The Rise in Houston’s High-rises

by Michele Marano

Houston is serving up a tall order to those who have longed for living high – high-rise living, that is.  From the Galleria, Inner loop to River Oaks and downtown, a skyline view of Houston is now available in almost all parts of the city.

Houston, a globally recognized city, has its share of residents pouring in from all parts of the world.  Those who’ve lived in some of the largest cites around the globe expect to find similar living environments when they move to Houston.  People want that big city feel, living in tall apartment buildings or condos.  Until recently, Houston has not offered many options, however, those who move here now will have choices.

So why the rise in high-rises?

Houston has never really been a high-rise type city.  Historically, high-rises have been the slowest moving segment in Houston’s housing.   The ones available were older units and didn’t offer the newest technology or luxury amenities that people wanted.  Also, the older the building, the better the chances of paying a high assessment fee to keep up with the repairs for that building.

High-rises just didn’t sell as fast as other single family developments and when the market suffered a blow in 2008-2009, condo units had a shelf live of years.  Some developments under planning were halted and some projects sat idle for quite some time.   Since the recovery, demand in homes strengthened, as did interest in Houston’s high-rises.

While the price of crude peaked in 2012, Houston saw a rise in its population and real estate sales soared.  Residents poured in from all over the U.S. and world, creating  demand for all housing segments.  This called for new accommodations; housing that would appeal to all styles, tastes and prices.  Finally,  builders caught on and recognized a real need.  While the 500k+ housing segment saw record sales, builders realized an opportunity to capitalize on a new housing market in Houston.  Luxury high-rises emerged.

Most projects have come close to completion and some are still underway.  Unfortunately, the only high-rise development planned in The Woodlands stalled out after a turn in oil and as real estate began cooling, so did the project.  The project should move forward, this time around structured to caterer to a broader market, not only multi-million dollar buyers.

Key factors to consider when buying new high-rise construction.

(1) When is it time to buy. Most of the high-rises are new so either you wait till builders reduce or you pay the price.  Always ask for discounts and then make your final decision based on the timing of the purchase.

(2) How long do you plan to own it? Chances are the price will take some time to appreciate and keep in mind, there are more condos in Houston now so competition is likely when you plan to sell.

Luxurious towering high-rises now flourish the city of Houston.  Sky-high lifestyles, sky-high views and price tags that some consider sky-high for Houston.  Although prices may seem somewhat steep, compared to other major cities, they are not.  And if you wait long enough, almost everything turns a profit, even a tall order.