Let’s be honest: It’s really difficult to find the perfect location for your home. Not only can location determine the architectural parameters and limitations of your home, but you’ve actually got to like the look and feel of the neighborhood. Plus, there are even more factors to consider, such as the school district, commute to your job, the possibility of flooding, home appreciation (or depreciation), culture and more.
Luckily, Frankel Building Group has built in many of Houston’s top neighborhoods. We are intimately familiar with why our customers are interested in those areas, what kinds of people typically build there in 2020 and what makes them want to stay there for a long time.
Below, you’ll find our eight best neighborhoods to build and/or live in Houston, why we chose these stellar communities and who’d be a perfect fit for that community.
Why this neighborhood: Kicking off our list is one of our favorite neighborhoods in Houston, West U. Technically a city rather than a neighborhood of Houston, West U — formally called West University Place — is the perfect location to raise a family in the city. Not only are its schools some of the top-rated ones in Houston Independent School District, but also the crime rate is one of the lowest in the nation. You are also minutes away from some of Houston’s top locales, including Hermann Park, the Museum District, the Texas Medical Center, Rice University and more.
Not to bury the lede, but West U was actually named the best city to live in America in 2018 and 2019 by 24/7 Wall Street. Although you may not believe it, West U gives residents that small-town feel, even though it’s smack dab in the middle of America’s fourth-largest city. In the evenings, it’s not uncommon to see residents lounging in their yards, watching the kids swing from a great oak tree. It really is that kind of community, and it’s dubbed The Neighborhood City for a reason
Average home value: $2.2 million
Perfect for: Raising a family in the city
Why this neighborhood: If you’re looking to get out of the city, but still want to have those metropolitan amenities within arm’s reach, then Memorial is perfect for you. Nestled in between the Energy Corridor to the West and Downtown Houston to the East, Memorial has become the prime spot for a more private, quieter home life. It’s also zoned to Spring Branch ISD and Katy ISD, two top-quality school districts in the Houston area.
In terms of perks, Memorial is chock-full of them. Within the community itself, there’s Memorial City Mall and CityCentre, a highly walkable shopping center. Minutes away, you’ll find the Galleria, which needs no introduction.
Average home value: $497,000
Perfect for: Inbetweeners of city and suburb
Why this neighborhood: Spring branch is huge. It extends from 610 all the way to the Beltway, so there’s lots of room to build. Because it’s right above Memorial, the two neighborhoods have very similar benefits, but astoundingly, the homeowner profile is quite different.
Spring Branch’s history begins a couple of decades before the city of Houston’s. In the 1800s, it was solely a German community. In recent years, it’s become one of the most diverse areas in all of Houston. This has made it perfect for city dwellers who still want the rich diversity that the city has to offer — but with a larger plot of land. Even the homes are rich in diversity. We’ve recently built a private art gallery for one client, and in the backyard of another client’s home, we created a bocce ball court.
It’s a real Goldilocks, Spring Branch. Not too far from the city, but also far enough to where you don’t feel congested. It’s juuuust right.
Average home value: $462,000
Perfect for: People who love Houston’s diversity but want a bigger lot
Why this neighborhood: A better question is: Why not The Heights? Once established as a “heightened” haven from mosquitos in a time when yellow fever and cholera were rampant, The Heights is now considered a significant historic landmark for the city. The neighborhood — with its charming bungalows that remind us of a bygone era with highly walkable streets — provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of Downtown, Midtown and Montrose.
Because the neighborhood is a historically protected area by the city, there are fairly strict design guidelines for whoever decides to build, whether it be a home or a business. There are four main home designs:
- The Craftsman
- Queen Anne
- Folk National
- Folk Victorian
Today, despite the numerous townhomes that have begun to dot the historic Heights landscape, the bungalows still reign supreme. The neighborhood is still highly walkable, and even more businesses have begun to set up shop. The Heights is perfect for just about anyone, especially an aficionado for turn-of-the-century architecture.
Average home value: $813,899
Perfect for: Bungalow-loving city dwellers who want to walk around their neighborhood and visit local shops
Why this neighborhood: Also technically a city, Bellaire is just a stone’s throw away from Downtown — as well as Meyerland Plaza, Greenway Plaza, The Galleria, and Rice Village, just to name a few. The location, a few minutes west of the aforementioned West U, is ideal for families looking for a bit bigger of a lot than what they would get in West U. So, what residents lose in terms of centrality, they gain back in space!
In addition, the Bellaire/Meyerland area has a strong Jewish community, with notable locations such as the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
Average home value: $953,490
Perfect for: City dwellers who also want a bigger lot
Why this neighborhood: Now, we’re in the heart of Houston. The Museum District is the city’s cultural and artistic epicenter. With so many amenities and entertainment options, it’s almost impossible to list them all here. A few of our favorites include:
- 19 museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Children’s Museum of Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Menil Collection, the Houston Zoo, and more.
- 445-acre Hermann Park, featuring an outdoor theater, golf course, running trails and green space.
It’s important to note that you’re losing acreage if you build in the Museum District, but you’re gaining so much in amenities: the walkability, the centrality, the culture. Everything you love about Houston is within an arm’s reach.
Average home value: $1.2 million
Perfect for: Arts and culture lovers who want to be right in the action
Why this neighborhood: It’s hard to find a reason not to like the Tanglewood area. While it sits just outside the 610 Loop, you wouldn’t even know it if you’re looking for that “in the loop” convenience. It provides a woody escape to city residents without being too far away from Houston’s best amenities.
And besides having one of the land value appreciation rates in Houston, it’s housed some big-name residents that back its top-neighborhood reputation, including Joel Osteen and Barbara and George H. W. Bush. If you’re looking for a top-flight neighborhood with residents to match, Tanglewood is the perfect place.
Average home value: $1.6 million
Perfect for: A woodsy, secluded home that’s still close to the city
Photo Credit: Elaine Mesker Garcia
Why this neighborhood: Some say this area is the crème de la crème of real estate. The name alone carries with it a rich history, as it’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the U.S., and its residents have shaped this city’s history in major ways.
It’s one of the most spectacular displays of “old money” in Houston, with historic mansions dominating the oak-filled landscape. However, with so many new constructs being built in the area, new residents are finding novel ways to make their mark on such a prestigious neighborhood.
It’s also a hotbed for shopping and entertainment, including the River Oaks District, the Landmark River Oaks Theatre, and some of Houston’s hottest restaurants, such as State of Grace, La Griglia and Brasserie 19.
While some areas of Houston may come and go, River Oaks is evergreen.
Average home value: $2.2 million
Perfect for: Prestige real estate hunters
You can see how it can be a little tricky to pick just one top neighborhood in Houston. In 2020, choosing where you want to live in the nation’s most diverse city is more than just the commute. There’s a lot you’ve got to consider, but if you do your research and find a lot in a community you like, then you’re one step closer to having that dream home you’ve always wanted.