Single People Need to Make at Least $29 an Hour to Afford Rent in Houston, According to Zillow

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Zillow interactive map

If you're single and renting in Houston, you better be gettin' those dolla dolla bills, yo. About $29 an hour, in fact.

According to a new interactive map and study from the real estate gurus at Zillow, single-earners need to make about $29.56 per hour in order to afford the median rental price in Houston.

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Things We'd Like to Buy With the $58 Million Katy ISD Is Spending on a Second Football Stadium

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Katy ISD
Rhodes Stadium

So, in case you haven't heard, Katy ISD is about to spend $58 million bucks building a massive new 12,000-seat football stadium. It will be the second football stadium for the district, and will be built right across from Rhodes Stadium, which already seats 9,768 people.

While we understand the importance high school football has with Texans, that's still a ton of high school football dough.

But as expensive as that seems to us, it's still less than the $69.5 million in stadium funds they were shooting for in last year's bond package. The district didn't rally enough support for that controversial bond amount, though, and the measure failed, presumably because the construction of that more expensive stadium accounted for about 70 percent of the package.

Shaving that cool $11 mil off the price tag apparently did the trick to pass this year's bond package, though, which squeaked by with approval from 55 percent of voters last month, despite vocal opposition from parts of the community.


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Pet Alligator Confiscated From Galveston Back Yard

Categories: Surreal Estate

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Photos courtesy of the Galveston Police Department

We've always thought those "Beware of Alligator" signs are obviously tongue-in-cheek warnings that are never meant to give notice of a real live alligator. Otherwise, every cluttered chain restaurant in the nation has some 'splaining to do about what they're housing in their back alleyways.

But on Monday, a Galveston Animal Control Officer stumbled across such a sign posted on the fence of a home on 47th Street and took it at face value.

Good thing he did.

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Salon Article Thinks Upper Kirby Is an Example of "Monstrous Gentrification" in Houston

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Katie Haugland via Flicker Creative Commons

Guys, we have something very serious to discuss with you about the city of Houston. And what is that issue, you ask? Well, it's the monstrous gentrification of Upper Kirby.

No, we're not kidding. Not one bit.

Those claims were made by local writer and resident Anis Shivani in a recent Salon article on the gentrification of central Houston in which he calls the area around Alabama and Kirby not only the most desirable area in the city, but also one of the most stark examples of gentrification in the city.

According to the whopping 4,000-word article, the gentrification of central Houston has turned the area into an "exclusive playland for the rich," and Houston itself has "transmogrified into a city ruled by a brutal strain of neoliberalism."

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Charity that Builds Custom Homes for Wounded Veterans Once Again Facing Fraud Allegations

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Helping A Hero Gala Invite 2014

When Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Lathan returned home from his second tour in Iraq, finances were tight. Lathan had been severely injured in Balad, Iraq in 2006 when 155mm rounds blew apart the Humvee he was riding in, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury, cognitive disorders, PTSD, and knee, back, and hip problems. The young soldier, who had a wife and young child, could no longer work.

The family struggled without Lathan's income, and money became an even bigger problem when Lathan's wife Sarah, who became breadwinner after his injuries, had to resign from her job to have heart surgery. Saddled with car and mortgage payments, the Lathans worried constantly about how to make ends meet.

But everything changed in September 2012, when Helping a Hero, a local nonprofit group that builds custom homes for veterans that have suffered severe injuries in war, contacted Sgt. Lathan. The charity's director, Meredith Iler, offered to build the Lathans a 2,400 square foot home with four bedrooms in exchange for a small mortgage, $50,000 over 10 years at 3.5 percent. It was a home they could better afford, and it seemed like the answer to their problems.

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City Gets $300,000 for Illegally Removed Oak Trees on Kirby

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Remember those massive oak trees that were illegally removed in front of the Wendy's off Kirby a few weeks ago? You know, the ones that triggered a massive uproar after they were chopped down in the middle of the night illegally.

Well, the City of Houston is about to get those dolla, dolla bills, y'all. The issue has already been settled, and to the tune of a $300,000 settlement, no less.


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Weather Channel Advises Not Buying That Galveston Dream Home

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Photo from Library of Congress
Basically, the Weather Channel is wary of Galveston because of stuff like this -- and this is just a sample of the destruction from the 1900 hurricane.

Somewhere in Galveston County, officials must be smacking their foreheads in exasperation over the latest bit with Galveston. Namely, the Weather Channel's recently-compiled list of the 50 worst places to own a home based on natural factors. Galveston made it into the top 10, ranking eighth on the list.

This may come as a surprise to those with short memories, but it can't be much of a shock to those who, well, know anything at all about the history, both recent and long past, of Galveston. Basically, despite the best efforts of many people to make Galveston into something important -- a center for trade, the constant New Orleans-style Mardi Gras of the Texas Coast, whatever -- nature has always stepped in and smacked such aspirations down so hard it almost slapped Galveston back in time.

Way back when in 1900, Galveston was the "Octopus of the Gulf" (because it was a huge commercial port and a remarkably prosperous area) and it looked like things were only going to get better for those living there. It was even thought that Galveston would win a contest to get a deep water port, permanently turning Houston into an overlooked little sister of a city.


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Plans for the Controversial Freeland District Development Are Back, Sort Of

Categories: Surreal Estate

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Surge Homes

Remember those controversial plans to build a massive condominium complex in the Freeland Historic District in the Heights? Well, they appear to have been resurrected -- at least in part, anyway.

A bright red sign touting a "future development" from Surge Homes went up earlier this week along the south side of the Heights hike-and-bike trail, just south of the Freeland Historic District, according to Swamplot.

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All of Houston's Nationally Ranked "Top ZIP Codes" Are Kinda White

Categories: Surreal Estate

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Another day, another Houston-centric list.

Our fair city has earned its way onto quite a few lists as of late, thanks to all the attention being paid to our growth and steady job market. The latest Houston nod comes courtesy of a California real estate blog, Movoto, and a list of the "Best ZIP Codes in America."

Movoto recently ranked the top ZIP codes in the nation by looking at a few factors -- median household income, unemployment rate, average commute time, median rent, median house value, poverty levels and education -- and landing in the top 100 of those spots are six -- count 'em, six -- of Houston's ZIP codes.

And while those ZIP codes -- 77005, 77401, 77046, 77024, 77056 and 77030 -- may indeed be centrally located, there's a bit of an issue with that "Best ZIP" moniker. You see, all of the neighborhoods that made it onto Movoto's list are not only high on the median rent and home value scales, they are also predominantly white. Like, really really white.

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Houston's Surviving Landmarks

Categories: Surreal Estate

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons
The former Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston's Fifth Ward.

The planned demolition of former Wheatley High School in the Fifth Ward started in September was stalled yet again on Monday, this time after a resident sued Houston ISD over concerns about asbestos. Previously, preservationists had fought the district's plans to replace the historically black, 1929 school with a modern, smaller version, but HISD put a bulldozer-sized hole in the side of the building anyway before a judge ordered a halt to the razing. The temporary respite is just that though -- the building is coming down one way or another, going the way of countless other sites throughout Houston history that may have been proposed for landmarking had owners only known what to do with them.

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