Heights bungalows should make way
Potential and current homebuyers in our Houston real estate market are faced with the dilemma of choosing a side in the ongoing fight for the future of the thriving Heights Community. Historically, the area has been occupied by homes that date back to the 1920s. These classic attributes have aged and, although still occupied, are becoming places of crime and poverty. Because of recent developments, however, these statistics have been reversed.
Builders have taken interest in the upper Heights area and improved its overall appearance and safety – not to mention it has become a hotspot for potential homeowners. Highest in the new demographic are young urban professionals who are looking to invest.
The Heights’ inhabitants, on the other hand, are not as eager for change. Homebuyers and local developers such as Urban Living, Triton Homes and Karpas Properties are being attacked and criticized for "montrosizing" the Heights by outraged local homeowners who are comparing the Heights development to the previous maturity of the Montrose area.
The investors and realtors in offense are reassuring their hesitant clients that development is mandatory for the area as part of the city’s overall growth.
After driving through the nearly poverty stricken area however, one would consider the new town housing lots a godsend opposed to the broken-down bungalow huts that line the streets. Local residents have initiated Save the Bungalows, a movement dedicated to cease the dismantling of the city.
Yet they fail to consider that not only has the crime rate dramatically decreased since the beginning of developments, but also that the value in land per square foot has skyrocketed by more than 250 percent. Developers claim that locals who are willing to sell their shacks to them are receiving thousands of dollars for the pennies their houses are worth. Houses worth $95,000 are being sold for more than $200,000 due to the coming establishments and land value increase.
Bungalow homeowners must also consider the uncontrollable increase in the land tax rates in the coming years. The residents will be paying three to five times (within a five year bracket) what they are currently belting out of their wallets on a monthly basis. New home investment clients are earning an average of $30,000 profit on new development within three months of buying a property. At this rate, homeowners may not have the choice of selling their homes for long, since the majority of them will not be able to afford such steep rates – the average income per household of the bungalows is significantly under the national average.
Residents who are reluctant to sell their homes are finding that relocating might not be such a terrible concept. With the large profit they receive from the builders, they can now afford newer houses and more modern luxuries that were seemingly unaffordable before.
The Heights district is not the first to join the developmental bandwagon. In and around Houston there has been a subtle yet rapid increase in the effort of restoring and establishing more modern beauty to the city.
With new inspirations occurring on a daily basis, many find it idiotic to interfere with Houston’s progression. As a largely thriving city, Houston has grown at a phenomenal rate. The Heights development shows the interest that Houston has in putting forth effort in growing as a city. Because of the development it has undergone thus far Houston’s reputation has increased internationally. With further development (like the Heights expansion) it is interesting to imagine what we as a city are capable of or what lies in our future.
Baerga, a communications junior, can be reached via [email protected]