What $400K will buy: Houston
|This brand-new house was built in the style of a Victorian era New Orleans town house, complete with white columns and wrought iron railings. The first floor features crown molding and hardwood floors throughout. Architectural columns separate the formal living and dining room, which has a reproduction Victorian-era chandelier and adjacent built-in wine bar. The kitchen, with breakfast bar, pendant lighting, granite countertops, tumbled marble backsplash, white cabinets and stainless Bosch appliances, opens to a great room with gas fireplace and built-in bookcases. The master suite features a bathroom with jetted tub, separate shower and stone countertops. The property, located in a historic Houston neighborhood, has a detached two-car garage and fenced yard.|
|3 bedrooms/2½ baths|
|2,482 square feet|
|Features: Wide front porch with wrought iron railings and trim, wrought iron interior staircase, ceiling fans, study/library, built-in microwave, zoned cooling system and alarm system.|
|Listed by: Semmler Pollard Properties|
What you could buy in Houston for $400,000 a year ago.
|When it comes to buying in Houston, it's all location, location, location.
In the tony inner loop of the city, $400,000 will generally buy a smaller, older home, says Stefanie Pollard, a partner with Semmler Pollard Properties. "If you go further out, you can get a McMansion for $400,000. You can travel for an hour, you're still in Houston, and you can get a huge house."
In the Houston area home prices were fairly level in 2008. The average home decreased six-tenths of one percent in value, according to the National Association of Realtors. The 2008 median home price is $151,600.
"People come in on relocation and say 'I'm going to get a bargain,'" Pollard says. "Well, not so much." Some neighborhoods that experienced 10 percent price drops started with high-end prices, "so a 10 percent drop is not the end of the world," she says. Some of the older established in-town neighborhoods may have a more limited supply than the suburbs.
"There are some bargains, but you really need to know the market," says Pollard. "You have to know what you're doing."