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Houston, Texas

Buying
Eccentricity and diversity in Montrose

The words “Houston, Texas” might conjure images of the two trapezoidal towers of Penzoil Palace, the Water Wall fountain near the Galleria, or if you’re the quirky type, maybe the Beer Can House.  Whatever image comes to mind, it’s unlikely that the city inspires many people to describe it as “eccentric” or “diverse.”

But, when talking about Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, they actually might.

For every generation, Montrose is born again.

In an essay titled, “My Montrose,” writer and founding editor of Texas Monthly, William Broyles, called the neighborhood “the birthplace of Texas’s counterculture.” Although the essay decries the capitalism and gentrification that drove all “the cool people” out and dispersed the artists to other parts of the city, he also writes, “For every generation, Montrose is born again.”

No, Montrose may not be quite what it was in Broyles’ heyday, it still boasts an offbeat, cool vibe.

What your money will buy today:

$259K A three-bed, three-bath townhome with 1167 square feet and three decks.  

$535KA contemporary freestanding home with three beds, three-and-a-half baths, 2522 square feet, and a rooftop terrace.  

$1.65MA four-bed, four-and-a-half bath historic estate featuring 5116 square feet and a wrap-around porch.

Area rentals:

$3400/moFour stories, three beds, three-and-a-half baths, and 3148 square feet.

$2500/mo Two beds, two-and-a-half baths, and 1680 square feet.

Lifestyle:

The neighborhood occupies just over three square miles, and its residential areas include everything from renovated mansions to bungalows with wide porches to modern townhomes. In Broyles’ Montrose essay, he describes a neighborhood coffee shop where “You can read the Montrose gay newspaper and watch the NFL.” We think this sums up the neighborhood’s anything goes policy quite nicely. But we also think it’s important to mention that in a one-and-a-half-mile strip of Montrose Avenue, you’ll find American, Brazilian, Cajun, Chinese, English, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants.

Because there aren’t already enough choices to make in a day, right?

Houston Economy*:

Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Median household income: $45,010

Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units: $123,900

Median List Price: $205,000

*Data taken from RealtyTrac.com, United States Census Bureau, and Bureau of Labor Statistics, December, 2014.

Photography | Paul Hester 

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Elizabeth Salaam
Along with her work as Senior Contributing Writer for Girl's Guide, Elizabeth Salaam writes for the San Diego Reader. Her work has also been published in Elle Magazine. | Most inspired by: Contradictions. | Favorite room in my home: The Master suite. The windows have views for days! | Best design idea I may never do: Adorn my enclosed toilet room with library book wallpaper and a chandelier. | Will never: Bungee jump. | Have always been: Rebellious. | Dying to: Live in a Paris flat with herringbone wood floors.
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