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Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 05:53 PM   #1
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Houston Texas anyone?

I never been there although it seems that real estate is pretty inexpensive as compared to most big cities.

Anyone know much about Houston, the prices of homes and it's pros and cons.
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 06:58 PM   #2
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

I lived in Houston for a couple of years in the mid 80's.

Yes house prices are low, but just look at those property taxes !!!! Ouch !!!!

Of course there is no state income tax so that's a consideration. I would think that tax-wise, Texas is a good place to work but not so good to retire.

I liked the people I knew in Houston quite a bit but couldn't handle that very Humid weather.

Houston has lots to do that any big city does...

This string had some posts about the Houston area on the last page of the string

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...?topic=6081.60

Did you have a specific question ?
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 07:03 PM   #3
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

There are several regular posters here who live in or near Houston. I lived there for a couple of years in the early 80's and found it very hot and miserably humid (and I'm a native of the state). My biased opinion: if air conditioning didn't exist, neither would Houston.

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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
I never been there although it seems that real estate is pretty inexpensive as compared to most big cities.

Anyone know much about Houston, the prices of homes and it's pros and cons.
Hi Gerald,

I have been living in Houston since 1991.

Yes, real estate is very reasonable.* My house is in a nice upper middle class (my definition, maybe just middle class to others) neighborhood, 2,500 sqft, 1/4 acre, 12 years old.* Its current market value is around 180K.* However, real estate tax is high, almost 6K a year.* But there's no state income tax.

The summer is pretty severe, hot and humid.* I moved from Boston, so the first few years was pretty tough.* But now, I think nothing of it.* I play tennis outdoor twice a week, all year long.

The one negative thing I noticed is size.* Houston is BIG, as in VERY BIG.* So commutes, errands tend to be longer.* My annual mileage increases by 30% compared to Boston.

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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 10:26 PM   #5
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Been here since 89.* Great city.* Took a while to get used to the size. very spread out. Seemed like I was late for everything at first, because I misjudged the time it took to get across town.*

It's the most Can-do big city I've lived in.* If you want to get involved, lots of opportunities.* Livestock Show and Rodeo is the biggest in the world I believe (everything is bigger in Texas) and all run by volunteers.

It IS Hot in the summer.* But it's a humid heat.....* * Nov - April are awsome though.* Housing is about as cheap here as anywhere in the US.* Property taxes are high.*

There are some good suburbs around Houston, where you wouldn't even need to get in to Houston that much, unless you wanted to.*

We've got all the major big city attractions.* Probably the best sports stadiums in the country.* All 3 brand new in the last ~5 years (our tax dollars at work - ).* Good golfing, year round.*

People are extremely friendly, open to outsiders (think opposite of Colorado)
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 10:31 PM   #6
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by getoutearly
Housing is about as cheap here as anywhere in the US.* Property taxes are high.*

Has there been much appreciation in home prices throughout the real estate boom of the last years?

I wonder if Houston will see prices come down now even though they are priced reasonably especially new construction.
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 11:12 PM   #7
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

We used to live in Houston in the 80's. We had fun there. Two kids born there.

The cost of air conditioning can eat you alive. I suggest living in a large apartment complex, not on the top floor, but maybe the next one down. (Not on the ground floor--mosquitos.) Other people's a/c will help cool you off. Trees are good.

Yes, Houston is a BIG town. Around 5 million people when we left--about the same as Denmark. You can't live without a car (with a/c).

I like the place. It is America in a bottle: Big, dirty, fast, hot, big, noisy, polluted, energy-intensive and ready to rock. Intellligent, ignorant, pompous, agressive, generous, thoughtless, cheap, expensive, poor and rich. It is not a particularly nice place, but it is a "can-do" city. The new Chicago, the new New York. With boots and a pick-up with a gun rack. It drives Europeans crazy. So, what's not to like?

'Course, we ain't there no mo. Not going back unless the $ is mucho bueno. Haven't had to go back yet.

Where is John Greaney? Our patron saint lives in Houston. John, give us the current lowdown!

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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 11:15 PM   #8
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
There are several regular posters here who live in or near Houston.
REW, Jarhead, Ol' Rancher, have you informed this board's fawning fans of Houston of the mission of the Texas Anti-Immigration League?

Where are all the scorpions, rattlesnakes, dust storms, & hailstones big as basketballs? *If no one tells the truth, won't everyone leave California bound for Texas?

Or are you just using Houston as a decoy dumping ground?
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-25-2006, 11:28 PM   #9
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Nords,

Is that the equivalent of the James G. Blaine Society in Oregon (that Communist state with perpetual rain, cold and wind)?

Truth: The largest cockroach in the world was claimed in Houston. (We had bigger in Florida, but Floridians don't brag.)

Traffic on the 610 loop is still murder.

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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 06:26 AM   #10
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Or are you just using Houston as a decoy dumping ground?
The 18 months I lived spent in Houston was the longest decade of my w*orking career.

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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 07:49 AM   #11
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Bingo, Nords.

Cosmopolitan Houston has all the glamour, cultural diversion, reasonable real estate anyone could want.

Plus the giant cockaroaches and scorpions hide so very well in the daytime when our fellow citizens from the north and left coast come to visit.
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 08:00 AM   #12
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Mosquitoes, anyone?*

Also, I believe that Houston's crime rate already high enough is increasing, compliments of Katrina.*
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 08:03 AM   #13
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

I have a few friends in Houston, and have gone out to visit them. I fell in love with the area, but then I also went early in the year, before it got too hot and humid! Last time was in 2002, around March.

I remember picking up a flyer for a house for sale just up the street where a friend of mine lived. Fairly new 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath Colonial on a 1/4 acre lot, 2 car garage, brick front. About the only thing it lacked compared to the typical equivalent up here in Maryland was a basement. But in Houston, I hear that's a good thing.

Anyway, the asking price was $95,000. Which is about what my 1254 square foot 1973 vintage condo appraised for around that timeframe. I'd imagine up here in Maryland, a house like that would've gone for around $250-300K at the time, and today more like $500K.

Have prices gone up much in Houston over the last 4 years? Oh yeah, I do remember being taken aback by property taxes. I forget what the taxes were on that particular house, but I also looked at some new housing down there, and I think your typical $125K or so house had a tax bill of something like $3,000.

Also, I think one reason I fell in love with the area was simply because it was so new to me. I'd never been there before, was 1500 miles away from home, so there was just something new around every corner. If I lived there, and saw the same old thing day in and day out, I'd probably get bored with it.

I did like the fact that the beach was close, though.
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 08:42 AM   #14
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Hmmmm

Sitting it the motel room 3 days after Katrina - Houston, Huntsville, Al, Pennsecola, and Arizona in general were on the discussion table.

Missouri broke the deadlock. Missoula never came up.

heh heh heh - know a few 'new residents' of greater Houston.
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 10:13 AM   #15
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald
Has there been much appreciation in home prices throughout the real estate boom of the last years?

I wonder if Houston will see prices come down now even though they are priced reasonably especially new construction.
In the two neighborhoods that I have been living in since 1991, I think the average annual appreciation rate is about 5%.* So no, there's not much appreciation.

I don't see how prices will come down in Houston.* It's already and has been for a long time one of most affordable housing market in the nation.

Sam
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 10:22 AM   #16
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
I don't see how prices will come down in Houston.* It's already and has been for a long time one of most affordable housing market in the nation.
If I remember correctly, $10 oil in the 1980s did a number on the local economy. The housing was very very affordable...
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 11:15 AM   #17
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
If I remember correctly, $10 oil in the 1980s did a number on the local economy.* The housing was very very affordable...
Very true, Nords.* But before that (around 1985, I think), Houston was not considered highly affordable.* I knew several people who moved from Boston to Houston in the late 70s and early 80s to join the oil boom.* They made a lot more money, but also paid much more for housing.* Incidentally, Boston was quite affordable then.

But you have a point.* My statement should be revised:

"I don't see how prices will come down in Houston.* It's already and has been for about 20 years one of most affordable housing market in the nation."

Sam
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 11:25 AM   #18
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
But you have a point.*
No criticism intended, every housing market has an Achilles heel. Hawaii was shooting for the moon & stars in 1990 but stopped dead in its tracks when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Nothing from that war affected the Hawaii economy. Yet no one could have predicted that a third-world invasion would stop the Japanese from spending money like drunken sailors.

Today the Hawaii realtors are screaming "Buy!" on the presumption that prices have hit a plateau. (Some of these realtors presumably had their licenses 16 years ago but maybe I'm giving them too much credit.) No one admits to even the slightest possibility that prices could retrench 10-20%-- only a pause before going up again. We just smile and watch the interest-only ARM rates rising...
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?
Old 04-26-2006, 12:24 PM   #19
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

I live in Fort Bend County, outside of Houston, but only 15 miles from the the Medical Center and Gallaria area and about 22 miles from downtown.

I've lived here since 2000 and have lived in various major metropolitan areas throughout my career - base being in the Northeast.

At first the summer heat and humidity really hits one but I do believe the body acclimates quickly.* I could now never move back to to cold climate.

The real estate taxes are high but the rate seems no higher than what we paid in the Hudson Valley of NY and there are no income taxes here.* The other thing is that school taxes are frozen at age 65 in this county.

Crime has definitely increased since the influx from Hurricane Katrina but the crime statistics in the suburbs don't seem any worse than most major metro areas.

Since I retired, I almost never go into the city.* The suburbs are so well developed that there really doesn't seem to be any reason to do so.* Galveston beaches are about 50 miles away - an easy drive.

The people are definitely the most open friendly and diverse that I have encountered.* Another surprise to someone from the Northeast is the fact that* you rarely hear a car horn.* The drivers are politely aggressive.

One more postive note to living in TX is that there is a health risk pool.* I just maxed out on COBRA, was rejected by private insurance (healthy but that doesn't mean anything - they will use any little thing to reject you at 60) but I do have the risk pool for coverage for the next several years.
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Old 04-26-2006, 12:33 PM   #20
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Re: Houston Texas anyone?

We lived in Houston for a while and really hated to have to move. We made such good friends there. Plus there are so many great restaurants! But last year, when we had the chance to choose where to live we did not choose it.
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