The price is right

Houston boasts the best home values among major U.S. metros, according to new report

In Houston, you can get the most house for the buck among the country's biggest metro areas. Photo by TK Images

In Houston, you can get the most house for the buck among the country's biggest metro areas, a new study shows.

The study, recently published by Austin-based online insurance marketplace The Zebra, indicates you can purchase a 1,935-square-foot home in the Houston metro area at the U.S. median sale price. In 2019, that price was $239,900, according to Zillow data analyzed by The Zebra.

The study calculated how much square footage you can afford in the 10 largest metros in the U.S., based on Zillow's calculations for median home price per square foot.

In 2019, the median price of a single-family home in the Houston area was $245,800, up from $238,800 in 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors. A record 86,205 single-family homes were sold across the Houston area in 2019, up 4.8 percent from the previous record of 82,229 in 2018, the Houston Association of Realtors says.

"It's great to see Houston at the top of this study, as the Bayou City has been one of the most of the most affordable cities in the United States," says Paige Martin, leader of the Houston Properties Team at Keller Williams Realty. "The Houston metro area is adding more residents each year than the entire population of Pittsburgh. A big reason for that is the cost of living is so much lower than other major cities in the U.S."

In terms of large houses, Martin continues to see high demand for bigger properties from a lot of homebuyers, particularly millennials and Generation Y members.

"These homebuyers typically grew up in smaller homes than what they're seeking now," she says, "and they're drawn to the benefits of every child having their own bedroom, designated play areas, and large and expansive kitchens for family gatherings and entertainment."

"Fortunately, Houston can accommodate this," Martin adds, "as the city is blessed with so many top-ranked suburbs that have low land costs."

Meanwhile, Dallas is No. 3 on the list. In 2019, the median price of a single-family home in Dallas-Fort Worth was $268,000, up from $260,000 the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors. In a report covering January 2020, the MetroTex Association of Realtors said year-over-year sales of single-family homes were up 21 percent, while the total dollar volume climbed 32 percent to nearly $1.98 billion.

In December, Realtor.com predicted home prices in Dallas-Fort Worth would decline 0.5 percent this year compared with 2019.

"The North Texas housing market has come off of several record-breaking years," Cathy Mitchell, 2019 president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors, said in December. "A slight self-correction in the market compared to what we have experienced the last few years was expected and could prove to be beneficial in balancing our market with more quality inventory."

In The Zebra's study, here's how the mega-metros stack up in terms of how much square footage you can purchase at the U.S. median home price:

1. Houston, 1,935 square feet
2. Atlanta, 1,817 square feet
3. Dallas-Fort Worth, 1,726 square feet
4. Philadelphia, 1,589 square feet
5. Chicago, 1,463 square feet
6. Miami, 1,043 square feet
7. Washington, D.C., 1,012 square feet
8. Boston, 789 square feet
9. Los Angeles, 540 square feet
10. New York City, 361 square feet

"New York, L.A., and Boston may not be enough elbow room for you, but Houston, Atlanta, and Dallas will get you the most bang for your buck," The Zebra says.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Mercury Fund's Heath Butler joins the Houston Innovators Podcast this week to discuss Houston, venture capital, and more. Photo via mercuryfund.com

When Mercury Fund was founded in 2005, the goal was to focus on funding underrepresented entrepreneurs.

"The firm was really built around looking for the underrepresented entrepreneur and 15 years ago, that was just the middle of the country, because all the VC investments were on the coasts," says Heath Butler, network partner, on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "And over the years, the firm has continued to look for the blue ocean in the VC market."

Nowadays, that means also finding and funding female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. And Butler co-founded the Urban Capital Network — a group that aims to democratize VC funding by helping connect minority entrepreneurs and VC firms — to do just that.

Butler was recently promoted within Mercury and the the move represents another aspect the firm is focusing on: the future of work. Butler spent 14 years at Houston-based human resources service company, Insperity.

"The world continues to be shaped by how the workforce and the workplace — and the actual work gets — done, and that couldn't have been put to the forefront more than during COVID," Butler says. "The promotion really reflects my focus on building out a very broad and deep theme for the firm around the future of work."

Butler, who's on the board of several startups and hosts a monthly event with The Ion, is hands on with entrepreneurs and helps them make sure to keep their company culture front of mind as they grow.

"I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, led by my mother," he says. "I learned so much at such a young age around worth ethic and how the job of being an entrepreneur is."

Butler discusses more about his career and venture capital in Houston on the show. Listen to the full interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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