West Houston, Texas Newcomers Guide

Boxcar House West HoustonThinking about moving to Houston? At over 650 square miles, you could put New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami inside the City of Houston’s boundaries and still have room for Washington, D.C.!1 That’s a lot of ground to cover, and if you’re new to the area, take a tip from the locals and approach your quest for a new hometown by dividing Houston into manageable areas. This Newcomers Guide is your introduction to West Houston, an area that includes the vibrant cities of Katy, Richmond and, at its westernmost point, Fulshear. Within West Houston, you’ll find charming neighborhoods, several new master-planned communities, a dazzling array of retail shopping centers, world-class medical facilities, top-rated public and private schools, dining, entertainment, recreation and cultural attractions. You’ll also find one of America’s healthiest economies, complete with Fortune 500 company headquarters, the booming Energy Corridor and visionary start-ups. West Houston is an exciting place and it’s waiting to welcome you home.

A Quick Bit of History

Richmond Police Department West HoustonHouston was founded in 1836 by the Allen Brothers along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. They named it in honor of General Sam Houston, the hero of the Battle of San Jacinto and first President of the Republic of Texas. The Allens promoted their city as a thriving port and the commercial center of the Gulf Coast, and began selling land for a $1 an acre. Thrive it did, eventually becoming America’s third-largest ocean port. Railroads also played a role in Houston’s growth, linking gulf ports with inlands cities to the north. Of course, no history of Houston is complete without mentioning the City’s role as a major center for the oil and gas industry beginning around the turn 20th century, or the aerospace industry in the 1960s. Today, Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. and one of the fastest growing, but it remains steeped in its rich history and darned proud of it.

Relocating to West Houston

Cyclist West HoustonSome of Houston’s most preferred neighborhoods are in the West Houston area, offering proximity to shopping, services, good schools and jobs, good weather, low utility rates, and safe, family-friendly environments -- in short, all the things that make a place attractive to newcomers and long-time residents alike. This quick overview of Katy, one of West Houston’s primary municipalities, is a good indicator of what you can expect throughout West Houston:

•  Katy.
With a population of just under 15,000 Katy offers a small-town ambience and a high percentage of residents with bachelor degrees. The annual household income is $109,100, with local jobs evenly mixed between white- and blue collar.2 AreaVibe.com ranks Katy as “Extremely Livable,” and gives it an 81, citing the low cost of living, lots of area amenities, sunny weather and high income per capita.3 Katy has earned national recognition as a highly desirable hometown with relatively low home prices, well-established neighborhoods, excellent medical facilities, proximity to good jobs and well-respected schools that factor heavily into the city’s popularity and helped earn Katy a #1 ranking from the Gadberry Group in 2012 as “the most dynamic high-growth suburban are in the U.S.”4

In addition to the local quality of life in West Houston’s municipalities and neighborhoods, residents have easy access to everything metropolitan Houston has to offer including professional sports, arts and culture, education and entertainment.

West Houston Real Estate Overview

Plant West HoustonIf you’re looking for new homes for sale in the Houston area, now is a great time to buy. Houston’s median home price is significantly less than the national median price, according to the National Association of Realtors.5 NAR also says you’ll get more for your home buying dollar in Houston: larger lots, more square footage, quality construction and added amenities. Some of the best selection in terms of style and price can be found in West Houston communities.

Award-winning Houston homebuilder Taylor Morrison has an exciting variety of new homes for sale in West Houston. New homes for sale in Fulshear include Churchill Farms, available in the Villa, Premier and Grande series. New homes for sale in Katy include Cinco Ranch, one of the most successful Houston master-plan communities, currently featuring final opportunities to purchase a Legacy series home. Katy choices also include Avalon at Pine Mill Legacy and Inspired series, and Avalon at Spring Green Legacy and Inspired series. New homes for sale in Richmond can be found in the Grand Vista community and include the Chalet, Villa, Premiere and Grande series. You can learn more about these and other West Houston homes by Taylor Morrison or schedule a tour of the model homes here, or by calling Taylor Morrison’s Houston Internet Home Consultant Ashelea Pinzon at 281-780-4652.

West Houston Economy

The economic conditions of West Houston mirror those of Greater Houston, and most of Texas. The economy is healthy and growing, thanks largely to a business-friendly climate, government incentives that support the entrepreneurial spirit, no personal state income taxes, low energy costs and a skilled, educated labor pool. Houston is nationally recognized as a front-runner in many industrial categories and consistently ranks at the top of U.S. cities for job growth and business development. Growth industries include energy, health care, technology, transportation. Agriculture remains strong, Katy, for example is one of the largest rice producing areas in Texas.

West Houston Schools

Football West HoustonQuality public schools are an important consideration when you’re looking for a new hometown. Even if you don’t have school-age children, living near top-rated schools adds value to your home and your community. Residents in the West Houston area are served by six independent school districts: Alief, Cypress-Fairbanks, Houston, Katy, Lamar, and Spring Branch. All of them consistently rank high on Texas State basic skills tests for reading, writing and math. All have received numerous awards for excellence in education. There are also several exceptional private and parochial schools in the West Houston area.

For higher education, residents of West Houston can choose from Houston Community College in Katy, as well as University of Houston - Downtown, Rice University and Texas Southern University.

West Houston Living

Coast Guard West HoustonWhen you live in West Houston, you’ll never be at a loss for things to see and do. You’ll also have a nearly inexhaustible list of attractions, cultural and recreational venues, entertainment, sports, great shopping and dining and essential services. Here is just a short list of the highlights:

  • Professional sports include Houston Texans NFL, Houston Astros MLB, Houston Rockets NBA and Houston Dynamos MSL.
  • Arts and entertainment opportunities include Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Children’s Museum of Houston, Lawndale Art Center, John P. McGovern, Musuem of Health & Medical Science, The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Theater Under the Stars, The Hobby Center for Performing Arts, Space Center, the Houston Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium Experience.
  • Shopping and dining venues abound in Houston. Three popular spots in the West Houston area include La Centerra at Cinco Ranch, Outlet Malls at Katy, Villagio Town Center and Katy Mills.
  • World-class medical facilities include Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann, Memorial Hermann-Katy and Houston Methodist West.

1 “Facts and Figures: Houston at a Glance,” http://www.visithoustontexas.com/travel-tools/about-houston/facts-and-figures/

2 http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/tx/katy/

3 http://www.areavibes.com/katy-tx/livability/

4 “West Houston Newcomer & Relocation Guide”

5 Ibid, pg 38

Photo Credit:
Ed Uthman | flickr cc
Philip Shoner | flickr cc
Coast Guard News | flickr cc
Bill Jacobus | flickr cc
Adam Baker | flickr cc
Roy Luck | flickr cc