2021 R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N
Low inventory, interest rates catalyze ‘unprecedented’ market Mirroring state trends, area homebuyers outnumber sellers
The median sales price for homes in the Katy area has increased about 14% in the last year, a result of the high demand for homes. Real estate agents said as the demand outpaces the supply, the price of homes will go up.
BY MORGAN JONES & CLAIRE SHOOP Housing and real estate experts in the Katy area said in their decades-long careers they have never experienced market conditions like these. Described as unprecedented, unbelievably competitive and explosive, the real estate market is being driven by historically low inventory, record-low interest rates, and skyrocketing lumber and building material costs, Realtors and homebuilders said. “In almost 40 years of experience, I’ve never seen a market like this,” said Bill Lacy, mortgage production lead at nancial institution Independent Financial. “There simply never has been a market like this, ever. It is just exploding.” While this conuence of conditions is aecting the real estate market across the nation, Je Wiley, CEO of the Fort Bend Economic Development Council, said Fort Bend County has always been a desirable place to live due to its high-quality public schools,
amenity-rich communities and pro-business attitude.
MEDIAN SALES PRICES FOR HOMES IN THE KATY AREA +14%
“In good economic conditions or bad, Fort Bend [County] will be a magnet for growth as long as we keep our competitive and comparative advantage nationally and regionally,” he said. Lowhousing inventory In Wiley’s 17 years at the FBEDC, he said he has never seen the county’s housing inventory levels this low. Fort Bend County has had less than six months of housing inventory since October 2011, according to data from the Texas A&M University Texas Real Estate Research Center. Similarly, Harris County’s inventoryhas had fourmonths or less of housing inventory since January 2015. The center describes six months of inventory as a stable market. However, in May—the latest month with available data—the housing inventory reached 1.6 months in Harris County and 0.9 months in Fort Bend
$400K $350K $300K $250K $200K $150K $100K
SOURCE: HOUSTONPROPERTIES.COMCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
*DATA FOR 2021 IS THROUGH APRIL
“SO MANY PEOPLE ARE MOVING HERE FOR PERSONAL REASONS, POLITICAL REASONS, ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE, AND IT’S A PERFECT SCENARIO WHERE YOU HAVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS AT ONCE. IT’S ALL CONTRIBUTING TO THE SKYROCKETING COST AND DEMAND FOR HOMES." AMY LOOKABAUGH, CINCO RANCH REALTY GROUP REALTOR
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We’re bringing high-tech, high-touch care to patients. Our doctors and staff partner with you to understand your needs and work with you—not just on treatment, but also education and preventive care. Village Medical Primary Care Clinics are now open in the Katy area
Extended and weekend hours offered at some locations
To schedule an appointment or learn more VillageMedical.com
Several area locations to serve you:
Village Medical at Walgreens 1600 Jackson St., Suite 100
Village Medical at Walgreens 20675 FM 1093
Village Medical 15881 FM 529, Suite A Houston, TX 77095 Phone: 713-461-2915
Village Medical Memorial Clinical Associates 16001 Park Ten Pl. Houston, TX 77084 Phone: 713-407-3000
Village Medical 21820 Katy Fwy., Suite 200 Katy, TX 77449 Phone: 713-461-2915
Richmond, TX 77469 Phone: 713-461-2915
Richmond, TX 77407 Phone: 713-461-2915
HOUSTON METHODIST in Katy and West Houston
Convenient Locations — Close to Home Houston Methodist is growing to meet the needs of our community. We offer a full range of care across Katy and West Houston, including: • Primary and specialty physician offices, imaging, labs and physical therapy • Easy to access emergency care and transfer to Houston Methodist West Hospital, should you need it
Find a Location NEAR YOU
• A team of experts using the newest technologies • Personalized care tailored to your unique needs
And, with enhanced safety measures in place, you can rest assured your safety is our priority.
Visit houstonmethodist.org/katy-west to find a Houston Methodist doctor or location near you.
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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.
FROMAMY: Katy’s real estate market has been hot for many years. Great schools, a good business climate and easy access to the Energy Corridor have attracted buyers at higher rates than in other Houston areas. But the market has recently exploded with the prices of homes increasing and buyers competing for inventory. In this year’s Real Estate Edition, we ask local experts what led to this and what the future looks like for the Katy area. Amy Martinez, GENERALMANAGER
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FROMLAURA: For our Real Estate Edition, we worked hard to collect current real estate data in the Katy area— looking into rising home prices, low housing inventory and home improvement projects. Additionally, we included some updates on the Katy Boardwalk project—the highly anticipated mixed-use lakefront development near Katy Mills. Laura Aebi, EDITOR
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BE BLOWNAWAY by yOUR New Hometown. C A N E I S L A N D
New homes from the $400s
I-10 and exit Cane Island Pkwy North
Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding
reopening in mid-July after a pandemic- related closure. The mixed martial arts studio offers a variety of classes, including kickboxing, jiujitsu and a bridal boot camp class. The studio offers programs for both children and adults. Attendees can schedule their classes on the studio’s 5 Uplift Salon Spa Studios had its soft opening in early July at 805 FM 1463, Ste. 200, Katy. The new salon offers both hair and nail services for men and women—including haircuts, hair coloring, manicures and pedicures. 713-965-6107. https://upliftsalonspastudios.com 6 MVI Construction opened a brick-and-mortar location at 6819 Highway Blvd., Ste. 620, Katy, in May. MVI Construction specializes in roofing as well as exterior and interior remodeling services. 832-940-9200. https://mvi-construction.com website. 281-861-5430. https://fsmmafitness.com 7 CareBuilders at Home , a nationwide nonmedical care and home health care company, opened a location June 30 at 21408 Provincial Blvd., Katy. CareBuilders at Home offers services 24/7, allowing seniors to age with independence while remaining in their own homes. 832-219-1238. www.carebuilderstx.com COMING SOON 8 The Halal Guys is opening its first Katy location at 23703 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Ste. B, Katy, in August. The fast-casual restaurant will sell beef gyros, falafel, combo platters, baba ganoush and other American halal dishes. The Katy location will mark the restaurant’s seventh
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NOWOPEN 1 Painted Tree Boutiques opened its first Katy location at 6729 S. Fry Road in July. The boutique features hundreds of vendors under one roof selling items including gifts, decor and clothing. Painted Tree has two other boutiques in the Greater Houston area, with one in Sugar Land and the other in the Champions area of north Houston. 636-888-2667. www.paintedtree.com
3 Maika’i Hawaiian BBQ opened a new location at 23227 Mercantile Parkway, Ste. A-1, Katy, on July 14. The eatery sells Hawaiian dishes, including Kalbi short ribs, macaroni salad and chicken katsu. This will be the Maika’i Hawaiian BBQ’s fourth location and second in Katy. 832-437-0687 www.maikaihawaiianbbq.com 4 FS Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness , located at 2020 Katy Hockley Cut Off Road, Ste. 2D, Katy, celebrated a grand
2 Howdy Homemade Ice Cream opened a new location at 20920 Katy Freeway, Ste. S, Katy, on July 22. The ice cream shop’s mission is to support adults with disabilities by hiring, training and employing people with Down syndrome and autism. The new Katy location has been franchised by Trae Tha Truth, a popular Houston rap artist known locally for his philanthropic community engagement. 713-331-1950. www.howdyhomemadekaty.com
Stunning new apartment homes and amenities are now open at Eagle’s Trace, the premier senior living community in West Houston.
Don’t wait to learn more! Call 1-888-884-4174 for your free brochure.
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New Fort Bend County library
COURTESY HOWDY HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
Houston-area location, with other restaurants downtown and near the Texas Medical Center. www.thehalalguys.com 9 A new Charleys Philly Steaks location will open inside Walmart at 25108 Market Place Drive, Katy, in the next six months. The eatery sells a variety of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, loaded fries and fruit lemonades. www.charleys.com 10 Black Rock Coffee Bar is opening a Fulshear location toward the end of 2021 or early 2022. The national coffee shop sells roasted coffees, teas, smoothies and blended energy drinks. The drive-thru shop will be located in Fulshear’s Cross Creek Commons at the northwest corner of FM 1463 and South Fry Road. A Black Rock representative could not yet provide an 26440 FM 1093, Ste. 440, Richmond, in August. The nail spa will offer a variety of salon services including manicures, pedicures, facials and eyelash extensions. www.instagram.com/mayi_nails_katy 12 Dollar Zone , a new discount store, will open at 629 S. Mason Road, Katy, in the fall. The store will sell general and household merchandise at discounted prices. www.facebook.com/dollarzonekaty 13 Trinity Dental Centers is opening a new location at 24020 Clay Road, Ste. 106, Katy, in early August. Trinity Dental, which has more than a dozen locations in the Greater Houston area, offers general dental care as well as restorative and cosmetic dentistry services. www.trinitydentalcenters.com exact address. https://br.coffee 11 Mayi Nails Spa will open at 14 A new PostNet store will open at 23144 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Ste. B, Katy, in
late July or early August. The store will offer virtual and physical mailbox services as well as design, printing and shipping services. 832-451-0606. www.postnet.com SCHOOL NOTES 15 A topping-out ceremony was held at the new Houston Community College Katy campus on June 25, celebrating the final beam being placed at the top of the building. The community college is relocating its current Katy campus to a 24-acre tract of land at 22910 Colonial Parkway, Katy, directly across the street from the new University of Houston campus in Katy. www.hccs.edu/ locations/northwest-college/katy-campus IN THE NEWS 16 A groundbreaking on Fort Bend County’s newest library in Fulshear took place on July 19. The library, which replaced and expanded upon the Bob Lutts Fulshear Simonton Branch Library , is located in between Fulshear High School and the new Texas Heritage Parkway, according to Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers. As of July 15, the name of the library had not yet been decided. 281-633-4675. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us 17 An official opening for the new Waller County Courthouse Annex building took place in late June at 32225 U.S. Hwy. 90 Business, Brookshire. The building will house offices for several Precinct 4 entities, such as the justice of the peace. 281-375-5233. www.co.waller.tx.us
Cuenca has owned three ChoriBurgerTX food trucks, two of which are in Katy.
FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON The world of food trucks is not new to Katy resident Gabriel Cuenca. For several years, Cuenca has owned three ChoriBurgerTX food trucks, two of which are based in Katy with the third based in Houston. Now, with his passion for food and the community, Cuenca is embarking on a new adventure and opening El Patio at Mason , an outdoor food truck yard and bar that will be located at 1431 S. Mason Road, Katy. Cuenca expects to open it in September or October. “We’re seeing this concept of a fun, outdoor food truck space all over Texas, all over the U.S. and even in other countries, and we wanted to bring that here,” Cuenca said. The goal is to have about eight food trucks at a time so customers have the option to choose from American, Venezuelan, Mexican, Brazilian and other international cuisines, he said. The food trucks at El Patio at Mason might all be permanent, or some might be permanent while others keep rotating, Cuenca said. “We want to keep customers excited and provide dierent avors,” he said. El Patio at Mason will be open throughout the week, Cuenca said. The
food trucks will mainly serve lunch and dinner, but some may also be open for breakfast, he said. When preparing to open El Patio at Mason, Cuenca said he connected with owners of similar food truck yards in other cities to get ideas on how to make his business a place Katy residents enjoy. The seating at El Patio at Mason will include picnic tables and wooden decks, Cuenca said. In addition, El Patio at Mason will sometimes feature live entertainment. The venue also plans on featuring a beer and wine bar as well as a playground for children to make it a family-friendly experience. “Especially because of the pandemic, people are looking to enjoy the outdoors, have dierent foods and hear live music, so we want this to be a good option for people to get out,” Cuenca said. 713-298-9761 www.instagram.com/elpatioatmason
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CENTRAL GREEN PARK Sifu Whit McClendon, who has 35 years of kung fu and tai chi experience, leads a tai chi class at Central Green Park on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The class includes breathing exercises and a short-form ow. All skill levels and ages are welcome. 8:30-9 a.m. Free. Central Green Park, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy. 713-502-4925. www.centralgreenpark.com 29 LATIN THURSDAYS AT KATY VIBES Katy Vibes hosts a Latin night on Thursdays. The event features a DJ and drink specials. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. Katy Vibes, 24757 Katy Freeway, Katy. 832-437-2807. www.katyvibes.com AUGUST 07 FULSHEAR FARMERS MARKET The Fulshear Farmers Market takes place on Saturdays and features a wide variety of goods made, grown or produced within 200 miles of Fulshear. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. 9035 Bois D’Arc Lane, Fulshear. 713-703-4129. www.fulshearfarmersmarket.com
NAIL STRING ART PARTY BATTLEHOPS BREWING
BACK TO SCHOOL GLOWPARTY CENTRAL GREEN PARK
Brico Craft Studio is hosting a pop-up nail string art party at Battlehops Brewing. Attendees can select a stencil and can customize their projects with their favorite paint or stain and string colors as well as stringing design. 7-9 p.m. $45. Battlehops Brewing, 6801 Highway Blvd., Katy. 832-324-5284. www.battlehopsbrewing.com
A family-friendly back-to-school glow party at Central Green Park celebrates the upcoming school year while giving back. Katy Christian Ministries Crisis Center will accept donations of new teddy bears, blankets, underwear and clothes for students. 6-9 p.m. Free. Central Green Park, 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy. www.facebook.com/events/159383212759499
17 MONTHLY NETWORKING EVENT Houston-Katy Premier Professional Business Networking hosts guests the third Tuesday of the month at Texas Borders. 5:30-7 p.m. Free. Texas Borders Bar & Grill, 20940 Katy Freeway, Katy. www.facebook.com/inhouston- katy-premier-professional-business- networking-in-katy-164937790844
18 FAMILY STORY TIME: LETTERS ANDNUMBERS Families with children of all ages can enjoy stories, songs and action rhymes in-person at the library. Take-home crafts will be available at the end of the program. Free. Cinco Ranch Public Library, 2620 Commercial Center Blvd., Katy. 281-395-1311. www.fortbend.lib.tx.us
21 TAILPIPES & TACOS A monthly car cruise event with tacos, coee and prizes takes place on the third Saturday of each month at Tex-Mex restaurant Lupe Tortilla in Katy. The event will occur monthly through December. 8 a.m.-11 a.m. Free. Lupe Tortilla, 703 W. Grand Parkway S., Katy. 281-392-2322. www.carcruisender.com
Find more or submit Katy-area events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.
COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM
TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Roundabout plan should increase safety, decrease congestion
Fort Bend County ocials are implementing a new roundabout initiative in Precinct 3 to increase safety and ease congestion. As Precinct 3 becomes more dense, ocials are seeing more intersections with high crash rates or that lack a trac-control device and could use a trac- calming measure, said Robert Pechukas, manager of policy and administration with the precinct. Thus, the county is working to implement changes and prefer roundabouts for several reasons, Pechukas said. The design of a roundabout limits T-bone collisions, which improves safety as most of the remaining accidents are less-dangerous side swipes, Pechukas said. Additionally, signals are expensive to design and maintain. “Roundabouts cost about the same amount as a signal to design, but the maintenance aspect is nearly nonexistent,” Pechukas said. Roundabouts also naturally limit drivers’ speed since drivers are more likely to reduce their speed when traveling through a roundabout than when traveling through an intersection, Pechukas said. Finally, roundabouts are more ecient, Pechukas said. “What I mean by this is: Drivers aren’t constantly stopping and going,” he said. “Trac is at a constant ow, limiting trac jams—they still happen, but not as much—and easing congestion.” The county’s engineering department is actively working on the roundabout policy and meeting
OBRA D. TOMPKINS HIGH SCHOOL
Fry Road right-turn lane A right-turn lane will be constructed over the course of 60 days from Fry Road onto Katy Gaston Road. Timeline: fall 2021 Cost: $320,000 Funding source: County Assistance District No. 1
with developers to explain the precinct’s position, which is that Precinct 3 ocials want to avoid traditional intersections in favor of roundabouts moving forward, Pechukas said. The timeline for implementation is immediate, Pechukas said, noting two intersections—Pine Mill Ranch Drive at Pine Mill Landing Lane and Gaston Road at Northlight Lane—that will soon be converted to modular roundabouts. The modular roundabouts are manufactured by Vortex Roundabouts out of durable recycled plastic, Assistant County Engineer Chris Debaillon said. Each square foot of roundabout is made from more than 100 recycled one-gallon milk jugs, according to the company. The material has an estimated 50-year lifespan and is resistant to extreme weather conditions—such as high temperatures, according to Vortex. The roundabouts are intended to be used in situations where there will be few, if any, modications to the existing pavement, Debaillon said. “They come in premanufactured sections that are then bolted down
Pin Oak Road right-turn lane A right turn lane will be constructed over the course of 45 days from Pin Oak Road onto Katy Flewellen Road. Timeline: fall 2021 Cost: $230,000 Funding source: County Assistance District No. 10
to the pavement, which provides signicant cost and installation time savings,” Debaillon said. A timeline for the roundabouts is not yet available because the county is still in the development phase, Debaillon said, and is working with Vortex on manufacturing and installation options. The county estimates the total cost of each installation to be about $30,000 if no pavement needs to be modied, he said. Both projects will be funded by County Assistance District No. 10. The Pine Mill Ranch Drive at Pine Mill Landing Lane intersection will soon be converted into a modular roundabout. (Morgan Jones/ Community Impact Newspaper)
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JUNE 30. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT KTYNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Greenbusch Road project Greenbusch Road will be converted from a two-lane asphalt road into a three-lane concrete curb and gutter road from north of Gaston Road to Westheimer Parkway. Timeline: fall 2021-fall 2022 Cost: $7.4 million Funding source: 2013 Fort Bend County mobility bonds
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News from Fort Bend County, Harris County & Katy ISD
QUOTEOFNOTE “WE’VE DONE PRETTY GOOD ... BY SECURING $1.25 BILLION INPARTNER FUNDING. BUTWE HAVE
County approves vaccine outreach plan
KISDSTAAR results take a dip in 2021 The outreach will utilize public assistance funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Precinct 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage said. Multiple members of the public spoke out at the July 13 meeting against the initiative, claiming it is a form of government overreach. VACCINATION RATES Fort Bend County has a higher vaccination rate than other Texas counties, as of July 15. The state average for fully vaccinated residents ages 12 and up is 51.1%. of Fort Bend County is fully vaccinated. 65% SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT STATE HEALTH SERVICES COMMISSION/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Morales said the strategy should target specific pockets for vaccine outreach. “The density areas such as Sugar Land, even Richmond, Rosenberg, all those areas [are okay]; I’m seeing the more urbanized areas are fine,” he said at a July 6 meeting where the agreement was proposed. “It’s the rural areas and low- to moderate- income areas that are lacking.” In response, County Judge KP George said the county’s agreement should detail how exactly how the outreach will be accomplished. “We’ve noticed people who don’t have transportation,” he said. “There are a lot of issues we don’t see.”
FORT BEND COUNTY At their July 13 meeting, Fort Bend County commissioners approved conducting community vaccine outreach in a 3-2 vote. The outreach will aim to educate and encourage residents who are not fully vaccinated to do so. The approval came less than a month after the county announced its first documented case of the delta variant. Commissioners approved negotiations with Next Wave Strategies LLC, the firm that conducted outreach for the city of Houston, to work toward an outreach plan. Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent
A LONGWAY TOGO,” ALAN BLACK , INTERIM HCFCD EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS KATY ISD On June 28, the Katy ISD board of trustees reviewed several proposed attendance boundary modifications. Board members first reviewed a proposed boundary modification for Bryant Elementary School that would transition students who reside primarily in the Cane Island development to the future Elementary School No. 44. The board also reviewed a minor modification proposed to provide relief to Paetow High School and increase enrollment at Morton Ranch High School. KISD is seeking feedback about the proposed modifications until Oct. 8. Katy City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting is July 26 at 910 Ave. C, Katy. 281-391-4800. www.cityofkaty.com Katy ISD meets the third or fourth Monday each month at 5 p.m. The next meeting is July 26 at 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy. 281-396-6000. www.katyisd.org Harris County Commissioners Court usually meets Tuesday mornings twice a month. The next meeting is Aug. 10 at 1001 Preston Ave., Ste. 934, Houston. 713-755-5000. www.harriscountytx.gov Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meets at 1 p.m. the first, second and fourth Tuesdays each month. The next meeting is July 26 at 401 Jackson MEETINGSWE COVER
FUNDING GAP While the flood control district and Harris County commissioners have chipped away at the funding gap over several months, $951 million in unmet needs remains as of late June. SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Current flood-resilience trust Subdivision bond replenishment County resources Total: $489M $115M $166M $200M Bond contingency ($8M) Reimbursement
KATY ISD Spring 2021 standardized test results released June 28 by the Texas Education Agency show decreases in the percentage of Katy ISD students approaching grade level in nearly all subject areas when compared with spring 2019. Among the most notable declines was in seventh-grade math. In 2019, 81% of students were approaching grade level, but in 2021, it was 66%. KISD saw a more notable drop in students who were approaching grade level in fourth-grade math. In 2019, 86% were approaching grade level with 78% in 2021. Mirroring state trends, reading scores for KISD students had less sig- nificant decreases than math scores.
Mobility transfer through fiscal year 2030 $343M
Harris County creates flood-resilience trust HARRIS COUNTY At a June 29 meeting, Harris County commis- sioners established an $833 million flood-resilience trust to assess the $2.5 billion from outside partners. However, Harris County officials presented data in March revealing a $1.3 billion shortfall largely from a lack of partner funding. BY HANNAH ZEDAKER
funding gap the Harris County Flood Control District is facing in its 2018 $2.5 billion bond program. The bond was composed of $2.5 billion in district bonds plus
“We’ve done pretty good ... by securing $1.25 billion in partner funding. But we have a long way to go,” interim HCFCD Executive Director Alan Black said.
St., Richmond. 281-342-3411. www.fortbendcountytx.gov
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R E A L E S T A T E E D I T I O N 2021
MARKET AT AGLANCE All six ZIP codes in the Katy area are seeing similar trends as the rest of the state. For example, the average number of days a house is on the market has nearly halved since last year in some Katy-area ZIP codes. Additionally, all six ZIP codes saw increased average home sales prices from last year with the 77450 area leading the trend with a 13.79% increase.
SOURCE: SEE TIM SELLCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
AVERAGE HOME SALES PRICE June 2019-May 2020 June 2020-May 2021
June 2019-May 2020 June 2020-May 2021 AVERAGE DAYS ON THEMARKET
The Trails of Katy neighborhood is located just south of the Katy Freeway near Willow Fork Creek. Zoned to Katy ISD schools, homes in the Trails of Katy neighborhood range in size from 2,400-5,000 square feet with property lots ranging from 4,500-20,000 square feet. The average build-out year for the neighborhood is 2018 with average home prices landing in the mid-$400,000s. Schools: Bryant Elementary School, Woodcreek Jr. High School, Katy High School TRAILS OF KATY, 77494
Amenities: resort-style swimming pool, tennis courts, walking and biking trails
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City eyes late-summer opening for portion of Katy BoardwalkDistrict
Even during the pandemic, Katy Boardwalk District projects did not stop, Katy City Administrator Byron Hebert said. Katy ocials rst began discussing the project, located o of Kingsland Boulevard south of Katy Freeway near Katy Mills, in October 2015. Once completed, the district will feature a nature preserve, multifamily housing and a hotel. “The Katy Boardwalk District will be a game-changer for the area,” said Keith Dalton of KBH Ventures, the development team behind the district. “Katy Boardwalk District will be master planned as a hub for entertainment, community and culture anchored by the area’s rst full-service conference center hotel.” As for the long-awaited conference center, progress is being made—but much of it is behind closed doors. According to Dalton, the brand of the hotel and conference center will be announced as soon as an agreement is reached. “Our goal is to align with a trusted, well-known and highly regarded brand that will attract meetings, leisure travelers and events,” Dalton said. The city of Katy is working with KBH Ventures, the Katy Development Authority and the Katy Management District to bring the district to fruition. The KDA manages the projects, while the Katy Management District maintains them, Hebert said. Despite hurdles, the project has remained on track. “The pandemic presented some challenges that we had to work through—but we kept the project moving forward,” Hebert said in an email. Moving forward Boardwalk Lofts, the district’s residential element, is set to open in late summer, with preleasing in July. The complex, developed by Sueba USA, will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom oor plans tailored to active professionals, Dalton said. Hebert said the city will coordinate the opening of Phase 1 of the nature preserve with the opening of Boardwalk Lofts. The development of hotels paused during the
$5.2M in boardwalk and trail improvements $2.5M in road improvements
The district will boast 155,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space as well as about 60,000 square feet of oce space. (Renderings courtesy Katy Boardwalk District)
pandemic as hotel operators began to rethink the design of their conference centers, Dalton said. “As a result, the hotel and conference center at Katy Boardwalk District will be one of the rst built in Texas after the return of activity following COVID-19,” Dalton said. The project’s road system is in the second of three phases—which includes Lakeview Way and a portion of Boardwalk Drive. The third phase is under design. It will include the remaining portion of Boardwalk Drive, which will ultimately connect to Kingsland at Katy Fort Bend Road once the design is complete. Additionally, Hebert said the rst phase of the trail system around the district’s 90-acre nature preserve has been completed with the second phase still under design. The second phase will complete the trail system around the 80-acre lake. “Once Phase 2 is complete, wooden boardwalks and other pedestrian-friendly pathways will wind through the entire development to create a truly authentic experience,” Hebert said. Through the KDA, the city has spent $5.2 million in boardwalk, pond and trail improvements and $2.5 million in road improvements so far. The road improvements were funded by Metropolitan Transit
Authority of Harris County funds, Hebert said. Ultimately, the district will oer 155,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space. As for tenants, the district is still hammering out the details. “The impact of COVID-19 forced restaurants, bars and other entertainment destinations to pause any new projects and, in some cases, redesign their experiences,” Dalton said. “However, eorts will soon be underway to discuss opportunities at Katy Boardwalk District with potential tenants.” Regarding next steps, the city will continue working toward completing the trail and road systems. The KDA is working with KBH Ventures, and any future agreements or amendments would require approval from Katy City Council. “Boardwalk Lofts will play a key role in creating a vibrant setting for the project when it adds its restaurant and retail oerings,” Dalton said.
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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 SAVANNAH KUCHAR
Veronica Solomon created Casa Vilora Interiors in 2007. She has been featured on more than 10 nationally recognized design brands, including HGTV and Southern Living. WHAT SHOULD HOMEOWNERS CONSIDER WHEN THEY THINK ABOUT DESIGNING THEIR HOMES? The rst thing is to gure out their needs and the scope of work. Many times,
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Tim Sojka, owner of See Tim Sell, has sold real estate in West Houston for 15 years. Sojka and his team has sold more than $600,000,000 in real estate. WHAT SHOULD HOMEOWNERS ASK WHEN SELECTING A REALTOR?
WHAT IS THE MARKET LIKE IN KATY AND WHAT FACTORS ARE CONTRIBUTING TO IT?
clients have a lot to do but they may not be able to do it all at once—then, they do not know where to begin. They should make a wish list and prioritize. The next thing they should do is consult with a designer. These days, [clients] do not necessarily have to hire a designer for full service or for a huge project. Designers are happy to just do consultations, to help put a client on the right path and guide them through the decision-making process. HOW SHOULD HOMEOWNERS GO ABOUT SELECTING A DESIGNER? They should make sure they like the designer’s work. They can start by looking online. Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz are good sources. Once they identify designers they like, they should explore their websites. Designers are very transparent about how we work. They will nd that a lot of designers have those things on their websites. It will be a long term relationship with this person—so [clients should] be sure their personalities mesh, and the designer is knowledgeable and able to deliver what they want. WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE CHANGES SOMEONE CAN MAKE TO ADD TO THE VALUE OF THEIR HOME? Painting is a huge way to just add some freshness and make everything look newer. That is simple, not [super] expensive. Then, [organize] your space
Before they call a Realtor, they should see what kind of reputation they have. Look at their Google reviews and their [Houston Area Realtors] reviews—and they should look for somebody who has more than one review, because that [could be their] mom. When you meet with a Realtor, the rst question you should ask is, “How many deals have you done?” Then, “How many deals have you done in my neighborhood? Do you have experience in this price range?” A good Realtor should know these. “How many days on average are your homes on the market?” In this market, it’s like four. And then, “What would you say that your strengths and weaknesses are as a Realtor?” WHAT ARE THE NEIGHBORHOODS IN KATY THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT THE MOST RIGHT NOW? The question is not what neighborhood— it is really what master-planned community. A master-planned community will know where the schools are going to be, where the convenience stores are going to be. Master-planned communities are getting more popular: Cinco Ranch, Cross Creek Ranch, Elyson. Grand Lakes is still an amazing neighborhood even though it has been sold out for years. The thing I like about Katy’s master-planned communities is they have all had their day in the sun and they all excel for dierent reasons.
I’ve been doing this for 15 years. It’s the strongest market we’ve ever had. Flooded with buyers, and we’re bereft of adequate inventory. Katy, of all the major suburbs, probably has the easiest transportation to and from Houston. Katy has the best school district, and the best marketed school district in the Houston area. When people have kids—they move to Katy. People are moving from other states because real estate isn’t available there. It isn’t available here either—but [if] they nd it, it’s a lot cheaper. People move because they aren’t happy in their state— and Texas is business friendly. Next, people don’t want to live in apartments anymore. Homes have more intrinsic value than ever before—having to stay home has shown that. DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO SELL THEIR HOMES RIGHT NOW? Price it as close as you can to a hard number. Most homes are selling above list price, and you want to make the home as easy to nd as possible by pricing it at $450,000 instead of $460,000. The way search engines are set up—multiples of 50 and 100 matter. Price your home on a hard number. If your Realtor advises you to price at $399,000—re them.
and [get] rid of things that do not show the home in its best light. Go through pantries and closets. Take the time to scale back. Figure out a good way to lay out your furniture. Proper trac patterns, showing the square footage of the home, are important. They do not want furniture that is too small or large for the space—they just want something that will make the space look bigger. When someone is going to sell a home, arranging furniture is a key thing to do. WHAT DECOR ITEMS CAN HELP THE MOST IN MAKING A ROOM LOOK FINISHED? Artwork on the walls and lling bookcases with books. I will see people put a whole bunch of accessories on bookcases. Books should be a part of a bookcase—as the name implies. It looks warmer and homier—and pillows are wonderful. I like them in asymmetrical ways—such as two on one side and one on the other. Then, I suggest putting something on the tabletops. I usually do a nice arrangement on a tray—that way, the tray can be picked up and moved if space is needed. Accessories play a major role in bringing in personality, Veronica Solomon said. (Courtesy Veronica Solomon)
Veronica Solomon Owner Casa Vilora Interiors 6193 Hwy. Blvd., Ste. 207, Katy 281-751-7552 www.veronicasolomon.com
See Tim Sell Property Group 23228 Red River Drive, Katy 877-313-7355 www.seetimsell.com
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