Photo courtesy Texas Tribune/Stan Cook

This is a must-read for anyone with a little real estate in their blood, and it is very interesting as a reference to anyone living near the Golf Club of Dallas (formerly the Oak Cliff Country Club).

Basic story: 200 acre golf course in a coastal community 30 miles southeast of Houston saved about 150 homes from flooding in during Harvey. Why? The Clear Lake City Water Authority had embarked on a $28 million project to retrofit a shuttered golf course with five detention ponds that will be able to hold half a billion gallons of stormwater. At the time Harvey hit, the project was only 80% complete. But still, it worked.

When you are an advocate for dense, urban living, you have to consider water. Houston is in the thick of this lesson, and though we in Dallas are about 300 miles from the ocean, we can find a few nuggets of truth here:

As a post-Harvey Houston figures out how to protect itself from the next big storm, he and other local officials say they hope the project will serve as an example of how communities can take matters into their own hands as they await the completion of large-scale flood control projects. 

Branch said the nearly 200-acre golf course was coveted real estate in a flood-prone area that likely would have been turned into condos. But he said developing the land would have worsened flooding in the coastal community about 30 miles southeast of downtown Houston — home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. 

The water authority wanted to reduce area flooding and keep the area “green,” he said. It purchased the land in 2011 for about $6 million. 

A nonprofit group, the Exploration Green Conservancy, formed to partner with the water authority to reimagine the space as a community park situated around the detention ponds. Some residents have pushed back against the project, but Branch said support has remained strong to keep the project moving forward.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the South Texas coastline on Aug. 25. Home sales have slowed since the disaster struck, according to the Texas Quarterly Housing Report.

From Staff Reports

Texas home sales declined slightly in the third quarter of 2017, according to the 2017-Q3 Texas Quarterly Housing Report released today by the Texas Association of Realtors. This is the first time that Texas home sales have declined on a quarterly basis since the second quarter of 2012.
 
“As anticipated, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has had a significant impact on our state’s housing market this fall, as many Texans were forced to postpone their goals of buying or selling a home in order to deal with devastation in their homes and communities,” said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “Declines in local market home sales across the state in the third quarter were largely concentrated in regions impacted by Harvey, including the Houston area and local markets along the Texas coast.”

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When real estate agent Crystal McDowell went missing, the community, still suffering from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath, responded in masse. Watch as 48 Hours digs deep into the story tonight. (Courtesy Photo)

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, first responders were left scrambling to help evacuate neighborhoods and keep some sense of order in the enormous city. But that didn’t keep police from searching for Crystal McDowell, a divorced mother of two, who was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s home on the morning of Aug. 25. McDowell was supposed to pick up her children, who were staying with her ex-husband, Steve McDowell. Steven said that Crystal never made it there.

Crystal, a real estate agent with Virginia Malone & Associates (her family’s brokerage) and devoted mother, was well known and loved on social media. Her disappearance triggered a huge response, with people searching for her despite the record amounts of rain and flooding throughout Baytown, where she lived, and the region at large. It’s a sad tale of double lives, jealousy, and the power of community, and you can see it all play out in 48 Hours‘ “Storm of Suspicion” tonight, Oct. 28, at 9 p.m. 

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One of the first hit areas when Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas was Port Aransas, home to Cinnamon Shore, a luxury vacation rental community we’ve been following for several years now.

For an update on conditions there, we checked in with Jeff Lamkin, Cinnamon Shore’s developer. Port Aransas is still in need of funds and cleanup help, but officials there say one of the best things people can do for the community is to visit as a tourist. Cinnamon Shore fared better than you might think, and offers a pleasant option for fall and winter vacations.

Click here to see the story on SecondShelters.com.


The impact of Hurricane Harvey on Houston, whose real estate market has been more than hard hit, is almost startling by this chart. The impact of Irma is yet to be seen since she made landfall in the Florida Keys on September 10 before continuing up the west coast of Florida and heading inland. But widespread preparation and evacuations in Florida reduced mortgage applications by more than 25 percent before the hurricane arrived as business ground to a halt. When you are running for your life, you tend to forget about things like house closings.

Harvey was unprecedented in its rainfall for the coast of Texas and caused flooding that affected up to 30 percent of the state’s population.  As one Houstonian whose property was unscathed told me, “everyone in Houston knows someone who was affected.” The effect on our real estate market, too, will be unprecedented, though possibly less in Houston than Florida. 

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Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston on August 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Texas Army National Guard)

So many people lost everything — homes, cars, and all their possessions — in the wrath wrought by Hurricane Harvey. But there’s another category of people who were just as badly affected by this record-breaking storm: renters. 

In some cases, renters are required to continue paying rent on uninhabitable apartments and homes, and some can’t even work, with many businesses either wiped away, flooded, or otherwise damaged. If your apartment or home is uninhabitable and you’ve notified your landlord about terminating your lease in writing, the next step is finding someplace else to live. This can be daunting, but RentCafe and its parent company, Yardi, have teamed up to help.

Yardi, the California-based property management software company, has created a free online housing registry where displaced residents can find new places to live in the affected region and beyond.

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Texas National Guard soldiers arrive in Houston on August 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Texas Army National Guard photo)

As the devastation Hurricane Harvey wrought two weeks ago becomes devastatingly clearer and flood waters slowly recede, many have asked: What would a similar flood look like in my neighborhood?  

And could something like this happen in Dallas? (more…)

Hurricane Harvey put many previously safe areas underwater. If you’ve never coped with rebuilding from a flood, the Dallas Builders Association has some advice.

By Phil Crone
Special Contributor

The Dallas Builders Association extends its heartfelt thoughts to our friends on the coast who are suffering from the wrath and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. To help those affected, please text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross or visit redcross.org.

While storms of this magnitude bring out the best in most, they can bring out the worst in others. Often this comes in the form of unscrupulous contractors from out of state who follow major weather events looking for work. Sadly, the damage left in their wake is usually financial, adding to the suffering of storm victims.

Please use the information below as a guide on how to rebuild with confidence. Additional information is available through the Texas Association of Builders and the Greater Houston Builders Association.

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