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Houston's booming economy also causing growing pains for some

It's no surprise Houston has been experiencing a boom. But the uptick in jobs and home sales is coming at a price
November 13, 2013 4:35:52 PM PST
The Bayou City continues to grow and with more and more jobs coming in. But what's the cost for those who already call Houston home?

Lisa Wolpers and her husband are now empty nesters and ready for the next phase of their lives.

"It gave us the opportunity to go seek out what our future dream is, which is living on an island," Wolpers said.

When they put their suburban Cypress home on the market on a Thursday afternoon, they were surprised.

"On that Friday we had like eight showings scheduled. We had three full-price offerings by the end of the day," Wolpers said.

The Houston Association of Realtors says the Wolpers are not alone.

"All I can say is if you're ready to sell your house, get ready to move," said Danny Frank, chairman of the Houston Association of Realtors.

This summer, Houston saw historic jumps in value with the median price of a single-family home up 12.8 percent to $186,200.

"Houston is probably one of the biggest, strongest markets in real estate in the country," Frank said.

And commercial real estate is tailing that trend. Inside The Loop, dozens of older buildings are coming down and cranes temporarily filling the view in the sky.

"The rental rates are screaming through the roof and there's just not much to be had," Frank said.

The driver behind it all is jobs.

"The heartbeat of the city really feels alive now," said Dan Bellow, president of Jones Lange Lasalle.

Since the bottom of the recession, the metro area has added 309,100 jobs, or 201.9 percent, of the jobs lost during the recession.

"We're a more diverse economy, we do more things here, we manufacture, we engineer and design, we construct, we extract," Bellow said.

Forbes recently named Houston America's next great global city.

"Young professionals are moving here from all over the country. It's not just an economic story anymore it's a story about a remarkable transformation in the eyes of the major national media," said Bob Harvey, the Greater Houston Partnership.

But Houston consumers will have to deal with this growth.

"It's going to cost us something," Bellow said.

And that's reflected here in a Westheimer Road restaurant window, where Houston's growing pains were felt firsthand for Alexandra Rodriguez.

"They wanted to go up $2,000-$4,000 up in rent," Rodriguez said. "We shut the doors due to increase of the rent."

After 40 years in business, raising prices on Doneraki's Restaurant customers wasn't an option for them, so they consolidated to their Gulfgate location, and sales have gone up.

So how long will this last?

"That's the $64 million question but I don't see it slowing down any time soon," Frank said.

As the Wolpers depart Houston for their new island life, they leave some advice.

"If you see a house you like you need to immediately make an offer," Wolpers said.

Find Christine on Facebook at ABC13ChristineDobbyn or on Twitter at @christinedobbyn

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