3 Ways to Explore
Neighborhoods and Communities

Finding Your Home in the Houston Area
When Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine rated Houston in 2008 as the best city in which to live, work and play, a main criterion was reasonable living costs. Houston and the area don’t disappoint in this category, particularly regarding housing costs. According to the most recent ACCRA Cost-of-Living Index, the Houston area’s housing costs are approximately 20 percent below the nationwide average and nearly 40 percent below the average for the large metro areas. Find your neighborhood in this section that includes detailed descriptions of many communities along with a locator map.

Many newcomers appreciate the variety of housing options—in fact, there are more than 5,000 neighborhoods in the greater Houston area from which families can choose—from downtown lofts to new spacious homes in surburban or rural communities to convenient townhouses within easy access to downtown.

The Houston area is also known for its choice of master-planned communities, including The Woodlands, which is north of Houston in Montgomery County; Kingwood, which is situated east of the city; Cinco Ranch located to the west of Houston, Bridgeland in the northwest area and Shadow Creek Ranch, south of the city in Brazoria County.

In addition to the information in this section, you’ll be working with a real estate agent who will be your key resource throughout the homebuying process. Contact the Houston Association of REALTORS® (www.har.com) for names of qualified agents or contact advertisers in this guide. You also can ask your company’s relocation office for contacts as well as go online to research specific neighborhoods or master-planned communities. Other local resources are the neighborhood newspapers, the Houston Chronicle, the region’s major daily paper as well as free real-estate resource guides usually found at grocery stores. The following detailed neighborhood descriptions will help you find your new home in Houston.

For those who want to live where the action is and want to be part of the city’s vibe, the place to live is in the Inner Loop, which is an area that includes the cities of Bellaire and West University, as well as those parts of Houston located inside Loop 610.

— Bellaire
Bellaire (www.ci.bellaire.tx.us), “the little city inside of Houston,” has witnessed older homes being replaced by large stately homes. There has been an overall increase of 9 percent in property values in the previous year, and sales of homes are ranging from $280,000 to more than $1.5 million. The homes in Bellaire are a mixture of 1950s and 1960s two- and three-bedroom ranch styles and brandnew Georgian brick and Mediterranean stucco mansions. The area is well known for Bellaire High School, which consistently graduates the highest numbers of National Merit Finalists in the country in addition to regularly producing state champion baseball teams.

— Braeswood/Stella Link
Originally part of oil tycoon Walter William Fondren’s ranch, Fondren Southwest is one of Houston’s most accessible and civic-minded communities with a mixture of multifamily dwellings and residential subdivisions. Property values in Fondren Southwest have steadily risen in the past several years, and the area is becoming known as a great place to live and work. Homes are selling for between $360,000 and $1 million. Recently the Brays Oaks Management District was created to finance projects related to public transportation and mobility, community safety, beautification, economic development and others.

— Downtown Houston
For many, living and working downtown is the perfect combination. More are selecting this lifestyle as new high-rises are completed, including One Park Place, a 37-story downtown luxury apartment residence with 346 units and 28 typical residential levels with penthouses on the upper level. Levels 2 through 7 are used for parking and more than 20,000 square feet of retail space is on the pedestrian level. With a current downtown residential population of approximately 3,000, experts believe that will only increase as more housing opportunities develop. For those who enjoy the urban experience with close proximity to world-class dining, entertainment and sports, this is the perfect location. Another advantage is that you can get to any place downtown by walking or transit and can comfortably leave your car in the garage. Visit www.downtownhouston.org for more information.

— Fifth Ward
Close to downtown, the Fifth Ward is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and has a rich history that has contributed to the city’s artistic, culinary and musical heritage. In 1989, the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (www.fifthwardcrc.org) was established to revitalize the area. Since its formation, it has built more than 300 new homes, two multifamily complexes totaling 336 units, two commercial developments, four public art installations and two community gateway monuments.

— Galleria/Uptown
The Galleria area of Houston, also known as Uptown (www.uptown-houston.com) is a unique urban environment just outside of downtown yet still centrally located. This area combines a thriving business district, acclaimed retail stores, luxury hotels, condominium and apartment complexes and upscale residential neighborhoods with Houston’s natural beauty to create a vibrant community. This is an active urban center with a focus on national and international business. The area’s high-rise offices and hotels, fine restaurants and retail centers (such as the world-famous Galleria mall) host 200,000 office workers, shoppers and out-of-town visitors every day. This bustling commercial scene is dotted with lovely homes and landscaped public spaces, such as Memorial Park, which boasts a fine public golf course, tennis courts, jogging and biking trails and baseball fields. Single-family home sales range from nearly $270,000 in Larchmont to $6 million in Tanglewood.

— Greenway Plaza
Greenway Plaza (www.greenwayplaza.com) is Houston’s premier master-planned business development that offers an environment that is uniquely tailored to the needs of today’s business community. The unique style of Greenway Plaza’s campus combines a central “inside the Loop” location, efficient floor plans, professional management and many amenities. Working professionals and visitors to the campus have easy access to The Shops at Greenway, which includes a unique selection of retail options and a full-service food court. It’s located within an easy commute to the Galleria area, River Oaks, West University, Texas Medical Center and downtown Houston.

— Greater Third Ward
The Third Ward neighborhood is located inside the 610 Loop, immediately southeast of downtown Houston and to the east of the Texas Medical Center. The ward became the center of Houston’s African-American community and is home to two universities, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University.

— Harrisburg/Manchester
This community is located east of downtown Houston, south of the Brays Bayou and Buffalo Bayou junction and west of Brady’s Island. It was founded before 1825 on the eastern stretches of the Buffalo Bayou in present-day Harris County on land belonging to John Richardson Harris. In 1926, Harrisburg was annexed into the city of Houston. Lying to the east of Harrisburg is the community of Manchester with modest homes close to industries servicing the Port of Houston.

— The Heights
The Heights (www.houstonheights.org) has Houston’s largest concentration of historic homes, with more than 100 individually listed private and public buildings. Distinctive turn-of-the-century homes, privately maintained parks, several churches and a public library line Heights Boulevard, which has a special city of Houston designation as “Scenic Right of Way.” Such charm, coupled with its proximity to downtown, makes The Heights an appealing place to live. The unique 19th Street historic business district and a variety of antique and specialty shops make the area a shopping attraction. The Heights is favored by professionals and families who appreciate a short commute to downtown and the small-town quality of life.

— MacGregor/Riverside
Location to important employment centers, such as the Texas Medical Center, local universities and downtown businesses, has made this a popular community. Many of the old homes are large and stately due to its rich, urban population in the 1930s. Today, there are approximately 1,315 homes in the MacGregor or Riverside area (www.riversidedistricthouston.org).

— Texas Medical Center/Rice Village
This area is one of the most vibrant and exciting in Houston and is home to the world-famous Texas Medical Center (www.tmc.edu) and the renowned Rice University. Both of these institutions are next to Hermann Park and the Museum District. The new Metro Light Rail line connects this area to Reliant Center to the south and downtown Houston to the north. The Texas Medical Center, covering more than 700 acres, accommodates about 5 million patient visits a year. Patients come from Houston and all over the world for the excellent medical care and the cutting-edge research. With a combined budget of $4.6 billion for its member institutions, the center has an $11.5 billion indirect impact on Houston’s economy. Nearly 80,000 jobs are tied to the area around Texas Medical Center and Rice Village (www.ricevillageonline.com).

Memorial Hermann Hospital, a founding member of the Texas Medical Center, houses one of the city’s two Level I Trauma Centers. The hospital also runs Life Flight, the city’s legendary air ambulance service started by Dr. Red Duke in 1976. Memorial Hermann is one of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the country. Another anchor institution is St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, which includes St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Luke’s Health Network, St. Luke’s Health Charities and the Kelsey-Seybold Management Company. St. Luke’s is home to the world-renowned Texas Heart Institute, which has ranked as one of the Top 10 cardiovascular centers in the country for the last two decades.

Rice University, located across the street from the Texas Medical Center, is a prestigious nationally recognized institution offering a distinguished faculty, low student-teacher ratio and a high number of National Merit Scholars. A $2.5 billion endowment allows Rice University to compete with the best of the Ivy League schools.

— Memorial Park/Washington Avenue
Memorial Park stretches from the west side of the northern edge of downtown to the West Loop. The area covers 5,081 acres with 7,944 properties and is served by the Houston Independent School District and three private schools. Memorial Park is considered one of the city’s primary environmental assets. Residential areas adjacent to Memorial Park are being redeveloped with high-end single-family homes, high-rises, patio homes and three-story condos.

— Midtown
Midtown (www.houstonmidtown.com) is Houston’s pedestrian-oriented urban community uniquely positioned in the heart of the city. Situated directly between downtown and the Texas Medical Center, Midtown is a logical choice for a residential area to serve the two largest employment centers in the region with more than 200,000 jobs. There are also five colleges and universities nearby with combined enrollments of more than 50,000. Midtown is a good location for faculty, staff and student housing for these institutions.

— Montrose
A popular neighborhood among artists and creative folk is the Montrose area, which is bounded on the north by Buffalo Bayou. The area includes the Houston Museum District and many restaurants, eclectic boutiques and small galleries, which provide a unique flavor to the area. Two-bedroom brick homes characterize the area.

— Near Northside
The historic area is north of downtown and primarily occupied by Hispanics and a growing number of African-Americans. The boundaries of the neighborhood are along Main Street and Lorraine Street to Main and I-45 to Hardy Street. In 2005, Preservation Texas named Near Northside to its list of Texas’ most endangered historic places. Today, METRO is planning an extension of its light rail system through the neighborhood. The proposed expansion could result in the demolition of blocks of historic houses, including properties eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

— Old Spanish Trail/South Union
Old Spanish Trail/South Union is an affordable neighborhood about five miles south of downtown Houston, conveniently located minutes from the campuses of Rice University, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University as well as the Texas Medical Center.

— Reliant Park/South Loop
The Reliant Park area is enjoying a period of expansion and renovation with new restaurants and retailers attracting a growing number of customers. Several new large-scale construction and mass-transit projects are complete, and the area is re-establishing itself as a preeminent entertainment and convention site. Reliant Park is a world-class entertainment and convention center site and home to the NFL’s Houston Texans team. Reliant Park is the home of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the largest indoor rodeo in the world. This event gives millions of dollars annually in scholarship money to thousands of children across the country.

To connect this exciting area to other important areas in Houston, the METRO opened a 7.5-mile light rail system in 2004. It stretches from the north side of downtown to south of Reliant Park. Clean electricity powers this line, eliminating pollution from thousands of bus and car trips. The line offers service between the University of Houston-Downtown, downtown Houston, Midtown, Rice University, the Texas Medical Center and Reliant Park. This rail line is the spine of a planned region-wide light rail system in Houston.

— River Oaks
River Oaks (www.riveroakshouston.com), one of Houston’s most exclusive residential areas, comprises some 1,100 acres replete with stately white-columned mansions dating to the 1920s. Just three miles west of downtown Houston, River Oaks also enjoys easy access to the Greenway Plaza business district, the Galleria area, the Southwest Freeway, Loop 610 and the Museum District. Comprehensive deed restrictions ensure that the River Oaks area can never be invaded by commercial structures or multifamily housing. Many homes were designed by nationally recognized architects of the era. One such home, “Bayou Bend,” was owned by Ima Hogg, daughter of the one-time Texas governor, James Stephen Hogg. She later donated the magnificent Greek-revival property, along with its extensive collection of early American furniture and antiques, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

— Second Ward/Magnolia Park
Located in the historic district on the eastern edge of downtown Houston, this area is one of four original wards in Houston that were developed around the 1800s. Today, the Second Ward is known for being an affordable, tight-knit community with one of the largest Hispanic populations in the city. Among other things, residents of the Second Ward enjoy close proximity to Rusk Park and the Buffalo Bayou.

— Southside Place
With a population of 1,500, this small community is situated between the cities of Bellaire and Houston. In 2000, Southside Place (www.ci.southside-place.tx.us) was the 14th wealthiest location in Texas. The bedroom community is home to Royal Dutch Shell’s Bellaire Technology Center as well as numerous businesses and shopping centers lining Bellaire Boulevard. Home prices range from the $550,000s up to $1.5 million.

— West University Place
Founded in 1917, the city of West University Place (www.westu.org) was named for its proximity to Rice University. With attractive homes that hold their value, the community underwent major redevelopment in the 1980s. Neighborhoods are sprinkled with parks and all streets are lined with scenic, aged trees. Located nearby is Rice Village, which has more than 360 stores, including 75 restaurants. The 16-block area has an eclectic mix of unique shops and designer boutiques.

This is a large area of approximately 700 square miles bounded by FM 525 (Aldine Bender Road) on the south, Lake Houston on the east, the city of Conroe on the north and U.S. 290 on the west.

— Acres Homes
Acres Homes (www.acreshomescommunity.org) is situated betweens downtown Houston and Greenspoint. The area offers jobs for more than 3,000 people and has more than 7,600 acres. The community is noted for its many community development and service efforts. A variety of cultural, recreational and sports activities and facilities are located in the region. Numerous housing choices are available in the community, including new, resale and rental homes as well as apartments.

— Aldine
Aldine, located near Beltway 8 and I-45 North, offers easy access to employment centers, especially in the Greenspoint area and downtown Houston via the Hardy Toll Road. The charter school, YES Prep operates the North Central campus in the city. In the Aldine area, housing options are varied along with housing prices.

— Garden Oaks/Oak Forest
Located north of Houston Heights and close to the retail and office and industrial buildings by Shepherd and North Loop 610, Garden Oaks (www.gardenoaks.org) is known for its large lots, towering pines and beautiful location just north of the 610 Loop with rambling, curved streets. You’ll find many residents renovate existing homes in this area rather than building new homes. Home prices range from high $185,000s to mid-$400,000s.

— Greater Greenspoint
Minutes from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the Greenspoint District (www.greenspoint.org) is a 12-square-mile activity center in north Houston with a well-educated workforce and a superb residential base. More than 18 million square feet of office, retail and industrial space makes Greenspoint an attractive place to do business. The area supports 70,000 employees, and there are approximately 97,000 residents.

— Inwood Forest
Located in Northwest Houston, this community consists of more than 1,100 homes surrounding the Inwood Forest golf courses that give it an attractive openness. Inwood Forest residents support their community by participation in two important organizations, the Inwood Forest Community Improvement Association (www.ifcia.com) and the Inwood Forest Citizens On Patrol (www.ifcop.com). Residents support a diversity of residents who all share a common desire to live in a pleasant and safe community.

Additional developments north of the city have provided residents with more living options, including numerous master-planned communities. You’ll find shopping centers, forested areas and many recreational opportunities.

— Conroe, Montgomery County
Located 40 miles north of Houston in Montgomery County, Conroe (www.cityofconroe.org) has a population of more than 56,200 and is the largest city, county seat and power center of Montgomery County, which has a total population of more than 455,800. Many newcomers in the area are attracted to Lake Conroe, a 22,000-acre lake seven miles west of Conroe, which hosts a range of recreational water sports. For golfers, there are 16 courses located in the Lake Conroe area. Surrounding the lake are many fine homes, many with boat docks and access to the lake. The community supports a mixture of residents, including retirees living near the lake and families of all ages and ethnic groups. Three regional hospitals and an array of medical support facilities serve the people in Montgomery County. In recent years, more businesses have been attracted to the area due to its affordability and quality of life. Many residents also commute to businesses in downtown Houston approximately 45 minutes away. Average home sales in 2011 were $150,000, and a two-bedroom apartment averages $800 per month.

— The Woodlands/South Montgomery County
Established 38 years ago, The Woodlands (www.thewoodlands.com) is a 27,000-acre master-planned community developed by The Woodlands Operating Company. It’s located 27 miles north of Houston easily accessible via I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road. Since 1990, The Woodlands has been the best-selling community in Texas and includes seven villages with a wide variety of home styles and price ranges, including family homes, custom and estate homes, townhouses, urban lofts and brownstones, condos, apartments and homes designed for active adults over age 55. The 2011 average home price was around $270,000, but homes can be found for more than $3 million. For many residents, they enjoy the amenities, including six golf courses, 100 miles of parks and greenbelts, a regional mall and an outdoor performing arts pavilion. In addition, there are multiple hospitals as well as a community college. The population of 94,000 enjoys a framework combining residency, industry, churches, schools, public facilities, shopping, recreation and the forest in a convenient and aesthetically pleasing hometown environment.

Communities in the area include Atascocita, Humble and Kingwood. Located within a 10-mile radius from where U.S. Highway 59 and FM 1960 intersect, these communities share an abundance of forest and natural beauty. These areas are approximately 22 miles from downtown and just five miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

— Atascocita/Humble
The Atascocita/Humble area is located just 21 miles northeast of downtown Houston along U.S. Highway 59. The current populations today exceeds 15,000 and 65,000 in Humble and Atascocita, respectively. Humble’s forested boundaries take up nearly 100 square miles of land in northeast Harris County. Residents in Humble enjoy amenities, including parks, golf courses, access to Lake Houston and the San Jacinto River as well as high-performing schools, two major hospitals, Deerbrook Mall and “Park ‘n Ride” facilities. New homes and existing homes range from $80,000 to $500,000.

— Eagle Springs
Eagle Springs (www.eaglespringstx.com) offers a wide variety of new homes priced from the $80,000s to $300,000s, including low-maintenance townhouses, cottage-style homes, traditional single-family homes, luxury estate homes and upscale low-maintenance patio homes. The wooded master-planned community is located in the Humble Independent School District (ISD). Community amenities include the 15-acre Eagle Springs Athletic Club and Sports Complex, The Island Club at Lake Montage, sparkling lakes and miles of greenbelt trails.

— Fall Creek
Designed with quiet streets and carefully planned villages, Fall Creek (www.fallcreekhouston.com) is a great place to raise a family. It’s also convenient to employment centers, such as Greenspoint, the East Energy Corridor, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, downtown and the Galleria. Close to home, you’ll find shopping centers and plenty of fine dining and family restaurants. Among the 1,261-acre community amenities include an aquatic center, trails and greenbelts. Also located here is the Redstone Golf Club, home to the Shell Houston Open PGA Tour Event.

— Kingwood
Kingwood (www.kingwood.com) hosts 14,000 acres of beautiful homes, golf courses and wooded landscapes, located 22 miles northeast of downtown Houston. The densely wooded Kingwood community is made up of several subdivisions that are connected by a few major thoroughfares. The suburb has all the amenities of a big city, and commercial centers are scattered throughout to meet the grocery, shopping, dining and other needs of its residents. Residents enjoy access to 19 swimming pools, 200 acres of community parks, two youth sports parks, three public golf courses, a private boat launch, private stables and two country clubs with golf courses. Served by the Humble ISD, Kingwood has one high school, one ninth-grade school, three middle schools and nine elementary schools. Private education is also available from preschool through middle school.

— Summerwood
Located at Beltway 8 and West Lake Houston Parkway, Summerwood (www.summerwoodlife.com) is a 1,500-acre community. There are more than 200 acres of recreation and nature preserves, and the community is part of the Humble ISD. Houses are priced from $170,000s to $440,000s, many located amid a lushly wooded backdrop of nature preserves and parks.

— Walden on Lake Houston
Walden on Lake Houston (www.waldenonlakehouston.com) is a master-planned community made up of 750 acres and homes that are built in a natural setting of a pine forest and picturesque Lake Houston. Residents enjoy beautifully manicured streets, fairways and access to Humble ISD. Home prices range from the mid-$170,000s to mid $440,000s.

Consisting of Champions and the FM 1960-Spring area, northwest Harris County area is located 20 miles from Houston’s central business district. This unincorporated Harris County region has a sense of community derived from a history of hearty pioneer settlers and an unparalleled present-day commitment to community. Northwest Houston is one of the most popular residential and commercial locations in the region.

— Bear Creek/Texas 6
This community is located between the Katy Freeway and U.S. 290 just west of the Sam Houston Parkway. Master-planned communities in Bear Creek include Fairfield and Deerfield Village. Neighborhood homes were priced at an average of $120,000 in 2011. Other subdivisions include Glen Cairn, Bear Creek Plantation, Jersey Village, Pine Forest and Copperfield, a master-planned community of Friendswood Development Company located just north of the Bear Creek area. Each village within the Copperfield community has its own recreational facilities. Homes are priced from the $100,000s to the $300,000s.

— Bridgeland
The 11,400-acre Bridgeland (www.bridgeland.com) community embraces a lifestyle packed with natural splendor. More than 3,000 acres are devoted to lakes, trails, parks and open space. The 60 miles of trails connect neighborhoods, amenities and a future town center. An on-site activities director plans a wealth of outdoor fun, plus events at Lakeland Activity Center, which offers resort-worthy pools, a community center, fitness room, tennis, playgrounds and more. Located 2.5 miles south of U.S. 290 on Fry Road, Bridgeland is the future home of more than 65,000 residents.

— Champions/FM 1960
This area, located between Highway 249 and I-45, is a popular choice for many residents because of its easy access to downtown Houston. Champions was the first subdivision built in the area about 30 years ago. Other subdivisions to note in the area are Olde Oaks, Northgate Forest and Champions Forest with homes priced from the $100,000s to more than $1 million. Country clubs and golf courses are plentiful in the Champions area as well as shopping with the nearby Willowbrook and Greenspoint malls.

— Coles Crossing
Coles Crossing (www.colescrossinghoa.com) is conveniently located at the junction of U.S. 290 and Barker Cypress Road, and close to many alternate access routes, such as FM 1960, Loop 610 and Beltway 8. A master-planned community focused on preserving the natural environment, Coles Crossing offers 2,630 single-family home sites as well as commercial and multifamily sites, nestled in 1,200 acres of forested land. Single-family homes range from the moderately priced mid-$200,000s to exclusive estate homes on lots one-half acre or larger ranging from the $400,000s to the high $800,000s.

— Cypress/Jersey Village
Cypress, also referred to as Cypress-Fairbanks, or Cy-Fair (www.cyfairchamber.com), is an unincorporated area of Harris County located along U.S. 290, 20 miles northwest of downtown Houston. Serving the educational needs of the community is the highly recognized Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Population of the area’s zip codes is estimated at more than 587,142. Within the area is the city of Jersey Village, which was incorporated in 1956. Today, there is a new police and fire station to service the needs of more than 7,500 residents in Jersey Village.

— Fairfield
Fairfield (www.visitfairfield.com) is a 3,200-acre development by the Friendswood Development Company that opened in 1988, and at full build-out it will be home to 5,000 families. Recreational amenities include a 15,000-square-foot athletic club with a full-size basketball court, fitness center, special events room and classroom areas. There also is a competition-size swimming pool, tennis courts and a 20-acre sports park with baseball and soccer fields. Currently, Fairfield has eight lakes, six neighborhood parks and six neighborhood pools, plus numerous pocket parks and greenbelts winding through the community. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD services the educational needs of the community.

— Gleannloch Farms
The Gleannloch Farms area was once famous for breeding Egyptian Arabian horses and today is a community with amenities including a lakeside aquatic complex, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a fabled equestrian center, a championship golf course and schools from the highly acclaimed Klein ISD. Nearby is the active FM 1960 shopping district, which includes Willowbrook Mall.

— High Meadow Estates
High Meadow Estates (www.highmeadowranch.com) is located among the rolling hills of Magnolia, Texas, where residents enjoy the comfort of country living with easy access to shopping, amenities and major highways into Houston. The newest development within the community is High Meadow Estates, which features one- to 10-acre home sites. The development is located in the Montgomery Community College district and the Magnolia ISD.

— Magnolia
The city of Magnolia (www.cityofmagnolia.com) is located at the junction of FM 1774 and FM 1488, approximately 45 miles northwest of Houston and 25 miles southwest of Conroe. The greater Magnolia area spans approximately 12 miles in all directions with an estimated population of more than 65,000. Since 2000, the area has experienced a population growth of nearly 14 percent, in part due to the quality of life the area provides. The average cost of a home in the rural community is $140,000, and the area is serviced by the Magnolia ISD.

— Northpointe East
Northpointe East (www.northpointeeast.com) is a neighborhood of affordable, single-family homes located east of State Highway 249. Close by are shopping centers in Tomball, Spring-Cypress, The Woodlands and Houston. The Klein ISD services the educational needs of the area with four high schools, eight intermediate schools and 25 elementary schools.

— Riata Ranch
Riata Ranch (www.riataranch.net) is located in northwest Harris County near Cypress, Texas, with convenient access to U.S. 290. The community features homes built by Philip James, Kaufman and Broad, Pioneer and DR Horton and offers convenient access to U.S. 290. Dakota Blue Homes is currently the only active builder remaining in this community. Amenities include walking trails, a junior Olympic-size community pool, tennis courts and multipurpose sports fields for activities.

— Tomball
Known as the “hometown with a heart,” Tomball (www.ci.tomball.tx.us) is located northwest of Houston and offers residents a variety of housing choices that include new custom and production-builder homes, apartments, rental homes and resale homes. Horse lovers will be pleased to know there are also numerous equestrian-oriented subdivisions with larger lots available. Homes range from a $40,000 starter to a $500,000 spread, with plenty of options in between. The area is convenient to shopping, major freeways and is serviced by the Tomball ISD.

Towne Lake
Offering master-planned communities for every type of family lifestyle is the beautiful neighborhood of Towne Lake (www.townelaketexas.com). In the heart of the Cypress-Fairbanks area, bordered by U.S. 290, West Road and Barker Cypress Road, sits the family-oriented locale of Towne Lake, which presents custom homes in a variety styles and sizes and an age-restricted community, all with easy access to restaurants, shopping and recreational opportunities. Families with children appreciate the quality local education in the award-winning Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.

— WindRose
WindRose (www.windroseca.org) is a master-planned community located in the Spring/Klein area off FM 2920 and Kuykendahl. The community includes 1,121 acres of heavily forested land and approximately 2,000 homes. The community includes a championship 18-hole golf course winding through the neighborhoods, open areas, green space and parks. WindRose is located in the highly acclaimed Klein ISD.

Thanks to the widening of I-10 West and access to major employment centers, West Houston has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. Recognized neighborhoods within West Houston include Memorial, the Energy Corridor and Westchase as well as the Memorial-Spring Branch and Katy areas that are known for their superior schools and high quality of life.

— Briargrove Park
Briargrove Park (www.briargrovepark.org) is a family-oriented neighborhood conveniently located in the heart of near west Houston within minutes of the acclaimed Galleria retail and business area. Situated between beautiful Buffalo Bayou to the north, Westheimer to the south, Sam Houston Parkway to the west and Gessner Road to the east, this beautiful community of approximately 1,480 executive homes offers all the amenities afforded to newer, master-planned suburban communities with the added convenience of in-town living.

— Memorial
The Memorial area is an upscale part west of downtown Houston and northwest of Uptown. It is bounded on the south by Buffalo Bayou, on the east by I-610, on the west by State Highway 6 and extends just north of the I-10 to Westview. Within Memorial are the cities of Bunker Hill Village, Hedwig Village, Spring Valley Village, Hilshire Village, Piney Point Village and Hunters Creek Village, all which operate autonomously from Houston and have joint fire and police coverage. The northeast area, near I-10 and Beltway 8, of Memorial City is home to Memorial City Mall, the newer, more upscale Town & Country Village lifestyle center and the mega-development mixed-use project known as CityCentre.

— Royal Oaks
Royal Oaks is located east of Beltway 8, west of Gessner Road and near I-10 and comprises approximately 434 home sites. The Royal Oaks Country Club (www.royaloakscc.com) is a gated subdivision of Royal Oaks that is filled with beautiful, luxury homes. Home prices range from the $300s to more than $1 million.

— Spring Branch
The area is largely deed-restricted, with single-family residences and some multifamily facilities. Older homes built in the 1950s and 1960s are on family-friendly streets. Spring Branch subdivisions include Spring Branch Oaks, Timber Creek, Holley Terrace and Afton Village. The location provides easy access to U.S. 290, Loop 610 and the Sam Houston Parkway. Spring Branch ISD services the educational needs of the community.

— Tanglewood
The area is known as the home neighborhood of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. Tanglewood (www.tanglewoodcorp.com) is bordered by Sage, Chimney Rock, Woodway and San Felipe streets and is only one mile from the Galleria shopping and business district. There are 1,519 single-family residences in 11 recognized subdivisions, and the average assessed tax value of homes in these neighborhoods varies from around $950,000 to $6.9 million.

— Walnut Bend
Walnut Bend (www.walnutbend.org) is a thriving family-oriented subdivision conveniently located off Beltway 8 between Westheimer and Buffalo Bayou. Residents enjoy community facilities, including a recreation center, three pools, tennis courts, playground and volleyball areas as well as a community park. Neighborhood amenities include close proximity to many restaurants, the Town & Country Shopping Center and convenient freeway access to other Houston neighborhoods.

— West Memorial
Neighborhoods farther west on Memorial Drive (www.westmemorial.org) past Wilcrest Drive include Nottingham, with home prices around $750,000 and newer subdivisions built in the last 20 years. These include Memorial Thicket, Fleetwood and Barker’s Landing near the east side of Texas 6. Among the home styles include New Orleans Colonial, Cape Cod, traditional and contemporary. Far west of Texas 6 is Weston Lakes a private master-planned community featuring custom homes rivaling those of River Oaks.

With many affordable housing options, including master-planned communities with amenities, access to high-performance schools and retail development, the area west of Houston is attractive to growing families who are looking for safe and family-oriented communities.

— Cinco Ranch
Cinco Ranch (www.cincoranch.com), part of Newland Communities, is 32 miles from downtown Houston in Katy, Texas. It’s a 7,600-acre master-planned community where homebuyers can find the broadest array of new homes by leading builders at prices from the $150,000s to more than $1 million. Cinco Ranch offers a range of traditional single-family homes in various price ranges, along with exclusive custom and estate homes, low-maintenance lifestyle homes and neighborhoods for people 55 and older. Part of the acclaimed Katy ISD, Cinco Ranch is already home to 11 Katy ISD schools.

— Cross Creek Ranch
Cross Creek Ranch (www.crosscreektexas.com), Trendmaker Development’s newest master-planned community offers the “perfect blend” of everything wanted in a new community. Located minutes away from the Westpark Tollway and Grand Parkway 99, west of FM 1493 and north of 1093, Cross Creek Ranch is situated on 3,200 acres in Fulshear, Texas, and features unique native east Texan prairie landscaping, dedicated greenspace throughout the community and several miles of lakefront views. Residents enjoy miles of hike-and-bike trails, a luxury water park with a large resort-style pool, 160- foot waterslide, wading pool, a Splash-n-Spray park for children. A spacious 6,000- square-foot fitness center professionally staffed and community café is located in the state-of-the art Welcome Center with its 70-foot Observation Tower as well as the newly completed sports complex with tennis and basketball courts. Home prices range from the $220,000 to $850,000 and include quality builders Ashton Woods, David Weekley, Newmark Homes, Perry Homes, Taylor Morrison, Trendmaker Homes, Village Builders and Kickerillo Custom Homes.

— Firethorne
Firethorne (www.firethorne.info) is located in the Katy/Fulshear area of northern Fort Bend County, one mile south of the Katy Freeway (I-10 West) on FM 1463. The master-planned community consisting of 1,400 acres is expertly planned for approximately 3,600 single-family homes. The master-plan design also includes commercial reserves along FM 1463, along with open areas, green space, lakes and parks. New homes are offered in a variety of price ranges, floor plans and designs by a group of the Houston area’s top builders. The community is devoting 150 acres to parks and recreation and offers residents a full array of recreational amenities, including lakes, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, nature areas, hike-and-bike trails, indoor exercise facilities and more. Home prices in Firethorne range from the mid $160,000s to $300,000s.

— Fulshear
Located in Fort Bend County, Fulshear (www.fulsheartx.net) is a 20-minute drive from Highway 6 and easily accessible from I-10, Highway 59 and the Grand Parkway. One of the popular master-planned communities in the area is the 1,400-acre community of Weston Lakes (www.wlakes.com) that features a 24-hour guard-gated entry, an 18-hole championship golf course and country club surrounded by lakes and other amenities.

— Grayson Lakes
Grayson Lakes (www.graysonlakesliving.com) offers residents more than 30 acres of lakes, tennis courts, a playground and a community pool. Here residents have an opportunity to sail, paddle a canoe or rowboat or relax at the area’s recreational facility. The community is just minutes from shopping, dining and entertainment, and children attend the outstanding Katy ISD.

— Katy
The community of Katy (www.katytexas.com) is located on I-10 and U.S. Highway 90 at the intersection of Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties. Housing in Katy ranges from apartments and condominiums to large estate homes with vast acreage on which to enjoy and maintain horses. There are many subdivisions to select from with amenities including tennis courts, swimming pools and access to local shopping. The community is served by the highly regarded Katy ISD.

— Lakes of Bella Terra
Located minutes from the Westpark Tollway and 30 minutes from downtown Houston, Lakes of Bella Terra (www.lakesofbellaterra.com) is a new resort-style community by Houston’s 2007 “Developer of the Year.” The community features acres of lakes and a recreation center with a junior Olympic pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, water playground, lighted tennis courts and more. Lakes of Bella Terra’s youngest residents are served by the Lamar Consolidated ISD and Westlake Preparatory Lutheran Academy. Choose from a wide variety of single-family homes, including custom waterfront homes in a gated enclave.

— Lakes on Eldridge
Lakes on Eldridge (www.lakesonelridge.com), located in west Houston just minutes north of Houston’s Energy Corridor, is one of the area’s finest custom-home addresses. Home designs by award-winning custom builders complement the serene lakes and beautifully landscaped grounds. Amenities enjoyed by residents include a 25-meter pool, a nicely appointed clubhouse, lighted tennis courts, volleyball court, jogging paths and gated access. Nearby residents will find area schools, hospitals and major shopping centers.

— Seven Meadows
Seven Meadows (www.sevenmeadowslive.com) is a 1,050-acre Newland development in Katy, west of Houston. Seven Meadows is designed around the Meadowbrook Farms Golf Course and an 18-hole Greg Norman signature golf course. Residents have access to a six-acre community recreation center as well as parks and greenbelts, and they are served by the Katy ISD.

— Silver Ranch
Silver Ranch is a new master-planned community located in the recognized Katy ISD. Among the quality builders in the community include Brighton Homes, Meritage Homes and J Patrick Homes. Amenities include a recreation center with a six-lane pool, art splash pad, a tennis court, playgrounds and a park.

— Weston Lakes
Located in Fulshear, Weston Lakes (www.wlakes.com), is a 1,400-acre planned community with an estate-size lakefront, golf course, a 14,000 square-foot country club, picnic facilities and fishing pier. There are more than 11.5 miles of shoreline on two lakes with estate home sites up to two acres. The community is located south of I-10 West outside Texas 6 and is served by the highly rated Katy ISD.

— Windsor Park Lakes
With convenient access to I-10 and the Grand Parkway, Windsor Park Lakes (www.wplakes.com) is minutes from many parts of the Houston area, including the Galleria, the Energy Corridor and downtown. Windsor Park Lakes offers new Mediterranean-style homes on sites that extend to the lake’s edge. Private piers allow residents to fish and launch boats, and for the kids there are beaches and play areas. Residents also can enjoy 7,800 acres of George Bush Park, located adjacent to the community.

— WoodCreek Reserve
WoodCreek Reserve (www.woodcreekreserve.com) is one of Katy’s new master-planned communities, comprising 500 acres. It offers residents an outstanding residential amenity package, exceptional Katy ISD schools and a convenient location. Every home site in WoodCreek Reserve is larger than average to give residents more space to call their own. With plenty of green space to enjoy the outdoors, more than one-third of WoodCreek Reserve is dedicated to a nature reserve where families can enjoy a wide variety of recreation.

This area has experienced high growth due to its proximity to downtown and employment centers. The southwest region lies southwest of Loop 610 and along U.S. 59 South and encompasses Fort Bend County and parts of Harris County. Affordability is another factor, with home prices ranging from $80,000 to $280,000.

— Alief
This area represents a microcosm of the Houston area with its diverse population of African-American, Asian-American, Latin-American, Middle-Eastern and Caribbean populations. According to the U.S. Census, Alief’s population is at 52,148, a 21-percent increase in a decade. Here you’ll find a Chinatown and a Little Saigon along with many successful businesses. Alief ISD is the most ethnically diverse of school districts of comparable size in Texas. Virtually every culture of the modern world is represented in its 45,000 student enrollment; more than 80 languages and dialects are spoken. Guest speakers, culture clubs and ethnic fairs help promote multicultural appreciation.

— First Colony
A master-planned community in southwest Houston, First Colony (www.firstcolony.org) is a unique blend of residential neighborhoods and businesses with protective architectural guidelines and meticulously maintained streets, lakes, parks and greenbelts. Residents enjoy tree-lined streets, miles of walking paths, lush parks and lakes. Housing options include single-family homes, townhouses, condos and apartments. With convenient access to the U.S. 59, First Colony is less than 20 miles from downtown Houston.

— Fondren Southwest
Originally part of oil tycoon Walter William Fondren’s ranch, Fondren Southwest is a mixture of multifamily dwellings and residential subdivisions, with homes selling for between $70,000 and $400,000. Residents have access to nearby activities including Westwood Mall and several golf courses. The close proximity to downtown makes Fondren Southwest an appealing choice for those working in the city.

— Fort Bend County
Fort Bend County (www.co.fort-bend.tx.us) is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and includes the incorporated townships of Arcola, Meadows, Missouri City, Stafford, Sugar Land, Richmond and Rosenberg. According to Fort Bend County, the region is home to more master-planned communities than any other county in Texas.

— Greatwood
Greatwood was developed in Fort Bend County by American General Land Development and was later sold to Newland Communities. This 2,050-acre planned community is built around 32 acres of lakes and offers its residents a trail system and nature parks throughout the community, 18 holes of golf, tennis courts and swimming pools. It’s located 28 miles southwest of downtown Houston at the intersection of U.S. 59 and the Grand Parkway.

— Gulfton
Single-family home sales were at a median of $260,000 in 2011, ranging from nearly $100,000 in Shenandoah to $337,000 in Williams Court, north of Bellaire. The Westpark Tollway, a major thoroughfare, services Gulton residents, and METRORail also plans to have stops in the area. In addition to Houston ISD, there are private schools, charter schools and child development centers in the area.

— Lake Olympia
Lake Olympia was developed in Missouri City, Texas, by Lake Olympia Development Corporation. With nine miles of shoreline featuring custom lakefront homes, this 1,000-acre planned community contains 130 acres of natural lakes. The family-oriented community offers its residents a fully stocked lake for fishing and boating, lighted tennis courts, a marina and swim club and numerous nature reserves and greenbelts.

— Meyerland
In 1955, George Meyer created the Meyerland subdivision with 2,700 lots and an 80-acre reserve for a shopping center. The area is defined by its strong Jewish roots, and today there are three synagogues and the Jewish Community Center for residents. There is a mix of homes, including original 1950s bungalows as well as new construction for home owners who are attracted to the area’s location and convenience. Home prices range from $65,000 to nearly $800,000.

— Missouri City
Incorporated in 1956, Missouri City is a growing community of 67,000 residents. Subdivisions include Quail Valley, Lake Olympia, Briargate, Brightwater and Hunter’s Glen A new planned community is being developed in Missouri City that has the potential to double the size of the community. Approximately 80 percent of the city lies in Fort Bend County and 10 percent lies in Harris County, with Fort Bend ISD serving the community. Community amenities include two golf courses along with many city and county parks. New home construction is available throughout subdivisions in Missouri City with home prices ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.

— New Territory
Located within easy access of U.S. 59, State Highway 6, Highway 90A and the Sam Houston Parkway, New Territory (www.newterritory.org) is located on 3,200 acres with 4,601 homes and 17,000 residents. Residents enjoy 450 acres of parks, lakes, greenbelts and recreation centers along with proximity to nearby schools, churches and retail shopping.

— Pecan Grove Plantation
Pecan Grove Plantation (www.pecangrove.org) is a 1,400-acre country-club community built around a 27-hole golf course set in the natural beauty of huge oak and pecan trees. There are approximately 1,500 homes in the community, from patio homes to those with golf course views. Recreational amenities include neighborhood parks, playing fields, jogging paths, swimming pools, tennis courts and a fitness center. Schools, retail outlets and other services are nearby.

— Richmond
Richmond (www.ci.richmond.tx.us), the county seat of Fort Bend County, is on the Brazos River 15 miles southwest of Houston. With a population of more than 11,000, the community is home to numerous master-planned developments, including the Lakes of Bella Terra, Weston Lakes, Sienna Plantation and Aliana. 

— RiverPark West
RiverPark West (www.river-park-west.com) is a 545-acre master-planned community located in the growing southwest Houston suburb of Richmond, Texas. New homes range from the $190s to the $300s and are available from Meritage Homes and Perry Homes. Residents and new homebuyers enjoy easy access to nearby shopping, dining, medical, professional and business centers. Memorial Hermann-Sugar Land Hospital, the University of Houston/Sugar Land and First Colony Mall are just minutes away.

— Riverstone
Riverstone (www.riverstone.com) is a 3,700-acre, waterside master-planned community for 6,000 homes and more than 250 acres of lakes. More than 500 acres is devoted to open space, parklands and recreational facilities. Single-family homes and luxury townhomes are offered in the community.

— Rodeo Palms
This is a new, 600-acre home community, located in Manvel about 20 miles south of downtown Houston along Texas 288 south. The community features four award-winning homebuilders, including Perry Homes, Legend Homes, Pioneer and Meritage Homes. Homebuyers can select lakefront views, and amenities include a club house and a recreation center as well as easy access to Pearland’s shopping, dining and entertainment venues.

— Rosenberg
In the late 19th century, Rosenberg (www.ci.rosenberg.tx.us) was a bustling transportation hub connecting goods from the Port of Galveston to other parts of Texas. Today, the city offers many recreational amusements and attractions, including the Fort Bend County Fair, a picturesque and historical old town with numerous landmark buildings, antique shops and close proximity to the Brazos Bend State Park, George Ranch Historical Park and the George Observatory.

— Sharpstown
Sharpstown residents represent a wide range of lifestyles and many cultural and ethnic influences. Within the community are more than 7,000 brick homes along with a mix of apartments, condos, townhouses and duplexes. With Houston freeways nearby, residents are able to commute easily to different employment centers. With its winding streets, large yards and quiet neighborhoods, Sharpstown remains an affordable area with homes selling at a median of $89,000.

— Sienna Plantation
In 2010, Sienna Plantation (www.siennaplantation.com) was chosen as one of the best places to live in the United States by Money magazine. The 10,500-acre master-planned community provides
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