New vs. Resale Houston Heights Home: A Tale of Two Houses

Filed in Heights Homes for Sale by on January 6, 2011

Buying a New Houston Heights Home on Narrow Lot vs a Resale Home on Wide Lot?

Mid 2014 note: This is 2011 post, so prices are not realistic, but the choices between old and new remains the same.. See my Neighborhood Pages above, or my the Heightspage for details on these cool old neighborhoods.

I show or hold open new houses in the Heights all the time. New construction in the Heights is built well, and built with all the detailed trim, moldings and cabinets that Heights buyers insist on. Naturally, they have the full complement of granite, stainless appliances, fantastic baths, etc. People “ooh and aahh” over these homes, but often say “I wish it had more yard”. Unfortunately, as land prices go up, yard sizes go down.

Now, homes are still being built on full-sized (50 ft wide) Heights lots, but they are expensive.

Most new homes are thus typically built on 25 or 33 ft wide lots. (Normally 132 ft deep with alley access for a rear-facing garage.) The 33 ft lot should give more yard space than a 25 ft wide lot, but builders typically put bigger homes on the slightly wider lot, and the yard size winds up nearly the same. So, we are back to where we started.

The choices then wind up being between new construction on narrower lots, and beautifully restored Houston Heights homes on 50 ft wide lots. You can find equivalent size homes on different size lots, but you don’t get the land for free.

Here is an example of two homes for sale in Houston Heights. Roughly the same size; one is new construction on a 25 ft wide lot, being built by HDT Builders; the other is a lovingly restored and expanded Craftsman bungalow in the Heights West Historic District.

Address 1229 Columbia 1017A Waverly
Year Built 1920 2011 (Nearly complete)
House SF 2100 SF 2268 SF
Lot SF 6600 SF 3300 SF
# Bedrooms/Baths 3/2.5 3/2
Price $544,900 $443,900
1229 Columbia. Renovated Houston Heights Home for Sale

1229 Columbia. Renovated Houston Heights Home for Sale

1017A Waverly-Houston Heights Home Under Construction by HDT

1017A Waverly-Under Construction by HDT

Obviously you can’t compare two distinctly different homes built nearly a century apart in time, but you can compare lot values.

The Columbia property, being in a premier area of the Heights has a lot value of $40 per square foot. Thus the additional lot size of Columbia over Waverly is 3300 SF x $40/SF = $132,000. So you can get 50 ft lots, but be prepared to pay an additional $100K – $132K.

Most people come to the Heights already knowing if they are an “Old House Person” or “New House Person”. Yards often now are seen as a place for the dog to poop, or the toddler to get his toes in the grass, but not a place to spend a lot of time and effort. There is a house for all types here.

Note: I’m a person with a big yard (75 ft wide). There’s enough room for my toes in the grass and still avoid my dog Sockie’s poop. I can’t say I enjoy taking care of it anymore, but it is a part of my retirement plan.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to pay for a bigger yard. They aren’t cheap in Houston Heights homes.

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