Lots of interesting items this week:
- For some reason Southwest Airlines buried a big increase in Hobby Airport nonstop destinations in their latest press release – now actually *more* than before the pandemic!
- Houston to be home to the largest academic psychiatric hospital in the country: A win for the Texas Medical Center, a win for Houston, and (hopefully) a win for reducing Houston’s mentally ill homeless population.
- Reasonably fair assessment putting Houston and Miami in the next two slots of America’s global cities behind NYC, LA, and SF (but why is energy independence bad for us? It’s great!). We’re still the most affordable global city in America. Dallas not even mentioned… 😉
- Cities Investing the Most in New Housing: Texas Triangle dominates. Houston #5 on a relative-to-population basis (Austin #1), but #1 in total volume, #2 in total value (behind DFW), and #2 most affordable housing (behind San Antonio).
- Kinder: Can Texas afford to lose its housing affordability advantage? An item from a few months ago I forgot to get to. Overall pretty interesting, but I do have some nitpicks:
- Any state high in migrants is also going to have a higher renter percentage
- A fixed $800 rent price point will naturally have units decline under it over time just due to natural inflation
- Our cost ratios are just matching the US as a whole
But mainly I expect everything to (eventually) get more affordable under covid (see previous item). It will certainly free up a lot of workers from service industries for construction, which has been a major issue for builders. And people being free from commutes reduces price premium of close-in properties and opens up exurban ones.
- America’s Future Cities: The Most Affordable Metros That People Have Been Flocking To In Recent Years. Although we’re #12 in growth rate, we’re #2 in absolute growth numbers (behind DFW), and still adding twice as many people as Austin every year.
#12. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
3-year population growth (percent): 5.11%
3-year population growth (total): 340,438
Cost of living (compared to national average): +1.8%
Median home price: $221,426
Average 2-bedroom rent: $1,096 per month
Finally, ending on a humorous note, Dilbert takes on development over-regulation and corruption! I’m sure many developers are familiar with the ‘false hope phase’, at least outside of Houston!
This piece first appeared on Houston Strategies Blogspot.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.