built up

Houston area sees more new apartments than almost any other city

Houston will end this decade with 114,100 new apartments having been built in the last 10 years. Photo courtesy of Dolce Midtown Apartments

You might call this the Decade of the Renter in Houston. New data shows H-Town ranks third in the U.S. for most new apartments from 2010 through 2019.

In a housing review of the 2010s published December 16, apartment website RentCafé estimates Houston will end this decade with 114,100 new apartments having been built during the 10-year span.

Houston is eclipsed by only two markets: DFW, with an estimated 149,000 new apartments, and New York City, with an estimated 125,100 new apartments added during this decade. In the rankings, Houston is followed by Washington, D.C. (113,300) and Los Angeles (98,000).

Two other Texas metros made the top 20:

  • Austin, claiming the No. 8 spot with 75,400 new apartments.
  • San Antonio, grabbing the No. 13 spot with 47,700 new apartments.

All told, the four major metro areas in Texas have added 386,200 new apartments from 2010 through 2019, RentCafé data shows. At the same time, their populations have exploded.

From April 2010 to July 2018, the DFW metro area's population soared by more than 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Houston nipped on DFW's heels from 2010 to 2018, adding almost 1.08 million residents, the Census Bureau says.

During the same period, comparatively rapid growth occurred in the Austin metro area (nearly 452,000 new residents) and San Antonio metro area (more than 375,000 new residents).

As Texas' major metro areas keep experiencing a population surge, the rise of the apartment renter promises to continue.

Data from Richardson-based property management software RealPage shows construction of 22,879 new apartments had been approved from October 2018 to October 2019 in the Houston area. That's a year-over-year jump of 77.8 percent.

The numbers for DFW (19,562 permits, up 7.3 percent) and Austin (13,981, up 15 percent) were lower, but they still ranked among RealPage's top 10 metro markets for the number of apartment construction permits issued.

Within U.S. metro areas, the cities of Houston, Austin, and San Antonio ranked among the top 10 places for apartment construction permits issued from October 2018 to October 2019, according to RealPage.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

5G could be taking over Texas — and Houston is leading the way. Photo via Getty Images

Based on one key measure, Houston sits at the forefront of a telecom revolution that could spark a regional economic impact of more than $30 billion.

Data published recently by the Texas Comptroller's Office points out that as of last November and December, Houston led all cities in Texas for the number of so-called "small cells." Small cells are a key component in the rollout of ultra-high-speed 5G wireless communication throughout the Houston area and the country.

As the Texas Comptroller's Office explains, small cells are low-powered antennas that communicate wirelessly via radio waves. They're usually installed on existing public infrastructure like street signs or utility poles, instead of the big communication towers that transmit 4G signals.

The comptroller's tally shows Houston had approved 5,455 small-cell sites as of the November-December timeframe. That dwarfs the total number of sites (1,948) for the state's second-ranked city, Dallas.

"Houston is in the vanguard of small cell permitting in Texas, and not just because it's the state's largest city; advocates have lauded its proactive approach to 5G. Other cities, particularly smaller ones, are lagging well behind," the Comptroller's Office notes.

According to CTIA, a trade group for the wireless communications industry, 5G holds the promise to deliver an economic impact of $30.3 billion in the Houston area and create 93,700 jobs. The group says industries such as health care, energy, transportation, e-commerce, and logistics stand to benefit from the emergence of 5G.

"Maintaining world-class communications infrastructure is a requirement for success in a rapidly changing global economy. Small cells and fiber technology are the key foundational components for network densification and robust 5G. Cities like Houston that have embraced the need for this infrastructure will see the benefits of 5G faster than others," Mandy Derr, government affairs director at Houston-based communications infrastructure REIT Crown Castle International Corp. and a member of the Texas 5G Alliance, tells InnovationMap.

Derr says leaders in Houston have embraced the importance of small-cell technology through "reasonable and effective" regulations and processes aimed at boosting 5G capabilities. Three major providers of wireless service — AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon — offer 5G to customers in the Houston area.

"More small cells and fiber provide greater and faster access for the masses, enabling the connectivity that is essential to our businesses today — whether it's accepting payments on a mobile card reader, completing a sale on the go, or reliably reaching consumers where they are," Derr says.

In a blog post, Netrality Data Centers, which operates a data center in Houston, proclaims that Houston is shaping up to be a hub of 5G innovation.

"Houston has always been on the frontline," Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a 5G roundtable discussion in 2019. "It is who we are. It is in our DNA. We are a leading city. We didn't wait for somebody else to go to the moon. Or to be the energy capital of the world. Or the largest medical center in the world. But you don't stay at the front if you don't continue to lead."

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