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The annual March Madness Analysis: What LightBox commercial real estate data reveals about Houston, TX

LightBox Profile
LightBox Insights
March 15, 2023 3 mins

From March 31 through April 3, Houston, Texas, will for the fourth time host the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament. The last time the city hosted the tournament was in 2016 at the NRG Stadium.

Houston is home to three major sports franchises: The Astros (baseball), the Rockets (basketball), and the Texans (football). The city has long been a key center of American space exploration. NASA’s Johnson Space Center has served as a hub of spaceflight for more than half a century and is home to the nation’s astronaut corps, the International Space Station mission operations, and the Orion Program. Houston is also home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center, which performs more than 180,000 surgeries each year, including 13,800 heart operations.

Several recent studies show Houston at the top of the list in the U.S. for ethnic and racial diversity. The city has no ethnic majority and nearly one-in-four residents are foreign born, making by Houston by many standards the most diverse city in the U.S.

Houston is part of the Super Sun Belt, a subgroup of markets including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, and San Antonio within the Sun Belt region, which stretches across 18 states in the Southeast and Southwest. It has a population of 7.42 million people, the fifth largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the U.S. Projected population growth is 1.4 percent. The population is among the youngest in the U.S.: 36 percent of metro area residents are under the age of 25 and the largest percentage of adults (15.1 percent) are age 25 to 34, according to research from the Greater Houston Partnership. 

The city has two key market advantages: housing affordability and a strong population. Three top concerns are high inflation (a 6.4 percent CPI increase), increased business costs (six percent PPI increase) and decreased construction volume.

Rankings based on information from the PwC | ULI: 2023 Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report, Greater Houston Partnership, and the LightBox EDR ScoreKeeper model. Among U.S. cities, Houston is:

  • No. 14 for overall real estate prospects, up from No. 24
  • No. 8 for homebuilding prospects
  • Among the top 25 largest data center markets in North America
  • Among the top 25 emerging markets for life sciences
  • The 10th largest market for Phase I environmental site assessments in 2022
  • 5,700 properties in Houston underwent Phase I ESAs in 2022

Property-level data from LandVision

  • NRG Park is comprised of four venues: NRG Center, NRG Arena, NRG Stadium, and NRG Astrodome, sitting on 357 acres of land. NRG Stadium has a capacity of 71,795
  • It is located in the Houston—The Woodlands—Sugar Land MSA, in Houston’s “inner loop” on Kirby Drive at the South Loop West Freeway (I-610)
  • The park is owned by Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation

Commercial real estate data from LandVision and LightBox RCM

  • Approximately 950 real estate loans within a three-mile radius of the park will come due during the next 12 months
  • More than 100 commercial properties within a three-mile radius of the park, totaling more than 1.1 million square feet, were sold during the past 12 months
  • Among commercial property listings in the RCM database for the Houston MSA, the city is ranked in the top 10 based on the number of confidentiality agreements—totaling nearly 33,000—executed by investors in 2022
  • Top four asset types listed in RCM in 2022 were multifamily, retail office, and industrial, representing approximately 80 percent of Houston listings
  • There are approximately 22,000 qualified investors/buyers interested in buying CRE in the Houston MSA
  • Houston is the No. 10 MSA for all property asset types and No. 4 for multifamily assets based on investor acquisition criteria

Commercial real estate appraisals YTD from (January 1, 2023–February 28, 2023) + Y/Y

$ Appraisal Fees Awarded$440k-53%$920k
# Awards125+-42%250+
% of Industrial21%+3.6%17%
% of Office14%-3.1%17%
% of Retail-Commercial20%-5.3%25%
% of Shopping3%-0.9%4%
% of Multifamily8%-0.2%8%

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