By Sissy Lappin, Prestige Properties, Houston, Editor.
A few weeks ago, a headline in Culture Map by Ralph Bivins read: “MANSION FEVER STRIKES H-TOWN Mansion fever grips the real estate market: Is a $200 million home on the way?”
As a high-end Houston Realtor with three decades of experience, and a sharp awareness of the market, I would tend to say yes to Mr. Bivin’s question. Judging by a recent housing trend initiated by Houston’s old money (or “dusty money,” as I like to call it)—we are looking at future inflation.
All around America, people who are more dependent on portfolio returns than the ups and downs of the economy are buying big-ticket real estate. Maybe these buyers are seeing great properties become more and more scarce, so they decide to buy now thinking these properties will not be there in the future. The number of high-end real estate properties available is finite, but my instinct tells me that these buyers have seen this cycle before, and they’re protecting their money by investing in assets that will appreciate under inflationary times.
If you were to look at the big sales in Houston’s River Oaks from 2012-2013, you’d never know that real estate had experienced a slump in 2008-2009. This recent cycle has brought out the dusty money, a group that tends not to participate in market frenzies. Feeling comfortable in the current, realistic market—where marketing is done on the Internet and prices are solidly grounded in the interests of the consumer—the dusty money has emerged in record numbers. Success leaves clues and if this group is preparing for inflation, my bet is it is coming.
The cover of Architectural Digest this month features a Houston Home (Ken Newberry, the architect; Kara Childress; interior designer; and architecture elements, Ruth Gay at Chateau Domingue). This beautiful home is another affirmation that Houston is the place to be.
Sissy Lappin is Prestige Properties Editor, Houston, for USDR. Learn more about her own firm here.