Lake Houston - Humble - Kingwood Edition | July 2021

LAKE HOUSTON HUMBLE KINGWOOD EDITION

2021 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3  JULY 23AUG. 26, 2021

Local market sees low inventory, high-priced homes

IN SHORT SUPPLY Contractors reported material shortages in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey released June 17.

94%

of contractors nation-wide have faced supply shortages. 84%

of contractors said material

cost uctuations have aected their business.

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

Record-low housing inventory and interest rates, combined with a wide- spread shortage of building materials, have created a local real estate market unlike any that has come before, local real estate experts said. Over the past two years, the num- ber of listings in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area has been slashed by more than half, according

SOURCE: U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S QUARTERLY COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION INDEX Q2 2021COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Communities like The Groves have experienced delays due to building material shortages. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)

CONTINUED ON 15

LakeHouston-area restaurants feel eects of Texas labor shortage

The number of unemployed Texans has varied greatly over the last two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Employed Unemployed LABORERS A LACK OF

BY WESLEY GARDNER

the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas’ unemploy- ment rate in May was 6.5%—up from the prepan- demic unemployment rate of 3.4% in May 2019. Despite restaurants being allowed to fully reopen in March, Rosa Perez, owner of Sharky’s Waterfront Grill and Chimichurri’s South American Grill in King- wood, said her establishments are operating with roughly half of the sta they had pre-pandemic. “Since before [March], we had been looking for sta, thinking we need to get ready for when we do go back to 100%, and we’ve been struggling with this CONTINUED ON 19

For Tony Raa, owner of Raa’s Waterfront Grill in Kingwood, nding new employees after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted has been nearly impossible. “When we respond to people who send out an application, one out of 10 of them responds back, and if we set up an interview, one out of 50 actually shows up,” he said. “It is very, very dicult to nd people.” Raa’s struggle to nd new employees matches trends seen throughout Texas as employers grap- ple with a number of issues precluding them from securing new hires. According to data provided by

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SOURCE: TEXAS WORKFORCE COMMISSIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER May 2020 May 2021 May 2019

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES HOME IMPROVEMENT MARKET AT A GLANCE REAL ESTATE EDITION 2021 SPONSORED BY • First Financial Bank

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMKIM: Summer is the perfect time to spend with family and friends creating long-lasting memories. With a few weeks left this summer, there is still time to take part in events and activities oered throughout the Lake Houston area. In addition to local oerings, you can be at the beach in just over an hour or venture out west to the Hill Country and enjoy the beauty our state has to oer. Whatever you decide to do, s’mores are always a great way to end the day! Kim Giannetti, GENERALMANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMHANNAH: Due to a combination of building material and labor shortages, buying a new home is taking longer and becoming increasingly expensive across the Greater Houston area. Paired with low inventory, local real estate agents said these circumstances are creating an ideal seller’s market, while buyers are having to pay more for less. To learn more about the state of the local housing market in the Lake Houston area, check out our annual Real Estate Edition (see Pages 10-15). Hannah Zedaker, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

TRANSPORTATION &DEVELOPMENT Regular updates on area projects to keep you in the know

SCHOOL, CITY & COUNTY We attend area meetings to keep you informed

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

COMPILED BY WESLEY GARDNER & BROOKE ONTIVEROS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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BROOKE ONTIVEROSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Hokulia Shave Ice opened July 17.

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WORTH THE TRIP NOWOPEN Franchise owners Clarissa and Randy Hall opened their second Hokulia Shave Ice store July 17 at 2929 FM 1960, Houston. The snow cone shack sells over 50 avors imported from Hawaii, poured on delicate ice ribbons, and made with a proprietary method to create a uniquely light and uy texture. Flavors range from classics such as grape and apple to more exotic avors such as lychee and horchata. Several add-on options are also available, such as the popular Sno Cap, which is made out of sweetened, condensed milk. 832-548-0988. www.facebook.com/hokuliahumbletx

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Meckka Dance Project

COURTESY MECKKA DANCE PROJECT

LAKE HOUSTON

COMING SOON 4 Craft barbecue food truck Texas Q , located at 1965 Northpark Drive, King- wood, will host its grand opening Aug. 7 starting at 11 a.m. with live music from 6-9 p.m. The food truck will ocially open Aug. 5 and feature more than 30 dog-friendly outdoor tables with cov- ered seating, live music Saturdays and a bounce house on weekends. Texas Q uses premium ingredients with proprietary sauces, rubs and spices, and has been featured on the Food Network. 832-731-7075. www.texasq.com 5 Ocials with iSchool High-Atascocita , a tuition-free public charter school, announced July 14 the opening of a new campus at Lone Star College-Atascocita Center, 15903 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Houston. The school, which will be avail- able to ninth- and 10th-graders this fall, will oer dual-credit courses, allowing students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree upon graduation. The new school will expand by one grade level each year and will be available to students in ninth to 12th grades by 2023. 832-306-3603. www.ischoolhigh.com/atascocita 6 The Kingwood Oce Condominiums will open a new workspace in the rst quarter of 2022 at 855 Rockmead Drive with the opportunity for small businesses to own their oces rather than renting. Out of the nearly 15 oces up for grabs, two are under contract and ve are in negotiations as of mid-July. 713-972-1930. www.kingwoodocecondos.com

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ALDINE WESTFIELD RD.

NOWOPEN 1 Meckka Dance Project opened June 7 at 21693 FM 1314, Ste. 200, Porter. The dance studio oers lessons for age 3 and older with classes for beginners and experienced dancers. A diverse group of instructors teaches three tiers of elite training courses focusing on styles such as ballet, hip-hop and acrobatics. Meckka also hosts a national award-winning dance company for which members can audition and have performance oppor- tunities ranging from an appearance in Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” to showcases at charity events. 832-304-6004. www.meckka.com N . L A K E H O U S T

2 Paint store Elite Fine Finish celebrated its grand opening July 15 at 515 E. First St., Humble. The business is a national leader in the wood and auto nishing industries and oers high-quality tools for professional and do-it-yourself painters. 832-449-2688. www.elitenenish.com 3 Planet Fitness opened a new 24/7 workout facility July 23 at 20185 Hwy. 59, New Caney. The tness facility oers cardio and strength-training equipment, free tness training and a spa for Planet Fitness Black Card members featuring massage beds, massage chairs, and tan- ning beds and booths. Pre-grand opening specials are available. 832-917-6999. www.planettness.com

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EXPANSIONS 7 The Golf Club of Houston will break ground on a new 6,000-square-foot tness center complete with a child care center within the next 90 days at 5860 Wilson Road, Humble, said Reese McCall, the general manager of the Golf Club of Houston, at the July 8 BizCom hosted by Partnership Lake Houston. 281-459-7820. www.golfcluboouston.com

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Delays stunt new street rehab initiative

COMPILED BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

ONGOING PROJECTS

ROADWAY TO PROGRESS Some City Council districts saw more miles of street repairs completed in fiscal year 2020-21 than others, according to data from Houston Public Works.

WOODLAND HILLS DR.

UNION PACIFIC CORP. RAILROAD

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICTS

STREET REPAIRS

BY EMMA WHALEN

Total improvements planned for FY 2020-21 Total improvements completed or in progress in FY 2020-21

In the inaugural address for his second term in January 2020, Mayor Sylvester Turner promised Houstonians would see “noticeable improvements” in the quality of city streets by the end of 2023. By the end of his term’s first year, however, many of the street rehabilitation projects planned throughout the city had been delayed. “There were contractor staffing shortages and supply shortages, and in the districts where projects did get completed, it was because they were already underway,” said Erin Jones, spokesperson for Houston Public Works. Progress varied widely between districts. District D, which covers Third Ward, Sunnyside and much of South Houston, for example, saw 88 lane miles of improvements completed within the fiscal year. District E, however, which covers the Clear Lake, Kingwood and Lake

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JULY 16. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SKLNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Lockwood Road expansion A project to expand Lockwood Road between Beltway 8 and the Union Pacific Corp. railroad from two to four lanes has been paused while county officials review the potential to modify the design, said Victoria Bryant, assis- tant director of Harris County Precinct 4’s Infrastructure Division. Construc- tion on the project, which was initially slated to begin in the third quarter of 2020, was previously delayed due to utility conflicts. The project was orig- inally expected to cost $2.32 million and take nine months to complete. Timeline: TBD Cost: TBD Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 4, McCord Development

0.6 lane miles completed out of 28

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SOURCE: HOUSTON PUBLIC WORKS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Houston areas saw 0.6 lane miles of improvements completed. The public works department originally planned to cover 28 lane miles in District E. The discrepancies were caused by a number of factors, Jones said. In some districts, including District D, several projects were already under- way and close to completion prior to fiscal year 2020-21. In District E, more of the roadways are made from

concrete than asphalt. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, concrete supply issues had a disproportionate effect on the district, Jones said. “They will get an increased allot- ment for the next fiscal year as well,” she said. As the city moves forward with the initiative, incomplete projects were rolled over to FY 2021-22, which began July 1.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ENVIRONMENT Houston ocials provide updates on LakeHouston damspillway project

BY WESLEY GARDNER

THROUGH THE DECADES The Lake Houston dam was constructed more than half a century ago and has since been subject to a number of improvement projects. 1953: The construction of the Lake Houston dam is completed. 1970: Modications for erosion-control work immediately downstream of the Lake Houston dam are completed. 1986-87: Repair projects on the Lake Houston dam are completed. 2022: Construction is slated to begin on the Lake Houston dam spillway improvement project.

Progress on the $47 million Lake Houston dam spillway improvement project is moving forward with construction expected to begin by the end of 2022, Houston ocials said during a July 8 community forum. The city of Houston has been working to add gates to the Lake Houston dam since Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017. The shortcomings of the Lake Houston dam were highlighted during Harvey as it was overwhelmed with water being discharged at a rate of 425,000 cubic feet per second. “Presently, we can release 1 foot of water in 24 hours,” said Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, who represents District E in Kingwood. “With the ability of the new gates, we’ll be able to release 4 feet of water in 24 hours, so that gives us the ability to react to a storm like Harvey.” Black and Veatch engineer Chris Mueller, whose company is tasked with designing the improvements,

The Lake Houston dam features four small gates and a spillway structure. City of Houston ocials hope to add new gates to the dam to increase its release capacity during rain events. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper) SOURCE: TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

alterations are still being made to ensure they operate eciently. He added the design phase would take about one year to complete. Following the design phase, Mueller said ocials would need to gain environment clearance and permits for the project, which he said would likely take two to three months. Mueller estimated the construction

of the dam improvements would take 18 months to two years. Ocials noted the project’s design phase was partially funded through a $4.3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. City ocials are currently working to secure future FEMA grants to help fund construction.

said the rm has completed the planning stages of the project and is in the preliminary design phase. As it exists today, the dam is a spillway structure with four gates, which are made to release water at a rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second. Mueller highlighted designs that would install new crest gates within the dam structure, though he said

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

NEWS BRIEFS

City of Humble amends emergency response policies

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

false alarms incurred at an Humble residence or place of business within a 12-month period, the council also voted to switch from a one-time fee for re, burglar and holdup alarm permits to an annual fee. Stuebe said resi- dential permits will be $25 annually, while commercial permits will be $50 annually; permit fees for residents age 65 and older will be waived. To help cover the costs associated with responding to alarms, the city will also begin billing insurance companies for emergency response services following approval by the Humble City Council on June 24. Stuebe noted Humble residents will not be billed for emergency response services. Stuebe said while taxpayer funds support the costs associated with operating and maintaining re stations, apparatus and personnel, they do not necessarily cover the costs incurred from responding to an alarm.

FALSEALARM FINES After three free false alarms, penalties will be implemented as follows: Burglary-related alarms (residential and commercial) 1-3 false alarms: $50 each 4-5 false alarms: $75 each 7 or more false alarms: $150 each Fire-related alarms (residential) and holdup/panic-related alarms (residential and commercial) 1-3 false alarms: $75 each 4 or more false alarms: $150 each Fire-related alarms (commercial) 1-3 false alarms: $150 each 4 or more false alarms: $200 each

Following an onslaught of false alarms in 2020, the Humble City Council approved several amendments to city ordinances on June 24 related to emergency response services to mitigate the trend. According to City Manager Jason Stuebe, out of 290 re suppression- related alarms the city’s re depart- ment responded to in 2020, 284 were false. Additionally, out of 1,900 total burglar/holdup/panic-related alarms the city’s police department responded to in 2020, 1,417 were false. “We’re spending a lot of time and resources answering false alarms, so we’re trying to get a better handle on the situation,” Stuebe said. In hopes of discouraging false alarms, the council voted to amend its current policy of implementing penalties after ve false alarms in one year to after three false alarms in one year. To better track the number of

SOURCE: CITY OF HUMBLE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Montgomery County VeteransMemorial Park receives $7M

County creates $833Mood-resilience trust

BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

beyond the 2018 bond. The trust sits at $489 million, but the county will add $343 million by scal year 2030 by increasing the annual transfer from the Harris County Toll Road Authority by 25%, or $40 million, beginning in 2023. “With this ood-resilience trust, we’re taking money that we could have used on other projects,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said. “We are robbing Peter to pay Paul because we have not gotten the money from the [Texas General Land Oce].” “WE ARE ROBBING PETER TOPAY PAUL BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT GOTTEN THE MONEY FROMTHE TEXAS GENERAL LANDOFFICE.” RODNEY ELLIS, HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 1 COMMISSIONER

Harris County Commissioners Court established an $833 million ood-resilience trust at its June 29 meeting to ll the funding gap the Harris County Flood Control District is facing in its $2.5 billion bond program approved by voters in 2018. The Harris County Budget Oce revealed a $1.3 billion shortfall to complete bond projects March 9 due to a lack of partner funds. While the county has chipped away at the funding gap, $951 million in unmet needs remained as of late June. “We’ve done pretty good ... by securing $1.25 billion in partner funding. But we have a long way to go still,” interim HCFCD Executive Director Alan Black said June 29. The HCFCD and the budget department presented recom- mendations June 29 to address the decit, which were approved, including the creation of a Harris County ood-resilience trust to backstop the bond program and provide for ood-control needs

BY CHANDLER FRANCE

Montgomery County Veterans Memorial Park will receive $7 million in state funding, state Rep. Will Met- calf, RConroe, announced in a press conference June 29. Metcalf said he was able to secure the funding through the budget process in the Legislature. Jimmie Edwards, chair of the Mont- gomery County Veterans Memorial Commission, said the money will fund a visitors education center and the main memorial on the north end of the park. Metcalf also said the Texas Department of Transportation will put up signs on I-45 to direct visitors to the park.

State Rep. Will Metcalf, RConroe, announced the funding June 29. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

2021 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N

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MARKET AT AGLANCE All seven ZIP codes that make up Community Impact Newspaper ’s Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood coverage area experienced an increase in the number of homes sold, a rise in the average home sales price and a decline in the average number of days on the market from June 2020- May 2021 as compared to the prior 12 months. SOURCE: DEBORAH ROSE MILLER, A BROKER AND AGENT AT ROSE REALTY AND THE 2021 LAKE HOUSTON AREA NETWORKING MEETING CHAIR FOR THE HOUSTON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COMPILED BY HANNAH ZEDAKER

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NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD June 2019-May 2020 June 2020-May 2021

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+11.63%

+27.18%

+12.21% $256,778 $288,119

+10.95% $177,064 $196,451

+11.41% $236,965 $264,012

+9.37% $313,855 $343,276

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480

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762

+28.31%

+32.57%

+43.57%

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639

2,031

1,094

$260,505 $287,153

+12.9% $226,590 $255,812

+4.69% $259,647 $271,824

719

+24.34%

+10.23%

894

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

GUIDE

Local businesses oer home improvement tips

2 0 2 1 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N

HOME IMPROVEMENT

COMPILED BY BROOKE ONTIVEROS

ASKA GARAGE DOOR TECHNICIAN

ASKA FLOORING SPECIALIST

For homeowners wanting to upgrade their garage doors, ProLift Garage Doors provides service to customers across North Houston and the surrounding area.

IONE Flooring oers a wide selection of ooring materials ranging from vinyl planking to carpet with installation complete in two to three business days for in-stock products.

HOW LOUD SHOULD A GARAGE SOUND? They should be pretty whisper quiet, especially [if] the functionality of the opener [is good], as well as better rollers, better hinges, proper lubrication, proper maintenance, all those things. If the [homeowner] is leaving at 5 a.m., they [shouldn’t] wake up the rest of the home. HOW OFTEN SHOULD PROFESSIONALS CONDUCT MAINTENANCE CHECKS ON GARAGE DOORS? Ten thousand cycles is all those springs are designed to last, so a lot of times it’s a seven-year last for any garage door springs.

CAN GARAGE DOORS USE SMART HOUSING TECHNOLOGY? You can get all kinds of technology on them. It’ll connect to your smart devices, your smart home features, and you can open it and close it from anywhere in the world. Your kids can open and close it if they’re coming home from school to an empty house. The other one is the myQ app, which is an app that LiftMaster has, and that actually connects to Amazon. So if you have a bunch of Amazon deliveries ... the Amazon driver can actually open your garage door if you have a delivery registered through Prime. The Amazon thing is great to eliminate people from stealing your items o your porch like they do nowadays.

WHAT FLOORING IS BEST FOR HOMEOWNERS WORRIED ABOUT FLOOD DAMAGE? Tile is great as far as being able to withstand [ooding]. Say your house oods. OK, your tile is ne, your oors survived the ood. But now let’s see the other side of the spectrum. Say you were to drop something heavy ... and you broke one of your tiles in the middle of your living room. You have [to have] extra [tiles] on the side. Even if you have extra, if you don’t have the right installer to actually be able to perform a very good, very discreet kind of repair, you are forever stuck with that problem. With the [vinyl planking] click-and-lock option, you can ... unclick everything, set

it outside, let it dry and then put it right back inside. WHAT FLOORING INCREASES HOME SALE VALUES THE MOST? Hardwood is generally the best return you can get on the ooring, but it’s also the most investment. It’s kind of a double-edged sword on that. ... Honestly, if you’re not looking at a house that’s going to be at least a half a million dollars, putting hardwood in it is not something that the next homeowner is necessarily [going to] worry themselves with too much. [Average homeowners should have] hard surfaces in all your common places and just carpet in the bedrooms.

Oscar Solorzano Owner, IONE Flooring 1424 Northpark Drive, Ste. D, Kingwood 713-484-9975 www.ioneooring.com

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John Ramoin Owner, ProLift Garage Doors 281-609-2231 www.proliftdoors.com/the-woodlands

NORTHPARK DR.

WOODLAND HILLS DR.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Developments underway in the Lake Houston area

2 0 2 1 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N

COMPILED BY WESLEY GARDNER THE GROVES

BALMORAL Balmoral, a 750-acre, master-planned community developed by Land Tejas, is located o of Beltway 8 and Woodland Hills Drive. The development features 2,562 total lots with 645 lots still available as of mid- July. Homes are priced from the $200,000s to the $500,000s. The Amenity Village, which includes a tness center, a playground, a beach volleyball court and a hammock row, is accessible via a 12-foot-wide trail. Victory Park, which includes a tennis court, a basketball pavilion, an amphitheater, a multiuse stage, a sports eld, two playgrounds, a picnic pavilion with restrooms and an outdoor kitchen, is set to open later this year. 832-508-0399 www.balmoralhouston.com Number of homes: 2,562 Opened: 2017

THE HIGHLANDS The Highlands, a 2,310-acre community developed by Caldwell Communities, is set to open in late 2021 at the southwest corner of the Grand Parkway and FM 1314. The Highlands will feature 4,000 homes upon build-out with home prices starting in the $290,000s. Amenities will include a semiprivate 18- hole golf course and clubhouse, miles of hiking and biking trails, a water park and a lazy river, tennis and pickleball courts, and an event lawn and pavilion for live music. Built by several Houston builders, including Beazer Homes, David Weekley Homes, Highland Homes and Lennar Homes, among others, buyers will be able to browse oor plans in the community’s Model Home Park later this year.

The Groves, a 993-acre master-planned community by Ashlar Development, is located at West Lake Houston Parkway and Madera Run Parkway. The community will have a total of roughly 2,200 single- family homes upon completion. As of mid-July, 550 lots were still available for build-out. Homes within the community start from the $280,000s. In addition to 64 acres of preserved forest, amenities at The Groves include a lifestyle center park, a nature playground, a stocked shing pond and The Nest—a new pocket park featuring walking trails, an open lawn with picnic tables and a giant bird nest element for children to play on. 469-513-5600 www.thegrovestx.com Number of homes: 2,200 Opened: 2014

www.thehighlands.com Number of homes: 4,000 Projected opening date: fall 2021

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CONTINUED FROM 1

2 0 2 1 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N

Shrinking inventory, RISING PRICES

Home sales increased in all 7 Lake Houston-area ZIP codes from June 2020-May 2021 compared to the year prior. A LOCAL LOOK The average Lake Houston-area home sold for $20,000$30,000 more over the past year than it did the year prior.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land market has record-low inventory and active listings, while the median cost of home sales has risen.

Total number of listings

Median sales prices

$175,000 $150,000 $275,000 $250,000 $300,000 $225,000 $200,000 $125,000 $100,000 0

45,000 40,000 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0

The average time a house spent on the market was shortened by 20DAYS compared to the year prior.

SOURCE: HOUSTON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

we were going to overcommit and not be able to deliver the Highland [Homes] experience,” he said. “So we made the decision to pull back.” Additionally, Draughn said many builders are implementing escalation clauses, which specify if building materials increase by a certain percent- age, the homebuyer will be responsible for paying the higher cost. However, Draughn said Highland Homes is not one of those builders. “When somebody buys a house, that’s a big pur- chase, and we want to give them something they can depend on, so we’ve eaten the cost,” he said. However, Rose Miller said the rising cost of new homes has breathed new life into resales. “Existing houses have been able to complete with new construction because the new construction for the same oor plan is so much higher,” she said. Cost of living Industry experts have historically touted the Greater Houston area as one of the most aordable places to live nationwide. However, Draughn said with so many people looking to move to the area, builders have been unable to keep up. “The housing market has been underbuilt by close to 400,000 units a year for the past 14 years,” he said. “If all major builders increased their sales and production by 10%, it would still take about eight or nine years to hit equilibrium. But that’s nationwide. ... It’s two to three times worse [here].” However, Draughn said the local real estate mar- ket is still less pressured and costly than other major Texas markets, such as Austin, where Draughn said a neighborhood with 40-50 available houses garners a waiting list of 350-400 potential buyers. “We sell the same house in Austin for $100,000- $150,000 more just because land, materials and labor cost that much more there,” he said. Because consumer demand is the driving force behind escalated price tags, Rose Miller said she sus- pects the new cost of living is here to stay. “It’s like a rubber band; it stretches, and there may be some adjustment, but it won’t go back to how it was,” she said. Danica Lloyd contributed to this report.

2019

2020

2021

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1.4

Decrease in total listings from May 2019-May 2021 55.1% Decrease in months of inventory since May 2019 2.6 Increase in median home sales price since May 2019 +$51K

MARCH24&27: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough issue stay-at-home orders for county residents.

Months of inventory: Indicates the number of months it would take to sell all properties currently for sale at the average monthly sales price

SOURCE: TEXAS A&M REAL ESTATE RESEARCH CENTER COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Supply and demand Due to a rise in demand for construction mate- rials, 84% of contractors nationwide have faced supply shortages, and 94% said cost uctuations have aected their businesses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Commercial Con- struction Index report released June 17. “People had nothing better to do [during COVID- 19] than stay home and decide they want to buy a new house or remodel,” said Mike Dishberger, CEO of Houston-based Sandcastle Homes and former Greater Houston Builders Association president. “So demand has exceeded supply, and when that hap- pens, prices rise.” For example, Dishberger said plywood cost $7 per sheet in April 2020 and was up to $50 per sheet this June. A recent copper shortage increased the price of his electrical materials by 25%, he added. Similarly, Draughn said brick that Highland Homes used to buy for $2,000 now costs upward of $6,000. He said construction on one of his inventory homes in The Groves, a 993-acre community under development in Humble, has been delayed by two months due to tile unavailability. “It’s denitely slowed us down,” he said. “We used to do contract to move in, in less than four months; we’re at six to eight months now.” In hopes of providing consistent customer ser- vice, Draughn said Highland Homes has limited the number of homes he can sell to three per month. “It’s gotten so hard to get [laborers] and materials … that if we kept selling at the pace we were selling,

to data from the Texas A&M University Texas Real Estate Center. Simultaneously, home sales increased by over 10% from May 2019 to May 2021—a trend industry experts attributed to lowmortgage interest rates, which dropped to 2.65% in January. As a result, the Greater Houston area sat at 1.4 months of housing inventory in April and May—the area’s lowest inventory since the center began tracking data in 1990. Months of inventory indicates the number of months it would take to sell all properties currently for sale at the average monthly sales price. “It’s kind of the perfect storm,” said Walter Draughn, a Highland Homes sales counselor for The Groves. “It’s never all come together like this—one or two things at a time, yes—but not all at once.” Locally, home sales increased in all seven Lake Houston-area ZIP codes from June 2020-May 2021 compared to the year prior, according to Houston Association of Realtors data. Additionally, the aver- age home sold for $20,000-$30,000 more over the past year than it did the year prior, and the average time spent on the market was shortened by 20 days. “There’s no question it’s a seller’s market; you can’t spin it any other way,” said Deborah Rose Miller, a broker/agent with Rose Realty and HAR’s 2021 Lake Houston-area networking meeting chair. Further fueling the re, Draughn said about one- third of all relocations in the U.S. are coming to Texas. As a result, builders are trying to keep up with a growing demand for inventory amid material shortages that bog down the process.

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

From left: Owner Gloria Tate, Assistant Manager Josh Oldham and General Manager Rachel Tate lead the Humble Family Skate Center. (Wesley Gardner/ Community Impact Newspaper)

BUSINESS FEATURE

Patrons dance on skates to the hokey-pokey at the Humble Family Skate Center. (Courtesy Humble Family Skate Center)

PUBLIC SKATING SESSIONS Humble Family Skate Center oers plenty of opportunities to get out on the rink.

Humble Family Skate Center Locally owned roller rink oers old-fashioned fun for all ages W hen the Humble Family Skate Center opened in 1977, employees had to switch vinyl records between a pair of turntables to change the tunes as patrons skated. Forty-four years later, while technology has BY WESLEY GARDNER

Entry fee Skate rental fee

Hours 2-5 p.m. Closed

Sunday

$2 N/A

$7 N/A

Tuesday Monday

included included $2

$5 $5 $7 $7 $7 $7 $8 $7

8-9 p.m.** 6-8 p.m.* 1-4:30 p.m. 1-4:30 p.m. 1-4:30 p.m. 1-4:30 p.m. 7-10 p.m. 1-6:30 p.m.

available near Humble. “There was nothing,” Gloria said. “There was no mall. You had the movies and the bowling alley.” Over the years, the establishment has gone through many renovations, Gloria said, including the installation of quieter oors to skate on, arcade cabinets and an upgraded stereo system. “Most of my grandkids and most of my friends' children have all had jobs here,” she said. “We’ve just had a lot of fun here. It wasn’t about the money.” General Manager Rachel Tate, Gloria’s daughter, said one of the more rewarding aspects of running the rink has been watching families grow through- out the years. “We denitely have four generations [of families] skating through these doors,” Rachel said. The skating rink is accessible to both casual and experienced skaters, Rachel said. Birthday parties, private parties and open sessions are all available, but the skating rink also oers lessons and has a competitive speed skating team. More than anything, Gloria said she is glad to have been able to bring a little joy into people’s lives. “The most satisfying thing is to know that I’ve made a lot of kids happy,” she said.

Wednesday

$2 $2 $2 $2 $2

Thursday

Friday

changed, the rink still oers the same family fun. According to owner Gloria Tate, the business has been through a lot over the decades from the disco era and multiple recessions to a COVID-19 shutdown last year. “It’s been a fun business, but it’s been a hard business—a lot of sacrice,” she said. For Gloria, skating rinks were a staple of her childhood in Louisiana. “When I was a young girl, my grandfather had a school bus, and my mom would get that school bus and bring a whole bunch of kids to this tiny little [skating] rink,” she said. “My high school graduation was there. It was a big thing in the late ‘50s.” Gloria eventually moved to Texas and opened the Humble Family Skate Center with her ex-husband in 1977 before taking over the business herself seven years later. When the rink opened, she said it was one of a handful of entertainment venues

Saturday

*'80S MUSIC NIGHT **ADULT SKATE SESSION

Humble Family Skate Center 320 N. Houston Ave., Humble 281-446-9232 www.humbleskate.com

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Serving the Lake Houston area as a Community Leader, Rotarian and YOUR Real Estate Agent

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JULY 2021

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