Our 10 Most Popular Home and Real Estate Stories of 2018

A major theme: We all want to look inside other people's houses.

Edited by Abby Ledoux December 27, 2018

It's been a record-setting year for Houston real estate, "an almost unimaginable concept when the year began, on the heels of so much devastation from Hurricane Harvey," said HAR Chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer with JPMorgan Chase. "As 2018 draws to a close, we see slow but steady growth in the supply of housing as well as a strong job market, which together make for a healthy real estate climate."

Nearly all segments of the Houston housing market saw gains this year, and the most recent HAR data for November 2018 shows a record increase of more than 12 percent in the luxury market, which includes homes priced at $750,000 and up.

Houstonia readers' interests this year seemed to align with market trends, as some of our most popular real estate stories involved buying a home post-Harvey and 100 Carnarvon Drive, the ultimate in luxury real estate. Two of our guides—March's Top Neighborhoods and November's Architecture A-Z—also topped the list, as did a whole slew of virtual home tours, proving one thing true in 2018: Y'all really like to see how other people live.

1. The 10 Hottest Neighborhoods in Houston in 2018

By Roxanna Asgarian, Morgan Kinney, Laura Furr Mericas, and Dianna Wray

"Walk into any Montrose dive bar, and it won’t be long until someone launches into a rant about how the neighborhood isn’t as quirky, artistic, or gay as it used to be. ... But the neighborhood still has character to spare, and people still flock here."

2. What's It Like Inside Houston's Most Expensive Mansion?

By Abby Ledoux

"There are parquet floors, marble columns and pilasters, dramatic chandeliers on motorized lifts for cleaning, hand-carved wall panels, intricate crown molding, rotundas, balconies galore, 14-foot ceilings, skylights, an elevator, and on and on. Every room brings a new level of luxury, bursting with scrollwork and archways and medallions and gilded accents."


Image: Shutterstock

3. What Does Houston's Real Estate Landscape Look Like After Harvey?

By Dianna Wray

"Initially, the entire Houston real estate industry froze. Nobody was ready to buy or sell anything for weeks. Those who flooded faced a long haul ahead, with all the attendant anguish and tough decisions about their path forward. Meanwhile, buyers were nervous, and communities people had been eager to buy into previously were suddenly less appealing."


4. 10 Questions Every Houston Homebuyer Should Ask Before They Press Go

By Laura Furr Mericas and Roxanna Asgarian

"This is the only question on this list we can answer definitively—yes, you need flood insurance. Before Harvey, many realtors said it was only necessary when it came to certain parts of town, certain types of homes, or certain areas in the flood plain. 'That’s about the opposite of what the message should be,' says Caroline Schlemmer, an agent with Greenwood King."


Image: TK Images

5. On the Market: A $2.2 Million Time Capsule

By Abby Ledoux

"What’s most stunning about this historic home is that it never left the family—until now. The Minchens’ son, Meyer, a highly decorated World War II Navy pilot, lived in the home until his death this summer at age 95. Meyer, who apparently spent considerable time with an elaborate ham radio setup in the garage, was well-known in the neighborhood and, legend has it, entertained celebrities performing at the old Shamrock Hotel."


Image: Visit Houston

6. Houston Architecture, from A to Z

By Abby Ledoux and Laura Furr Mericas

"What’s Houston’s architectural style? Some would say we don’t have one. That isn’t true, exactly, but it is quite hard to define. Which is why we decided to use every letter of the alphabet to describe what our city looks like. Put it all together, and a picture emerges, of a diverse and fascinating city."


7. On the Market: A Sugar Land Castle

By Abby Ledoux

"This $5.85 million estate for sale in Sugar Land is frequently compared to a castle, and not for nothing—the three-acre property boasts decidedly castle-like features, not limited to expansive and park-like grounds, courtyards (with stone balustrades), a circular two-story library, another two-story opera room (with a balcony), travertine marble floors in the chef’s kitchen, a wine cellar, a reception hall with a domed ceiling, and—wait for it—an observation deck for views of adjoining Alkire Lake."

8. Look Inside The Wilshire, River Oaks' Newest Luxury High Rise

By Abby Ledoux

"Pelican founder Robert Bland feels they really got it right this time. 'When you do something like this, you say, ‘gee whiz, if I had to do it over again, what would I do differently?’' he told us last month. 'And I really wouldn’t do much different on this one.'"

9. Heights Retail Boom Continues With New Development

By Abby Ledoux

"Dubbed 18th Street Bungalows, the 'pocket-sized' development would house two retail tenants in a modern industrial take on the vintage bungalow native to the area."

Image: TK Images

10. This Midcentury Modern Ranch Is Now an 'Art House'

By Abby Ledoux and Laura Furr Mericas

"Kollatschny and Goldberg have managed to create a slice of Zen countryside in the middle of the city, one that boasts clean lines, minimalist decor, open spaces, and natural materials like unstained fir and redwood, along with pitched ceilings and enormous windows that flood the space with natural light."

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