Friday, May 30, 2008
Houston is Number One Best Place to Live!
It's the city of big plans and no rules, beat-the-heat tunnels and loop-the-loop highways, world-class museums and wiry cowboys, humidity that demands an ice-cold martini and the biggest damn liquor store on the planet. How could you not love Houston?
Yeap.....That is what Kiplinger's Magazine says about Houston, naming it the Number One best place to live and work in the USA. They go on to say:
You can hardly afford not to. Back with a roar after the oil bust of the 1980s, Houston has reclaimed its title as energy capital of the U.S. and added aerospace, technology and medical companies to the mix, generating more than 100,000 jobs in 2007. Not only does the Houston metro area lead the nation in job growth, but also its cost of living stands well below the national average. Housing prices run half those of other metro areas its size.
Interestingly enough, Loren Steffy recently wrote an article in the Houston Chronicle business section titled The Lack of Zoning Has Paid Off for Houston. He said that when he first came to Houston he was shocked by the lack of zoning but since then he has become a believer. In the article he sites a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Houston branch, senior economist Bill Gilmer which found that Houston has been shielded from the USA's real estate crisis by the lack of zoning.
Gilmer's study, released earlier this year, is a reminder that the real secret ingredient in Houston's economic recipe is affordable housing, not just abundant land. Not only do our housing prices make Houston attractive for relocations, it means that residents spend less of their income on housing, so they have more to spend on other things.
"It's a big driver of our growth," Gilmer said. "There aren't a whole lot of places that can offer a big city life and affordable housing."
Just yesterday I was looking on-line at condos for sale in a high rise condo project built about 20 years ago. It is in a great location, close to shopping and all the other amenities of downtown living....even close to the two sons who live in Houston. I found this 1080 sq. ft. condo on the 26th floor for $155,000. Can you imagine finding something like this in the 5th largest city in the USA? Yes, I know it says it is a fixer-upper but how about this 1511 square feet condo for $289,000? Yes, Houston can offer big city living and affordable housing.
Whatever the reason for Houston's economy and growth, I'm glad to call it my hometown and I'm glad that I have a piece of real estate that I can go back to if I want to.