Job Growth Spurs Temporary Housing Market in Houston

Mar 10, 2015

Approximately 50,000 people relocate to Houston every year, creating a luxury-housing boom.

Imagine waking up in your luxury apartment. There’s a knock at the door – in wheels some scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, a gourmet breakfast delivered. Every morning. And your company’s paying for all of it. That could be the reality for some Houston transplants as early as June, if David Redfern has his way. He’s the president of Waterwalk.

"Waterwalk specifically is one part apartment, one part corporate housing, and one part upscale extended stay hotel," Redfern says. While anyone who can afford the base rent of $2,ooo a month is welcome, Redfern has one specific customer in mind.  "Our customer is the people that are traveling for those types of business trips, and so that tends to be companies that have relocations, trainings and projects," Redfern says.

Houston added more than 100,000 jobs in the last 12 months and hosted more than 4 million business travelers. Forty-one percent of those jobs were in the energy and healthcare fields. Relocation specialist and writer Michelle Sandlin says all those business travelers need a place to stay.

Houston has a lot of temporary housing providers offering various products and there’s always been, for the last few years, an inventory shortage in that regard," Sandlin says. "So, I would imagine anybody coming into that market offering this type of product and service would certainly be welcome in the community."

More than 5,000 energy-related firms in Houston compete for some of the best talent in the country. And when you’re trying to woo someone to your team, every little luxury counts. "We deliver breakfast to each room, each apartment, we provide obviously housekeeping, we have a car service that will take people wherever they need to go," Redfern says. "It’s kind of a level of pampering you don’t get these days."

Once the Houston property is up and running, Waterwalk plans on expanding to Austin, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth. “Well, Houston has had and Texas has had a steady influx of people moving here for several years, we’ve got population growth that continues to surge,” Sandlin says.

The state demographer says the Texan population will double by 2050. Part of that is projected birth rates, and part is people from all over the world moving here to work. Companies who can ease that transition for new Texas residents look at the statistics and see dollar signs.