As Houston further develops into a world-class city, and its communities thrive and propagate at record pace, there’s a word that goes hand-in-hand with the boom: gentrification.
The influx of highly educated, well-heeled residents into traditionally more humble communities is nothing new. Just last year, talk in Houston centered around gentrification, and how to create revitalization, not displacement. Now, a national study names two Houston ZIP codes in the top 20 most gentrified since the turn of the century.
The ZIP codes of 77003 (East Downtown) and 77007 (primarily Rice Military, Memorial Heights, and parts of Washington Corridor) rank Nos. 3 and 19, respectively, in a survey conducted by RentCafe.
In a dramatic display of demographic shift, the report states that in 2000, the number of residents with a bachelor degree or higher in 77003 was 425. As of 2016, that number jumped to 2,308 — a 442.6 percent rise. In 2000, the median home price was $62,554; in 2016, the average home was valued at $240,317 — a price jump of 284 percent.
Meanwhile, though 77007 ranked No. 19 in overall gentrification metrics, it stands out as the only ZIP code in the top 20 with a median household income above $100,000 per year. Analysts noted that what landed the area on this list is the fact that just a decade and a half ago, the median income of the area was less than half of the current sum. In 2000, the average median income in 77007 was $55,483, while in 2016, the average income jumped to $118,601 — a 114 percent increase. The 77007 ZIP code has seen a 107 percent home value change between 2000 and 2016 and a 188 percent increase in higher education.
Josie Lin, a Houston realtor who deals heavily in both areas, isn’t surprised by the report. “EaDo — 77003 — connects to downtown, the Medical Center, and the Ship Channel, and the light rail is close by, so it’s perfect for students and young and established professionals.” Lin calls 77003 a “good buying and renting opportunity,” and notes that the only negatives are that the area is different “block by block” and “there is still a concern about crime.”
Not so with 77007, says Lin. “That area is a different clientele — more mature professionals and quite a few ex-pats who prefer being close to Memorial Park.” Lin notes that there is “no way to stop the appreciation in 77007. The rent is higher — almost twice of what you see in EaDo. You get a bit of the suburbs and urban living. It’s a very neighborhood feel.”
Rent Cafe’s analysts took to the 2000 Census and the 2016 American Community Survey and looked at the changes that took place over a decade-and-a-half in 11,000 U.S. ZIP codes. The study ranked them on all three scales and created an average ranking to determine which areas experienced gentrification from 2000 to 2016. Only those that had more than 2000 occupied housing units in the year 2000 as well as in 2016 were included.
Houston isn't the only Texas city to land on the list. The RentCafe report ranks Fort Worth's 76102 ZIP code (downtown) as No. 6 on the list, with a 323 percent increase in home value, 103 percent increase in household income, and 122 percent increase in higher education.
East Austin's 78702 ZIP code ranks No. 13. It has seen a 212 percent increase in home value, 47 percent increase in household income, and 201 percent increase in higher education.