Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, we look back at the 10 biggest real estate stories in Houston for 2019 — including a big tiny home trend, Houston's hottest neighborhoods, and a midcentury waterfront marvel.
1. New tiny home development in Eastwood is a first for Houston. A cluster of tiny homes on Dumble Street in Greater Eastwood has generated quite the buzz. Refuge, one of Houston's leading developers, in conjunction with architecture firms Brett Zamore Design and Gibson Design, Inc., have created the mini-development of one- and two-bedroom homes, each between about 600 and 800 square feet, packed with amenities for modern living.
2. Legendary Houston defense attorney's sprawling Texas ranch offered at $1.2 million. Iconic Texas attorney Dick DeGuerin is selling off 40 acres of his sprawling, 120-acre ranch tucked into the gently rolling hills of Carmine, Texas (colloquially known as Burton). The parcel comes with two lakes, grassy areas, and a forest of live oak trees — the perfect escape from the big city.
3. 3 hottest Houston neighborhoods for 2019 predicted by real estate authority. For its Hottest Neighborhoods of 2019 list, real estate website Redfin featured three neighborhoods each in many of the largest metro areas in the U.S., compiled with Redfin user data and agent insights from November 2018. In Houston, Redfin spotlighted MacGregor, South Acres-Crestmont Park, and Second Ward as the hottest in the city.
4. This ritzy Houston neighborhood declared No. 2 most expensive in Texas. Afton Oaks, in the ritzy River Oaks area, has been named the second most expensive neighborhood in the state — and the most expensive in the metro — by ConstructionCoverage.com. The affluent neighborhood boasts a median home value of $1,024,600. Home values in the neighborhood jumped 3.68 percent in one year, 5.42 percent in the last five, and 3.84 percent in the last decade, the study adds.
5. This is the salary you need to afford rent in Houston right now. While many renters are burdened across the nation, in the Bayou City, the median rent price for a two-bedroom apartment clocks in at $1,026. That means a local renter here needs a gross annual income of $41,080 to afford rent without being cost-burdened, which is defined as spending more than 30 percent of gross income on rent. Apartment List breaks that down to an hourly wage of $20. Meanwhile, the estimated median household income in Houston for 2018 was $50,980, giving renters plenty cushion.
6. One of the world's largest rooftop gardens will bloom in downtown Houston. The Barbara Jordan Post Office, the massive government building nestled in the Theater District, will be transformed into a bustling, dynamic, mixed-use complex that’s meant to become the city’s new urban ecosystem. What’s sure to be a draw are the Buffalo Bayou and downtown views from Skylawn, the sprawling five-acre rooftop park and sustainable organic farm that calls to mind downtown rooftop green spaces in New York City.
7. Bustling Rice Village quietly shakes things up with major change. A major change has quietly taken place at Rice Village. Houston-based company REIS Associates, LLC now manages the property, taking over for Trademark Property Company, the Fort Worth-based firm that has overseen the property for the past five years. Perhaps the biggest change can be seen in the mix of restaurants in the development. Establishments such as Baker St. Pub, Kubo’s, Yum Yum Cha, and La Madeline have been replaced by high-profile national restaurants such as Hopdoddy and Shake Shack.
8. This is how much space you can rent for $1,500 in Houston right now. Houston rents have steadily increased in recent years, but the Bayou City still offers a pretty good bang for your buck, at least according to one recent report by PropertyClub. Renters here can get 626 square feet in Houston for $1,500, compared to only 585 square feet five years ago. Houston clocks in as the most affordable U.S. city in the report, tied with Dallas.
9. Exclusive details revealed for anticipated boutique hotel coming to The Heights. Houston hospitality veteran Ben Ackerley shared his plans for his new Heights boutique hotel exclusively with CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler. The 37-room Maison Robert will feature a pool and a bar, but it won’t have a restaurant. The area is surrounded by good choices from casual options like Torchy’s Tacos and the Rice Box to more upscale options like Alice Blue and La Lucha.
10. Legendary Galveston family's midcentury modern marvel hits market for $2 million. Nestled in the heart of Galveston Bay, the palatial residence of 1504 Driftwood Ln. checks off myriad items on a discriminating buyer’s wishlist. The waterfront home was built for larger-than-life Galveston philanthropic icon, Bill Moody, and his wife, Darlene. The couple’s home was designed by world-renowned architect O’Neil Ford, notable as the only individual to ever be designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Council on the Arts.