Housing revolution underway in Houston


Bob and Cindy Hunter have been married for 27 years. With a grown daughter now out of college, they decided to make a change in their living situation. The homeowners of almost 30 years are now paying rent and call an apartment on the west side home.

So do they miss home ownership?

"No, don't miss cutting the grass," Bob said.

"We don't have to maintain the pool either," Cindy added jokingly.

The two are part of a growing trend Mack Armstrong says the Houston Apartment Association is seeing in tenants.

"It's not just 20-somethings anymore," he said.

The Hunter's have their reasons.

"Right now there is not a lot of inflation, so unless you plan on living in a home for 10 or 20 years you can get in pretty easily but getting out becomes more difficult," Bob said.

And as tenants are evolving so are the properties, with a growing list of amenities. And as potential renters are looking at their options they will have even more choices.

"The improvement in the economy has really had it's effect in Houston," Armstrong said.

Houston is projected to see a job growth of about 80,000 next year. Armstrong says 11,000 new apartments will reflect that. More than half are inside The Loop, with the west side of town seeing the most construction.

"So a belief in Houston is really the city is not overdeveloped, when it comes to apartments. It's actually underdemolished," Armstrong said.

Some developers are looking at existing properties for their next project.

An old Fiesta store at West Alabama and Dunlavy will soon be leveled for a new complex that could be as high as eight stories. And a fence surrounds part of a block at Bissonnet and Dincans, where old apartments have been leveled to make way for new ones.

Other projects are farther along. Framing is in place at The District off Greenbriar near Highway 59; brick is being laid at Hanover Rice Village, and Archstone Toscano is pre-leasing for 2013.

As the Hunters enjoy their empty nest years, they believe more people will follow in their footsteps.

"This will be the trend for the future, the baby boomers are aging," Bob said.

There are more than 40 communities under construction. The Houston Apartment Association says it does not see this trend changing anytime soon. They expect steady growth even through the year 2014.

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