Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Houston has long been home to some of the luxurious and expensive homes in the country, drawing in power players like billionaires to former professional football megastars.

From high-profile to under-the-radar, many wealthy residents favor upscale neighborhoods like Tanglewood, River Oaks, and Memorial Villages, while others seek residence in suburbs like The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Katy, and Conroe.

With that in mind, HAR recently shared its rundown of the 10 big-budget, grandiose Houston homes that were the most expensive inventory sold in the month of July. Brand-new builds and well-kept renovated estates are among the list of astonishing abodes, ranging from a Mediterranean mansion to a mid-1960s palazzo.

1. 1923 Olympia Drive, River Oaks
List price: $5.6 million; sell price range: $5.08 million to $5.86 million

1923 Olympia Drive, River Oaks, HoustonThe private backyard at 1923 Olympia Dr. in River Oaks is a perfect little retreat.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Much like past reports, the most expensive home sold in Houston last month is nestled in one of the city's most prestigious and old-guard neighborhoods. This opulent two-story manor at 1923 Olympia Dr. underwent an extensive facelift in 2021 to bring it to its current modern style. The builders adding a new roof, a new kitchen, and more.

The manor spans just under 7,400 square feet across four bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and two half baths. Other wonderful features of the home include backlit floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a private study,, a second-floor balcony that lines the back of the house, and a pool.

2. 5328 Cherokee Street, Rice/Museum District
List price: $5.4 million; sell price range: $4.42 million to $5.08 million

1923 Olympia Drive, River Oaks, Houston

Photo courtesy of HAR.com

No. 1: 1923 Olympia Dr. in River Oaks.

5328 Cherokee Street, Rice/Museum District, Houston5328 Cherokee St. in the Rice/Museum District is a minimalistic haven.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Though this new-construction home may look unassumingly modern from the outside, the inside is a minimalist's paradise. The builders drew their inspiration from Belgian interior design, complete with wall-to-wall 60-foot sliding steel doors that eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the day. The 6,949 square foot, two-story haven is complete with five bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and two half baths.

5328 Cherokee Street is located on a 10,605 square foot lot just a single block from Rice University, making the tree-lined area one of the most sought-after streets in the area.

3. 10914 Bridgewood Street, Memorial Villages
List price: $5.23 million; sell price range: $4.42 million to $5.08 million

10914 Bridgewood Street, Memorial Villages, HoustonNo. 3: 10914 Bridgewood St. in Memorial Villages.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Sitting on a half-acre wooded lot in Hunter's Creek is 10914 Bridgewood Street, a newly built French-traditional home with six bedrooms, three full baths, and three half baths. This family-focused home features a large breakfast room for morning gatherings, and a study suitable for any office work or schoolwork. The chef's kitchen is equipped with high-end appliances, an oversized island, and multiple pantries.

4. 18740 Palm Beach Boulevard, Lake Conroe
List price: $5.2 million; sell price range: $4.42 million to $5.08 million

18740 Palm Beach Boulevard, Lake ConroeAn exterior view of 18740 Palm Beach Blvd. in Lake Conroe.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

This Conroe home will have guests feeling like they're on a vacation. The design is a mix of European and modern styles, with plenty of room to personalize. Some incredible interior features of the home include eight bedrooms, six full bathrooms, a modern kitchen with a Thermador gas range, a spiral staircase, leading to the outdoor kitchen, and more.

Sitting on the largest lot out of all homes on the list, 18740 Palm Beach Boulevard about 4.64 acres. It backs up to Lake Conroe, providing constant views of the beautiful oasis. Guests can explore the lake by using one of the three lifts on the private boat dock, or park their vessel at the guest boat dock. If outdoor waterfront exploration isn't the order of the day, guests can choose to relax by the pool or hot tub just steps away from the back patio.

5.773 Pifer Road, Memorial Villages
List price: $4.99 million; sell price range: $4.42 million to $5.08 million

773 Pifer Road, Memorial Villages, HoustonThe owners of 773 Pifer Road will be the talk of Memorial Villages with this custom wine wall.

A resplendent, new construction home at 773 Pifer Road in prestigious Hunter's Creek is the height of luxury without being overly dramatic. It sits on a little less than half an acre of land, while the home spans 7,500 square feet. Construction was set for completion at the end of June, making this home the newest on the list.

The inside of the home gives a peek at the deluxe finishes, such as a gourmet chef's kitchen with Subzero and Wolf appliances, an accompanying wet bar, and a custom-designed wine wall intended to be the center of attention in the formal dining room. But photos keep the remaining secrets of the home a secret – the design of the six bathrooms, five full baths, and two half baths.

6. 2530 Stanmore Drive, River Oaks
List price: $4.5 million; sell price range: $4.42 million to $5.08 million

2530 Stanmore Drive, River Oaks, HoustonNo. 6: 2530 Stanmore Dr. in River Oaks.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

2530 Stanmore Drive is an ode to Long Island homes from the 1920s, but with modern updates from the current century. Described as a "Cape Cod" contemporary, this stately home boasts a striking white interior with black, gold, and mahogany wood accents.

Every bedroom comes with its own en-suite bathroom, and there are two additional half-baths elsewhere in the house. Guests can take advantage of the game room, or lounge on the patio with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, and there's even room for a pool if the owners choose to install one.

7. 6062 Riverview Way, Tanglewood
List price: $4.43 million; sell price range: $3.83 million to $4.41 million

6062 Riverview Way, Tanglewood, HoustonNo. 7: 6062 Riverview Way in Tanglewood.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

This English traditional mansion in at 6062 Riverview Way in Tanglewood is the definition of elegance. Spreading across 7,197 square feet on a .4 acre lot, this home features several stylish amenities like a gourmet kitchen with a butler bar, four to five bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a game room, an outdoor kitchen overlooking the back yard and pool, and more.

For any extra guests that arrive in Houston for a getaway, they can stay in the 593-square-foot guest quarters above the three-story garage. And with the home's close proximity to the Houston Country Club and other upscale businesses around Tanglewood, there's no shortage of activities in the area.

8. 55 Hollymead Drive, The Woodlands
List price: $4.4 million; sell price range: $3.83 million to $4.41 million

55 Hollymead Drive, The WoodlandsNatural light floods the inside of 55 Hollymead Dr. in The Woodlands.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Demand in and outside the Greater Houston area has been on the rise throughout the years as more residents look for a more suburban lifestyle, and The Woodlands is no exception. This home at 55 Hollymead Drive is a newly built home residing in the Village of Cochran's Crossing.

Featuring five to six bedrooms (as the listing says), six full baths, three half baths, this lavish home is a dream for any owner who prefers a laid-back, relaxed modern style that isn't ostentatious. Guests will surely be enamored by all of the natural light provided by this home, along with the calming neutral tones and high-end finishes throughout the interior.

9. 5835 Indian Trail, Tanglewood
List price: $4.2 million; sell price range: $3.83 million to $4.41 million

5835 Indian Trail, Tanglewood, HoustonNo. 9: 5835 Indian Trail in Tanglewood.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

This two-story Tanglewood home boasts a magnificent Mediterranean architecture style on a 30,302 square foot lot. With a full-house generator already installed, this six bedroom, seven bath, and three half bath home is perfect for those who like to be prepared for any adverse weather conditions.

But in the bright summer months where that's less of a concern, the owners can imagine they're living at a resort while enjoying a dip in the luxurious pool and catching the beautiful backyard views.

Adding to its prestigious appeal, 5835 Indian Trail also backs up to the Houston Country Club for the ultimate recreational convenience.

10. 700 Pine Shadows Drive, Tanglewood
List price: $3.99 million; sell price range: $3.83 million to $4.41 million

700 Pine Shadows Drive, Tanglewood, HoustonRounding out the top 10 is 700 Pine Shadows Dr. in Tanglewood.Photo courtesy of HAR.com

Our final dwelling might be the oldest one on the list, but it still retains a significant history. This home at 700 Pine Shadows Drive was built in 1965 on a 1.06 acre lot, spanning about 7,000 square feet among five bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and two half baths.

Traditional architecture anchors the home to the sophisticated Tanglewood neighborhood, with an abundance of timeless charm to wow guests and neighbors.

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Houston's 'livable forest' neighbor tops Heights as hottest neighborhood on the market in 2023

hottest 'hoods

The best place to buy a house is not always in the most sought-after neighborhood. So where are current and future residents looking to own? Luckily for Houston homebuyers, we have names of the most and least popular neighborhoods in the region.

The master-planned neighborhood of Kingwood is the most popular neighborhood in the city, according to a new study by indoor air quality experts HouseFresh. The study looked at daily views on home listings in 100 of the most populous American cities on Zillow, as well as the number of days a home was listed on the market.

Kingwood is known for its heavily forested land, parks, and community centers, which allowed for the conceptualization of its “Livable Forest” nickname. The neighborhood is so large, spanning over 14,000 acres, that it's split up further into smaller "villages." Active home listings in the area received over 12,600 views per day on Zillow.

Other popular neighborhoods in the city include:

  • No. 2 – Greater Heights
  • No. 3 – Greater Uptown Houston
  • No. 4 – Washington Avenue Coalition - Memorial Park
  • No. 5 – Alief

In the running for the least popular neighborhood in Houston, with only 49 views per day on Zillow, are homes in the inconspicuously named Pecan Park community. Potential buyers avoid this area since a majority of the homes are rentals, which is a stark contrast to the 75 percent of Kingswood residents who own their properties.

Though the name suggests there would be ample green space in the area, Pecan Park is bordered by two interstate highways, I-610 and I-45, which doesn’t leave much room for greenery. The 16-acre Ingrando Park is the only park in the area.

The top five least popular Houston neighborhoods are:

  • No. 1 – Pecan Park
  • No. 2 – Kashmere Gardens
  • No. 3 – Clinton Park Tri-Community
  • No. 4 – Denver Harbor - Port Houston
  • No. 5 – IAH - Airport Area

It should be no surprise that IAH - Airport Area also earned a spot on the top five least popular neighborhoods. In addition to noise pollution concerns, the study found that available homes on Zillow in IAH only received 210 daily views.

The full report can be found on housefresh.com.

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Texas remains a hot spot for international homebuyers, shows new report

Red-hot housing

International homebuyers seeking an abode in the U.S. still have their sights set on Texas, according to a new report.

The Texas International Homebuyers Report, released this month by Texas Realtors, shows that Texas remains the third hottest U.S. destination for international homebuyers.

The Lone Star State comes in behind Florida and California, just like in years past.

From April 2021-March 2022, 7,888 Texas homes were purchased by buyers from outside the U.S., accounting for 8 percent of the country's international home purchases. No. 1 Florida, meanwhile, accounted for 24 percent of purchases, with No. 2 California at 11 percent.

In total, 98,600 U.S. homes were sold to international buyers during the time period, to the tune of $59 billion. This year's report does not include total sales dollars for the Texas purchases.

“Texas remains one of the most desirable destinations for people looking to purchase a home in the United States,” said Russell Berry, chairman of Texas Realtors, in a release.

“The region of origin for homebuyers choosing Texas had a noticeable swing this reporting period. Historically, the largest number of homebuyers purchasing in Texas from outside of the United States are from the Latin America and Caribbean region. While that is still true, European homebuyers nearly closed the gap this past year.”

Thirty-one percent of Texas' international buyers were from Latin America/Caribbean, with 27 percent from Europe, 21 percent from Asia/Oceana, and 11 percent from Africa.

Texas also holds onto its status as a hot market for international commercial real estate transactions. According to the 2022 Commercial Real Estate International Business Trends from the National Association of Realtors, Texas accounted for 14 percent of international commercial buyers in 2021, second only to Florida's 22 percent.

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Alex Bregman drops Breggy Bomb and epic blast as Astros clinch 6th Al West title

count it

In what’s now becoming an H-Town fall rite of passage, the Houston Astros have just clinched their sixth American League West Division title in the past seven seasons on Sunday, October 1. The Stros cemented the title with a big, 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

Also keeping things official: On Sunday, the Seattle Mariners bested the Texas Rangers 1-0, ensuring the Astros’ top-line status.

Superstar Alex Bregman, who is quickly rising to legend status in Houston, handed the D-Backs a Breggy Bomb, and handed fans a bomb line that may just become this year’s Astros rally:

“A lot of people were wondering what it was gonna be like if the Stros didn’t win the division,” Bregman told his teammates in the clubhouse after the win, goggles on and Dom Pérignon in hand in a video captured by KPRC Channel 2 sports reporter Ari Alexander.

And then: “I guess we’ll never know.” Amazing.

The Astros clubhouse exploded in yells and sprays of Champagne as the normally steely eyed, understated Bregman (who is becoming a quiet comedy star via recent H-E-B commercials) hopped up and down with his guys.

Sunday’s win marks 12 division titles, 17 playoff berths in franchise history, and a franchise record seventh consecutive season heading to the playoffs in a row (2017-2023). The Astros have also won the AL West the last three consecutive seasons (2017-19, 2021-23) in six overall division titles.

As for the manager Dusty Baker, who’s been the topic of debate among talking heads and fans, this win marks his fourth consecutive postseason bids with the Astrios. Baker is now the first manager in MLB history to win division titles with five different clubs (Astros, Nationals, Reds, Cubs, and Giants), with 10 division titles under his belt.

He also boasts a promising 28-14 record in the postseason with the Astros, good news as the team looks ahead.

Nailing six straight ALCS titles (2017-2022) is a historic feat for our Houston Astros, the first American League team to do so. Only the 1991-99 Atlanta Braves, during a dominant sweep, accomplished such a feat in Major League Baseball.

It’s never too early in Houston to talk World Series, so a quick reminder that the Stros have headed to the championships four of the last six seasons (2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022). We all remember the unforgettable World Series titles in ’17, our first, and ’22, our most recent.

To celebrate the next run, fans can head to the Astros Center Field Team Store, which will remain open for a 24-hour event from Sunday, October 1 through 7 pm Monday, October 2. Fans can stock up on gear and look forward to visits from the Shooting Stars (10 am – 11 am and 5 pm – 6 pm) and Orbit (noon – 1 pm). Monday shoppers can score free coffee and pastries as they grab gear.

Meanwhile, the Center Field Team Store will have expanded Postseason hours beginning this week and running until the conclusion of the postseason: 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am – 2 pm on Saturdays.

Charming Houston town's top rank in nation for families leads week's hottest headlines

this week's hot headlines

Editor's note: It's time to recap the top stories on CultureMap from this past week.

1. Charming Houston community named No. 12 most family-friendly U.S. city. The "Family-Friendly Cities" list focuses on local communities that offer plenty of recreational outdoor activities.

2. Houston's favorite outdoor concert venue ranks No. 1 in the world in new list. The venue had more million-dollar box office grosses this year than ever.

3. Where to eat in Houston right now: 9 best new restaurants proving our pizza town cred. The new arrivals enhance Houston's dynamic pizza scene.

4.Beyoncé reigns supreme with Megan Thee Stallion cameo in jaw-dropping Houston Renaissance Tour opening night. Our review recaps Beyoncé's breathtaking homecoming celebration, from jaw-dropping visuals, to Megan's surprise appearance.

5.Countdown to Beyoncé: Parking, closures, rideshares, and more for NRG Stadium. We mapped all the ways to get to NRG Stadium for last weekend's epic shows.

Rock icon Bono's daughter makes her own sweet music in Flora and Son

in bloom

The new Apple TV+ film Flora and Son centers on a single mother and her teenage son, a situation that typically calls for an uplifting story about the mother’s struggles trying to support the two of them, and the bond that develops between them as go through the troubles together. While that element exists somewhat here, it goes down a much different path that’s both saltier and equally as rewarding.

Eve Hewson and Oren Kinlan in Flora and Son

Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Eve Hewson and Oren Kinlan in Flora and Son.

Set in Dublin, Ireland, the film follows Flora (Eve Hewson), a single mom to Max (Oren Kinlan), who gets in a fair bit of trouble. She shares custody with her ex, Ian (Jack Reynor), and their antagonistic relationship, along with Max being a teenager, likely has an effect on how Flora and Max get along. A typical interchange between mother and son has them calling each other all sorts of bad names, although there rarely seems to be any true animosity behind their arguments.

When a guitar Flora refurbishes for Max goes unappreciated, she instead starts taking online lessons herself with an American named Jeff (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). She’s no less brash with him, but her sincere interest in learning how to play and in finding out more about Jeff’s music opens a new door for Flora. Soon, a discovery that Max is making music of his own on his laptop helps them communicate better than they have in a long time.

Flora & Son is the latest music-focused film from writer/director John Carney (Once, Sing Street), and he once again finds the sweet spot in telling a personal story enhanced by song. Flora has more than a few rough edges, making her a less-than-ideal protagonist, but the heart of the character shines through precisely because she has no filter. Once music is added to the equation, it become that much easier to see the type of person she is and why you should root for her.

Both Hewson and Gordon-Levitt are charming actors, so they establish a connection through a screen well. Fortunately, though, Carney chooses not to leave it at that, adding a slight fantasy element to some of their scenes by having Flora imagine Jeff in the room with her. A romantic element naturally arises, but it’s the unexpected way in which two lonely souls find each other from across the world that makes them the most interesting.

There are a couple of decent songs that come out of the process of all of the music-making, but nothing that you could truly call an earworm. Instead, it’s the feeling you get seeing the characters interact when they’re sharing music with each other that makes the film sing. Only one character could be classified as a professional musician, with the rest of them making music for the pure joy of it, an emotion Carney translates well in his storytelling.

Hewson (the daughter of U2’s Bono, in case you were unaware) is having a moment after 15 years in the business. She has a boldness that serves her as well in this role as it did in the recent Apple TV+ limited series, Bad Sisters. This is Kinlan’s first major part, and he acquits himself well. Both Gordon-Levitt and Reynor are seasoned actors who know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

The depiction of a mother/child relationship in Flora and Son is atypical, but it still winds up in a great spot thanks to the power of music and some fine performances. Carney’s love for both songs and filmmaking has yielded some memorable movies over the years, this one included.


Flora and Son opens in select theaters and on Apple TV+ on September 29.