Reprinted from the December 16th Houston Business Journal.
The extension of the Grand Parkway and Houston’s job growth will impact Houston real estate trends the most in 2014, according to experts at the BoyarMiller Real Estate forum, held in Houston.
“The Grand Parkway is a game-changer and the Katy area is now the fastest growing community in the United States,” said Jay Sears, managing partner of NewQuest Properties. “New development in that community is driving retail with grocers leading the way. We are seeing new grocers coming to the market and some that are moving to the suburbs for the first time.”
Katy recently attracted Maryland insurance giant Geico, which set up a 135,00-square-foot office near the Grand Parkway at 21420 Merchants Way.
The Grand Parkway will run from I-10 in Katy to U.S. Highway 290 to U.S. 59 North. The stretch between I-10 and 290 is expected to open by Dec. 21. A 38-mile stretch began construction July 2013.
Other issues highlighted at the meeting included:
Houston continues to have strong growth in the west with high concentration north of I-10, as well as expansion in and around the Port of Houston, according to the panel.
Jobs are driving home demand
“Since 2009, the city has been absorbing more lots than we are delivering with a 10,000 lot gap every year,” said Holder. “That activity is coming from job demand, which drives home sales; not low interest rates. Three jobs equate to one new house start.”
Retail follows residential
The retail sector is struggling to keep up with growth in the city and experiencing low vacancy and default rates. There are about 15 new shopping centers planned or underway in Houston, Sears said.
Office space leased in advance
There are 11.5 million square feet of office space under construction in Houston and 74 percent of it is pre-leased.
“Driven by the energy sector where one direct energy job produces four other jobs, the office landscape is changing to a campus style that addresses both the type of work being done and the generational changes of the workforce,” Brinsden said.