1. Hufsmith Road corridor ripe for single-family development in Tomball
The northeastern quadrant of the city of Tomball has nearly 200 homes slated within new communities, according to proposed site plans for four single-family developments.
Tomball Heights, Grand Junction and Timber Trails are proposed for the Brown-Hufsmith Road corridor. Additionally, Yaupon Trails broke ground in 2016 and is now complete.
“It’s certainly exciting for the city because it’s a number of different offerings for the community from a housing standpoint,” City Manager Rob Hauck said.
The four communities bring different types, sizes and prices of homes as well as subdivision sizes, Hauck said.
Timber Trails is zoned as a planned development district, giving the developer flexibility in lot sizes and additional amenities, City Planner Amelia Lindley said in an email.
“[Yaupon Trails] certainly proved the need for new house offerings in Tomball when you look at how quickly it was developed and how quickly it sold out,” Hauck said.
He said he believes the Hufsmith corridor is attractive to developers because of its proximity to Tomball ISD schools, Lone Star College-Tomball, medical care and Old Town.
“That whole corridor—the fact that there’s available land [is attractive],” Hauck said. “I really believe that people want to live in this community but they need a variety of housing options.”
2. Lower home prices debut
Construction is ongoing for multiple communities in Tomball and Magnolia, featuring home prices below $250,000.
Williams Trace broke ground in 2018 with home prices starting in the $170,000s, according to builder LGI Homes.
“Most of our buyers are first-time homebuyers. We see a good number of young families and couples,” LGI Homes Project Manager Clint Williams said. “We provide an affordable monthly payment, so young homeowners can fulfill their dream of owning a home rather than renting an apartment."
Likewise, Century Communities, a builder within Mostyn Springs in Magnolia, starts home prices in the $180,000s, Houston Marketing Manager Lauren Pence said. Build-out is slated for summer 2021.
“Mostyn Springs is attract to first-time homebuyers that desire the lifestyle and convenience of The Woodlands but are unable or unwilling to pay the premium to live there,” Century Communities Division President Chris Chew said in a statement.
Additionally, Tomball Heights plans to break ground in July to help meet the need for affordable starter homes, MHW Marketing Director Jessica Stark said. Home prices are slated to range from $190,000 to $220,000.
3. Appraisal protest numbers rise as home values climb in Montgomery County
The number of appraisal protests in Montgomery County is on the rise as home values climb, said Tony Belinoski, chief appraiser for the Montgomery Central Appraisal District.
Residential property values in Montgomery County rose 11.1% from 2015-19, according to MCAD data, and the number of protests rose 26% during that time.
“Anytime you have values increasing, the number of protests are going to increase. Let’s face it: People don’t want to pay property taxes,” Belinoski said.
However, the number of appraised properties is also increasing as the county’s population grows, he said. MCAD appraised 8.2% more properties in 2019 than in 2015, MCAD data shows.
“As the population grows, and the number of new residential subdivisions that are added every year, well that’s another property that can protest for that year,” Belinoski said.
The simultaneous growth in property appraisals and home values is a standard trend across the state, he said, particularly in years with a legislative session—such as 2019—which draws attention to property values.
“With 2019 being a legislative session, and property taxes were a big thing there, that got it out in the news. It brought attention to property values, and that typically contributes to the spike in appraisal protests,” Belinoski said.