5 Things Houstonians Can Look Forward to in 2018
Legitimate reasons for Houstonians to get excited about 2018
Houston is recovering from Harvey faster than anyone thought. Many families directly affected are expecting to move back into their homes by early 2018. The local economy is rebounding, and should continue to climb. Houston real estate continues to trend positive, with home sales up 3.3 percent compared to last year. And the Houston Chronicle believes Houston could add 70,000 jobs in 2018.
Houston’s primed for a strong start. The 2017 World Series Championship got the ball rolling in the right direction; now the challenge is carrying that momentum over to the New Year. Despite the recent rough patch, Houstonians have a lot to look forward to in 2018.
Texas-Sized Amusement Park
Now that the RV Resort and SpeedSportz Racing Park sections of Grand Texas have now opened, the entertainment, dining, and shopping destination nine miles north of IAH is becoming a reality. The 632-acre entertainment hub will be Houston’s largest attraction, boasting Houston’s “largest amusement park, a waterpark, an outlet mall, shopping and dining promenade, hotels, and more.” According to the Grand Texas website, the Big Rivers Waterpark and Gator Bayou Adventure Park will open this summer, with a few development opportunities still available for interested investors.
An Incredible Basketball Team
Coming off a deep playoff run last season and acquiring nine-time All Star Chris Paul in the off season, many people thought the Rockets would continue to improve. Very few predicted that they would be number one in the league by the end of 2017. The Rockets, led by MVP candidate James Harden, continue to defy expectations with a hot offense, impressive handles, and a barrage of 3-point shooting around the arc. While they’ve already beat the reigning champs once this year, defeating them in a seven-game series is no cake walk. That said, the Rockets have only gotten better over the past few years. Could this be the year they finally knock the Warriors out and advance to the Finals? Could Houston be celebrating yet another sports championship just months after the Astros’ impressive World Series win? At this pace, it’s possible.
More Bearable Commutes (Fingers Crossed)
Speaking of chosen years, could this be the year that projected Houston construction timelines actually hold up? The lane-widening construction on US 290 was on pace last year for final completion in 2018. Not a lot of updates on its progress have been reported this year—which is worrisome—but it could happen. After all, this has been going on since June 2011. They have to be close, right?
More promising still is an interstate highway that already made considerable strides in 2017. Now finished with the project north of Bay Area, I-45 South is continuing to expand its lanes, with construction shifting father south, bridging the slower, skinnier stretch between NASA 1 and FM 518. However, this project is not expected to complete until 2021.
As crude oil prices rise incrementally—now hovering just above $57 per barrel—so does Houston’s employment rate. Hurricane Harvey also created new construction and insurance jobs, along with increased demand for appraisals, cars, and homes. While all this is not without its downsides—more people lost their jobs or valuable work hours as stores and offices shut down during and following the flooding—it did boost job growth in certain industries.
However, much of Houston’s success balances on whether or not it’s profitable for drilling rigs to work in Texas oil fields going forward. The larger the margin between $60 per barrel and beyond, the better things will be for the industry. But there’s reason for hope.
If Houston Chronicle’s reported predictions prove correct, Houston will “return to a normal pace of employment growth after the worst energy downturn in decades.”
Several new Texas laws went into effect on January 1 of the New Year, everything from Bingo licensing fees to milk hauling regulations. While most Texans won’t be affected by either of those changes, Texas property owners are perking up over the new appraisal bill.
Under the current law, appraisal protests can actually worsen the situation by raising a property’s appraisal value. There is also no way to protest the new value if this happens. The new approval bill changes that by giving property owners the right to respond in cases like these.
What are you looking forward to most in 2018? Share this article on social media with your comments, and be sure to tag us @TexasCitizensBank. We rely on you—our Houston friends and neighbors—to keep us up to date on local opinions and stories.