Houston Residents are Headed to Clear Lake City and the Surrounding Bay Area

Houston Residents are Headed to Clear Lake City and the Surrounding Bay Area

The Reserve at Clear Lake City was featured in the Houston Chronicle's Annual Home Price Survey special edition. The new community located at the corner of El Dorado Blvd and Clear Lake City boulevard is playing a large part in the Bay Area's current growth spurt. Read the article below or click here to read more about the Clear Lake City area on the Houston Chonicle website.

 

Andrea Rumbaugh | April 18th, 2015

Mark and Tamra Parks, who aren't too handy around the house, don't purchase fixer-uppers. They seek new developments and generally move every seven or eight years.

This pattern took them to Friendswood, but their family and church remained in Clear Lake. So when Trendmaker Homes announced a Clear Lake development, Tamra, 59, and Mark, 63, jumped at the opportunity.

"There hasn't been a new development in the Clear Lake area for a while, so we were excited to purchase a new home," Tamra said.

Construction is underway on their four-bedroom, 3,600-square-foot house in The Reserve at Clear Lake City. The couple hopes to be in the house in plenty of time to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner there.

Coastal quest

The Parkses are not alone in their desire to live closer to the Gulf Coast, a trend reflected in 2014 regional sales data from the Houston Association of Realtors. Across the Clear Lake area, which many considered built out before Trendmaker bought enough land for 740 homes for the Reserve project, the median sales price rose to $196,500 last year, up 6 percent from a year earlier and 10 percent from 2010.

Nearby League City was the Houston area's fifth-most-active real estate spot last year, with 1,986 homes being sold. Many of the new houses are being built in The Lakes of South Shore Harbour, Tuscan Lakes, Westover Park and Bay Colony. The city's median price jumped 12 percent year over year, to $212,950 in 2014. That's 15 percent higher than five years ago.

"League City is growing in leaps and bounds," the city's economic development manager, Owen Rock, said. And with 49 percent of its physical land yet to be developed, more growth seems likely.

That growth is benefiting Seabrook, too, economic development director Paul Chavez said. The city doesn't have much undeveloped land available, but Chavez said it is drawing interest from developers because it's mostly on the water and attracts interesting small retailers instead of big-box chain stores.

Reasons to look south

In general, he said, developers are focusing on the Bay Area for new market opportunities and better prices. They built in the Inner Loop and in northwest Houston as the nation began recovering from the recession, and now many are looking for less saturated areas.

"We're starting to see a lot more attention being drawn here," he said.

The Reserve at Clear Lake City, at the intersection of Clear Lake City Boulevard and El Dorado Boulevard, began home construction in March. It will be about five years before all the houses are built.

Home prices are currently in the $460,000s, though lower-priced houses are expected to be announced in a few months.

Trendmaker Homes and Village Builders, which is also building houses in the development, have sold about 30 houses since February, many of them to people already living in the area.

"There's a lot of people there who are extremely loyal to Clear Lake," Trendmaker president Will Holder said.

Lack of land

Claudia Parr, a longtime Clear Lake resident and broker associate at Coldwell Banker United in Clear Lake, said this is the area's only recent development because there hasn't been land available to develop elsewhere. She said a lot of people choose to live there because of its location between downtown Houston and Galveston.

"We're a real nice distance from the city," she said.

Tammy Pilola likes the area's "small town in a big city" feel. But she said it took her family about a year to buy their house there as properties often were sold within hours. They finally purchased one in September.