Local demand supports new housing
March 05, 2014

Regarded as one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S., Fort Bend County has seen its population almost double from 350,000 in 2000 to nearly 650,000 today. With that growth has come a major demand for housing, which developers are trying to meet as fast as they can.


Demand continued to outpace supply in 2013, and the median price for a house in Fort Bend is approaching $400,000, up from an estimated $180,000 in 2008. With several major residential projects expected to be completed in Sugar Land and Missouri City in 2014, area Realtors say the rising prices have not stopped demand.

The main thing distinguishing the Fort Bend area from other housing markets is its ability to attract people with a lot of buying power, said Linda Day, a Realtor with Keller Williams working primarily in the Fort Bend area. Even among younger families and first-time homebuyers, the $400,000 homes are selling, she said.

The Fort Bend area is still solidly a seller’s market, Day said, citing that the average home is on the market for about 96 days, compared to the 112-day average in the U.S.

“This early in the season, it’s surprising to see homes sell as quickly as they are,” Day said. “They are appearing on market already under contract. You’re seeing multiple offer situations. This is all very good for people selling their homes.”

Nancy Benevides with RE/Max Southwest said buyers looking for homes in Sugar Land and Missouri City often find no homes on the market matching what they want and opt to wait for more to hit the market. It is important heading into 2014 for buyers to work with Realtors who know the area to see homes before they hit the market, she said. She said she expects the seller’s market to continue.

“I’m anticipating a very strong seller’s market with homes selling at top dollar,” she said.

Master-planned communities

Master-planned communities in Sugar Land and Missouri City are among the fastest growing in the country, according to data from the real estate advisory group Robert Charles Lesser and Co. Five communities in Fort Bend County were among the fastest growing in 2012 with Riverstone and Sienna Plantation continuing the trend through 2013. Riverstone sold 791 units in 2013, a 31 percent increase. Sienna Plantation sold 445, a 15 percent increase.

The slight drop-off among other area communities is not because of a lack of interest, but lack of inventory, said Todd LaRue, principal with RCLCO.

“Although demand is up sharply in Texas [master-planned communities], lot development continues to lag absorption and lot inventory is at its lowest level in 10 years,” he said in a report. “Communities with fewer land constraints have been able to take full advantage of increased demand.”

LaRue said prices will continue to rise on new developments until the demand tapers off.

“At Sienna Plantation, builders have recently been raising prices in an effort to slow the pace of sales as demand has intensified,” he said.

Multifamily trends

The demand for housing in Fort Bend County is not limited to traditional single-family homes. Master-planned communities like Riverstone and Telfair both have multifamily projects in the works in 2014.

The proposed Riverstone development, which would be located within the community between University Boulevard and Cabrera Drive, would feature 600 units. Although Fort Bend homebuyers are not particularly drawn in by affordable housing options, Riverstone General Manager Trey Reichert said the demand for multifamily units still exists.

“Apartments built in Fort Bend typically have a higher price point, but the convenience of renting is where they have their draw,” he said. “We have business professionals moving to the area looking for a place to rent while they try to find a new home. It’s a similar demographic that you would find moving into single-family units, but they’re just not ready to commit.”

Imperial Ballpark Lofts is another luxury apartment project underway in Sugar Land with a planned 257 units coming in mid-to-late 2014. The Exchange Lofts at Telfair will feature 317 multifamily units and will be opening later this year.



























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