Home values are on the rise, while home inventory decreases
Over the next four years, Katy is expected to add nearly 50,000 people to its community, creating a need for more homes and for schools to be ready for the additional students. Today, more than 269,000 people live in the Katy area, drawn mainly by the reputation of Katy ISD, followed closely by the I-10 expansion and proximity to Houston’s Energy Corridor. The increase in population has led to an influx in home sales and growth in Katy’s largest subdivisions, according to area Realtors.
Katy ISD now has about 62,000 students attending 54 schools, including 35 elementary schools, 13 junior hight and six four-year high schools. Enrollment in the same 10-year span has mirrored that of the population—an increase of about 87 percent from the more than 33,000 students that were in the district in 2000, according to a school district report.
“This phenomenal growth is projected to continue, fueled by Katy ISD, energy companies and corporations, businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Lance LaCour, president and CEO of the Katy Area Economic Development Council.
Businesses have also found a home in Katy. Aided by a multiyear strategic economic development plan implemented by the EDC, nearly 9,500 jobs have been created and more than $1 billion in capital investments made in the last 10 years.
Fueling both the population and job growth has been the opening of Katy facilities by Texas Medical Center staples like Texas Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann.
“It’s no accident that they have located where they are,” Ann Hodge, CEO of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce said. “They have truly become the epicenter of the growth.”
More people moving into the area has meant steady work for Realtors with home inventory down in Katy as a result.
Cinco Ranch, the largest master-planned community in Katy, continues to be one of the most asked-about places to live, said Bob Miles, a broker associate with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. Over In that same area, Green Trails and Grand Lakes have also been popular, he said.
The biggest influx of people belongs to the Southwest part of Katy, where Firethorne and Cross Creek Ranch have been developed.
“Katy is definitely a seller’s market,” said Lu Haas, vice president of sales at Coldwell Banker United. “When a house goes on the market, we see multiple offers and houses selling for over asking price.”
Demand has also reduced home inventory, or the amount of time a home is on the market, to 3.1 months, Haas said. Realtors would like to see five months of inventory, she said.
Homes are also going for higher prices. In July, the median sales price for a home in Katy was $215,000, up 15 percent from July 2011, according to data from the Houston Association of Realtors.
Aside from sales, a hot trend over the past couple of years has been the rental market. As a result of the economic downturn, Miles said people have been unable to get loans or do not want to go through the somewhat painful process of getting a loan.
“We will see a really nice rental come on the market, and is gone immediately,” Miles said. “Katy has always been a seller’s market, but that rental market has occupied more of my time than I saw coming.”
Katy’s growth is showing no signs of stopping. The Katy Area Economic Development Council estimates 319,000 people will live in the Katy area in the next four years, with that number increasing to more than half a million by 2037.
Growth is expected to happen just about everywhere in Katy, but especially in the City of Katy, Grand Parkway and the Fulshear area, LaCour said.
However, in order to make that work, he said the city will need to continue its plans for major infrastructure such as the expansion of the Grand Parkway and the Willow Fork Drainage Park Plan, which is 5,700 acres of drainage channels and easements that is slated for trails connecting neighborhoods to schools as well as parks.
In addition, plans for housing development will need to continue in order to accommodate the expected increase in student enrollment within Katy ISD.
A study done in October 2011 for the school district by College Station-based Population and Survey Analysts predicted annual student growth rates between 2.63 percent and 4.07 percent over the next decade. That could push enrollment to 72,500 students by 2016, and 85,900 students by 2021.
Housing would need to meet that population influx. The study said there should be about 5,900 multifamily units and 15,300 single-family units added to the district in the next 10 years.
Part of that inventory is expected to come from the continued build-out of master-planned communities including Churchill Farms, Cinco Ranch, Cross Creek Ranch, Firethorne, Pine Mill Ranch, Ventana Lakes, Morton Creek Ranch and Waterstone.
“With this type of rapid growth, we need the infrastructure in place, or the growth will come to a screeching halt,” Hodge said.