top stories of 2021

Houston's top real estate stories of 2021 open doors to posh palaces and game-changing developments

Houston's top real estate stories of 2021 open doors to posh palaces

1 Mott Lane Mario Elie Gina Gaston Piney Point
The house at 1 Mott Lane led the year's most popular real estate stories. Photo courtesy of Bernstein Realty

As a city on a swamp founded by speculators, following the latest real estate transactions is part of Houston's civic DNA. After a relatively quiet 2020, this year provided plenty of fireworks.

Whether it's a star athlete's home hitting the market or the latest game changing mixed-use development, readers couldn't resist diving in to all the juicy details. In a year when low interest rates prompted many people to sign mortgages, our series for first-time homebuyers also drew plenty of eyeballs.

Elsewhere, we took civic pride in our fast-growing suburbs and marveled at one of River Oaks' most exclusive mansions. Let's not forget Shipley Do-Nuts' plans to bring a high-style drive-thru to the growing East End.

Without further ado, here are the 10 most popular real estate stories of the year:

1. Houston super couple's Piney Point home rockets onto market for $3 million. Rockets legend Mario Elie and TV anchor Gina Gaston's palatial home offered six bedrooms, posh formals, an island kitchen that opens to a breakfast room, a den and wet bar, and a wood-paneled study. 

2. Former Houston Texans star tosses his Memorial mansion onto market for $8.45 million. Boasting some 1.42 total acres and 13,000 feet of living space, the five bedroom home features dramatic staircases, vaulted ceilings, and exposed, beamed ceilings.

3. Massive new master planned community breaks ground in Houston's west side. When completed, the development will consist of 7,000 homesites that will eventually house an estimated 26,000 residents.

4. Houston suburb raises the roof with one of biggest housing booms in the nation. Fort Bend County grew 41 percent (80,880 new housing units) over the past decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

5. 6 affordable Houston neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers in 2021. A local expert shared his picks for affordable neighborhoods that fit first-time buyers.

6. Luxurious new waterfront development sails into Galveston's hottest island. Expect 70 luxurious two-, three-, and four-bedroom condominium homes, ranging from 1,200 to more than 3,000 square feet, along with plenty of posh amenities.

7. Royal River Oaks palace built for Saudi prince dazzles market at $18 million. The listing agent described the three-story, 10 bedroom home as follows: "an extremely rare opportunity in the heart of River Oaks, and something that really can not be replicated with this quality of materials."

8. Houston's favorite doughnut shop rolls out sweet new headquarters in familiar space. The building will also be home to a flagship doughnut shop with an interior drive-thru that will provide customers with a behind-the-scene's look at the facility's operations.

9. Fort Bend paves the way for more residential and retail with massive new development. Overall, the three phases cover approximately 180 acres and 1 million square feet, which positions Fort Bend Town Square as a top shopping destination in Missouri City. 

10. Game-changing waterfront mixed-use development flows into East Downtown. By the numbers, East River will encompass 1 million square feet of new construction extending 60 city blocks and take 20 years to complete.