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This under-the-radar Houston neighborhood has it all, real estate experts say

This under-the-radar Houston neighborhood has it all, experts say

Houston real estate townhome Independence Heights
Independence Heights has real value for first-time buyers, says a real estate expert.  Photo courtesy of HAR

Prospective homebuyers in search of a neighborhood that "has it all" have a strong option in Houston's Independence Heights. That's according to Redfin's 2018 list of the 25 neighborhoods in the U.S. that have everything a buyer wants: affordable homes, lots of inventory, good schools, an easy commute, and relatively low crime.

To determine the rankings, the real estate website's analysts looked at ZIP codes with a median home sale price below $291,700 (the national median) and selected those with homes on the market for at least 46 days. Redfin required a GreatSchools rating of 5 or higher and a transit score of 50 or more, and the ranking "favored places with lower reported violent crime."

Houston's Independence Heights ranks No. 13. The area, located near The Heights and Garden Oaks/Oak Forest, has a median sales price of only $137,000, and homes are on the market a median of 69 days, according to Redfin. The under-the-radar neighborhood also boasts a school ranking of 5.667, transit score of 50.5, and crime rate of 61 (the lowest among the Texas neighborhoods on the list).

"When you mention Independence Heights, most people don't know the area," says Bryan Beene, a realtor with John Daugherty Realtors. "But when you give them the parameters of the neighborhood, they say, 'oh yes.' And when you drive over there, you see that people clearly do know the area. There is so much new construction going on, the streets have been repaired or are in good shape, and there’s infrastructure. But for whatever reason, it's just not as talked about. But it's high time people consider Independence Heights."

Beene says Independence Heights is especially attractive to millennial homebuyers. "There is character and charm, it's a historic district, and it's a neighborhood that feels like a neighborhood — they're not buying a townhome in sea of townhomes." The added value that Independence Heights offers is also key to young buyers. "They can buy a home that they can comfortably afford and still aspire to the lifestyle they want," Beene says. 

He compares the value to that of another neighborhood that was once little-known and is now red-hot. "Independence Heights reminds me of Rice Military, back in 2008," he says. "And like Rice Military, Independence Heights will be a very strong value in five to 10 years."

Independence Heights isn't the only Texas neighborhood that "has it all," according to the study. Also on the list are San Antonio's Lafayette Place (No. 19), Dallas' Cadillac Heights (No. 21), and Fort Worth's 76102 ZIP code (No. 23). All that's missing is a hip Austin 'hood.

While Texas fares well, Illinois shines with 14 neighborhoods on the list — 11 in the Chicago area alone.