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Houston continues to rapidly expand

August 26, 2014

When Forbes revealed its list of America's 20-fastest-growing cities, Texas came away with three of the nation's top 10. Austin was first, Dallas took fourth and Houston came in at No. 10.

Low unemployment levels paired with strong economical growth propelled those cities into their lofty status, according to Forbes, and the population soared thanks to the Lone Star State providing a highly educated job market, a business-friendly regulatory environment and no state income tax.

Houston is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.
That's why it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Houston posted its best ever home sales month in July. The city recorded 7,769 home sales of residential real estate, according to Culture Map.

Chaille Ralph, chair of the Houston Association of Realtors, told Culture Map that Houston is on the rise for several reasons.

“We are enjoying a steady resupply of housing inventory with proportionate sales and pricing gains, all of which translates to a very healthy real estate market,” Ralph said.

July sales increased 1 percent year over year, topping what was the best ever sales total for Houston real estate sales. Culture Map reported Houston's climb among the nation's fastest-growing cities started roughly three years ago, and it has continued due to low mortgage rates and job creation.

Houston housing by the numbers

The median price of single-family homes in the Houston metro area increased 7 percent to $202,000 in July, which is still relatively affordable compared to some of the nation's other major markets.

The city currently has a three-month supply of homes, which is considered a tight market for inventory. Typically, a six-month supply is a balanced market that equally favors buyers and sellers. As Ralph revealed, more homes have made their way onto the market this summer, relieving some of the tight supply issues experienced earlier in the year.

Foreign buyers like Houston

One reason for the surge in home sales around Houston has been its popularity among overseas buyers.

“They [foreign buyers] see the U.S. as a place of economic stability, they see value in our market and view it as a positive place to invest their dollars,” Danny Hertzberg, sales associate with The Jills Coldwell Banker, told MarketWatch. “In many places, it's a hedge against their currency.”

Houston was considered the seventh most popular U.S. city for drawing interest among foreign buyers. Los Angeles and Miami took the top two spots on the list, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Houston has it's detractors

But unlike some of its neighboring cities throughout the state, such as San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, Houston sits close to the Gulf of Mexico, making it liable to be hit by severe weather stemming from hurricanes. According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners in Texas are paying the most for homeowners insurance policies. along with residents from Florida and Louisiana. Those three states are all coastal states with above-average claims for water and wind damage.

Because of the weather risks, prospective homebuyers in Houston should consider all of their home insurance options before buying a home. While it can be tricky to nab the perfect plan, SelectQuote Auto & Home provides homeowners a comparison shopping tool from a dozen of the nation's premier insurance providers.

InCharge, a debt solutions site designed to help veterans, said homeowners in high-risk weather regions will pay more for insurance premiums and coverage availability, and when living in a high-risk zone, it is extra important to make sure you have the right insurance. According to a Marshall & Swift/Boeckh, many homeowners are lacking proper insurance coverage, as more than 60 percent of homeowners in the U.S. are underinsured.