’s seen many families move up in homes as families grew, then into patio homes as they retire, she said. "I’ve sold some of these families four or five homes."
Over the next few months, both expect to see a strong inventory of new construction, older homes that didn’t flood and flooded homes that have been renovated come on the market.
The February Houston Association of Realtors report showed Houston’s housing inventory continues to tighten following Hurricane Harvey.
Most active residential real estate developers in Houston
Ranked by Lots developed in Houston between October 2016 and September 2017
Rank Company Name Lots developed in Houston between October 2016 and September 2017 1 The Johnson Development Corp. 2,714 2 DR Horton Inc. 2,266 3 Friendswood Development Co. 1,732 View This List