New housing boom hits Houston

A recent study shows the metro area issued more new private home building permits than any major city this year

By Owen Conflenti - Anchor

HOUSTON - It may not be what you want in your neighborhood, but clogged up streets are a good sign for the greater Houston area.

Cross Creek Ranch is a new master-planned community taking shape in Fort Bend County and taking advantage of the metro area's incredible growth.

"Seventy percent of our buyers are relocation, mostly oil related," said Bill McConnell, the community sales manager for Trendmaker Homes at Cross Creek Ranch. "The other, the locals are moving out here from in town. Their kids are getting school-aged and they come out here for the Katy schools."

So they come for the schools, the jobs and the amenities too.
Like Rhonda Pohlman, who relocated her family from southern Fort Bend County a year and a half ago.

"It just draws you in, the beautiful trees, you have the long prairie grasses, the beautiful wildflowers on your drive home," said Pohlman. "The waterways, the natural views, the creek views, you have the lake, they're coming by with the canoes."

Pohlman loves the fact that she can still enjoy some small town comforts in a place with easy access to whatever she needs.

"New friendly faces that we get to meet new families, and develop those relationships," Pohlman said. "But yet, we still have the more country feel."

Only about 20 percent of the homes planned for Cross Creek have been built and already prices are on the rise.

"They're buying them at frame stage," said McConnell. "They're really buying what they can get their hands on. It's a very, very brisk market."

But with the brisk pace of sales comes some fear. Can we keep up with the growth in demand?

According to a recent study, the Houston metro area issued more new private home building permits than any other major city this year. A problem in other markets has been the availability of land to develop.

The Cross Creek folks say that's not the case around here.

"There isn't a shortage of land to meet the demands," said Rob Bamford, with Johnson Development Corporation and General Manager for Cross Creek Ranch. "It's just a function of developing that land to meet the lot needs of builders and the current sales paces."

But could even a small delay in developing that open land create a pricing bubble of sorts? Builders and developers tell us not to worry.

"We're still inexpensive anyway you cut it," said McConnell. "It's a seller's market right now. We just came out of a buyer's markets. They just go hand in hand. But I don't think, I don't see a bubble."

And that's music to Pohlman's ears. She's hoping to maintain the value of her Cross Creek home and keep those new friendly faces moving into the neighborhood.

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