The Houston metro area is not only one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, but it also houses the most ethnically diverse population in the U.S. With its family-friendly attractions, lively arts scene, vibrant culture, and thriving job market, it’s no wonder many people are flocking to Bayou City. Houston is also known for its work in the space exploration sector. Before the city became what it is today, it experienced a number of fascinating historical milestones that contributed to establishing the Houston, Texas we all know and love.
When Was Houston Founded?
Battle of Jacinto in 1836
Harrisburg became the first settlement in Houston in 1826. Ten years later, in April of 1836, it was destroyed by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, a Mexican general who sought to overthrow General Sam Houston and the Texas army – who fought for independence from Mexico. The infamous battle took place along the bank of the San Jacinto River, which would later become the site for the city of Houston as we know it today.
The Aftermath of the Battle of Jacinto
A week later, Santa Anna was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas was finally freed. In August of 1836, two brothers and land speculators from New York, Augustus C., and John K. Allen, purchased the battle-worn town of Harrisburg. Soon after, they started an advertising campaign that showcased Harrisburg as the future “great interior commercial emporium” of Texas.
A mere two months later, John Allen appealed to the First Congress of the Republic of Texas, persuading them to move to his town – which was named after the first President of Texas, Sam Houston. While his efforts were applaud-worthy, his plea was denounced in 1839, only two years after the government relocated to the area.
Who Is Sam Houston?
Born in 1793 in Virginia, Sam Houston was a congressman, lawyer, and senator in Tennessee. He elected to move to Texas in 1832 to join the escalating conflict between the Mexican government and the U.S. settlers in the region. After becoming commander of the local army, Houston successfully led his men in the defeat of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna during the battle at San Jacinto, effectively securing independence for Texans.
In 1836, and again in 1841, Sam Houston was elected to non-consecutive presidential terms. After Texas became a state in 1845, he served as a senator. Despite his pro-slavery stand, he firmly believed in the preservation of the Union. In 1859, he was elected governor. He fought to diffuse sectional tensions (and advance his career) through the institution of a protectorate over Mexico. His efforts were unsuccessful, as was his bid to secure the presidential nomination for the Constitutional Union’s party.
In January of 1861, despite Houston’s resistance, a state secession convention met and voted in support of Texas leaving the union. After the secession of Texas, he was removed from office for good and later retired.
What Are Some Historical Facts About Houston, Texas?
Houston Was Once the Capital of Texas
For a short period – from 1837 to 1839, Houston became the official capital of Texas. After Sam Houston’s first presidency, however, the capital was moved to Austin by Mirabeau B. Lamar.
The Chamber of Commerce in 1840
On April 4, 1840, seven businessmen from Houston came together to form the Chamber of Commerce. Houston established itself as a center of trade; most notably exporting cotton at the nearby port of Galveston. After Galveston’s port facilities were destroyed by hurricane floodwaters in 1900, Houston became the state’s leading port.
In 1840, the first dock was built on The Buffalo Bayou, which is now part of the Houston ship channel. By the early 1980s, the port (the third largest in tonnage moved in the U.S. at the time), handled over 80 million tons of coastal, foreign, and canal shipping on an annual basis. When oil was uncovered in the region in 1901, the city saw sizable industrial development – ultimately stimulating prosperity and expanding the city’s economic base, which was limited to lumber and cotton in the 19th century. Construction to build The Houston Ship Channel wrapped up in 1914, triggering the establishment of numerous refineries alongside the port in the ’20s and ’30s.
Home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
In 1961, Houston established the Manned Spacecraft Center, which was renamed to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in 1973 in honor of the late President. The center has been leading space flight operations for NASA for four decades and is credited for developing, designing, and operating human space flight.
Why Live in Houston?
Great cuisine, thriving city, gorgeous weather – what more can you ask for? Houston, Texas has over 2 million residents, making it the fourth-largest city in the U.S. What’s more, over 145 different languages are spoken in Houston’s incredibly cultural and diverse metro area.
The city’s economy has continued to flourish thanks to the diversification of businesses that have laid down roots in the urban landscape. While Houston will always remain a hub for oil and energy, there has been tremendous job growth in a number of sectors, like biotechnology, healthcare, aerospace, and information technology.
Houston’s high-quality healthcare can’t be discounted either. Texas Medical Center is internationally-renowned and encompasses the largest medical center in the world – with two medical schools, 13 hospitals, and four nursing programs.
Nothing Beats the Bayou City
With its ethnically diverse population, rich culture, and abundance of economic opportunities, Houston is a highly sought-after place to lay down roots. Not only does the metro area come with some fascinating history, but it provides residents with outdoor activities, great educational systems, and a flourishing economy.
El Paso sits in the westernmost section of Texas, and it is across the border of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. The Rio Grande divides the two busy cities which have economies that rely on each other. Like Austin and Dallas, the city is growing and busy, but it offers a different cultural experience than those two popular Texas locales. El Paso also differentiates itself from other cities in Texas as it has a thriving and growing housing market.
Current Housing Market in El Paso
In 2020, many cities have seen housing markets change. But, in El Paso, the market is continuing to flourish, despite issues with the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience differs from other towns around the country, where home sales have become stagnant. In El Paso, some homeowners are finding themselves feeling uncertain about offering their homes for sale. This is because of uncertainties involving the economy due to the pandemic. With the supply down, the demand has gone up for homebuyers.
According to real estate news article from realtor.com, El Paso homes are averaging $188,000 in May 2020. This is a price increase of 4.8% since the same time last year. As many home buyers are looking for homes under $250,000, this price is keeping the El Paso market hot. Interestingly, the supply and demand of homes in El Paso are about the same in 2020 as it was in 2019, proving the pandemic hasn’t had much of an effect on the current market.
One metric has changed in May 2020. Homes in El Paso, Texas remain on the market for an average of 68 days. Compared to April 2020, the average number of days on the market has increased, but it is lower than the average from 2019.
El Paso Housing Market Trends and Prediction for 2020 – 2021
There are several expectations for the upcoming year in El Paso. The expectation is that the town will continue to be a hot real estate market, much like other cities in Texas. Economists are paying close attention to both the housing market and the economy in the city, especially since both are so closely tied to trade between Mexico and the United States.
The thriving market is due to the affordability of homes. When compared to other economic hotspots in Texas, El Paso has the lowest median prices. The properties are in so much demand that homebuyers get into bidding wars over them. Homeowners then receive top dollar after receiving multiple offers.
Reasons to Invest in El Paso
El Paso may not have the same name recognition as Austin, Houston, or Dallas, but many people are finding it a good investment option. Unlike the other large cities in Texas, El Paso still remains affordable. The housing market is 40% lower than the national average, which makes it attractive to investors who are looking for opportunities. They are hoping that when they buy low, they can eventually sell high.
Along with an affordable housing market, there are several areas that also have affordable rental options. This is also attractive to investors who look to own properties for the long haul in an effort to bring in revenue from renters. The hot areas for rental properties include
Even though El Paso has an affordable housing market, there are expensive options, too. These are in the northwestern and eastern parts of the city and its surrounding suburbs.
Another good reason people are making an investment in El Paso is that it offers a strong job market. The trade crossing the river means there are opportunities in government, hospitality, and logistics. There are also opportunities on the rise in healthcare and finance. The unemployment rate is a low 4%.
How the Overall Economy is Helping El Paso
The economy varies around the country, but there are some trends that are helping move the El Paso housing market.
Reducing Restrictions on Loan Requirements
Financial institutions have relaxed their requirements for conventional loans. The housing problems of 2008 are a distant memory, so lenders are allowing higher debt levels. They are also allowing new homebuyers to put down less money in the past, especially as monthly rental costs eat up a significant part of many down payments.
Low Mortgage Rates
Along with reduced restrictions, mortgage rates have remained low and are expected to stay that way. This gives reluctant homebuyers more reason to get in on the hot market – if they can find a property. Many believe the rates will stay below 4.5% for a while, but no one knows for sure as interest rates are still highly volatile.
Investors Appreciate the Draw of Rental Properties
As some people are reluctant to invest in a home, investors are all too ready to put their money into rental properties. The newer apartment complexes draw renters by offering family-friendly environments within walking distance. The multi-use offerings include movie theaters, public parks, community gardens, dining opportunities, and more all surrounded by modern apartments.
Aggressive Millennial Homebuyers
As the number of homes on the market is low, buyers have to be aggressive. It is common for buyers to make offers above the asking price so they can find a home. These aggressive buyers are making it interesting for sellers to list their homes – even with the possible risk of not being able to find something new. Millennials are earning competitive salaries, and many are ready to start families. So, they want homes, at prices under $250,000.
Stated by credit repair El Paso specialists, El Paso is an affordable housing market with homes in the ideal price range. The thriving economy and welcoming economic trends are making things interesting for buyers and sellers alike in El Paso. With international trade growing between Mexico and the United States, the port in El Paso continues to offer jobs in a variety of industries. Many of the jobs pay well and offer security, like those in the military, government, and logistics industries.
As the largest state in the continental United States, Texas is filled with big cities and iconic tourist attractions. With five of the fifteen most populated cities in the United States, it is easy to see that people enjoy Texas. From Houston to Amarillo and El Paso to Longview, there is plenty to do and to see in the over 268,000 square miles of the Lone Star State.
The capital city of Texas is a hip spot for people who love live music. Austin is known for being the Live Music Capital of the World and is the home to over 250 live-music venues. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and for a good reason: there is a lot to do in the heart of Texas in the city that enjoys being weird.
Places to Visit and Things to do in Austin
While in Austin, there are several places to see and things to do. Of course, the city is known for hosting the ever-growing SXSW Festival, but there is more to the city than that. There are natural areas that offer recreation and relaxation, and cultural events that showcase the local treasures in the capital city. These spots include:
Zilker Metropolitan Park Attractions and Barton Springs Pool
Lady Bird Lake
Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to see the Mexican free-tailed bats take flight
The largest city in Texas is in Houston. Like Austin, people continue to move to the city for the opportunities it offers. The Bayou City is home to world-class professional sports teams, memorable museums, and the beautiful beaches on nearby Galveston Bay. Houston is also known for being the home of Johnson Space Center and Mission Control.
Must-Visit Places in Houston
To get the most out of your time in Houston, these are some of the places tourists should see. Many of these spots are family-friendly and provide insight into the American experience in Houston.
San Antonio brings old and new Texas together in one vibrant city. It is filled with historic sites, natural beauty, and modern tourist attractions. The historic spots often bring the tourists to San Antonio, but it is the city as a whole that brings them back for more. Like Houston and Austin, San Antonio is also a growing city with many people moving in each day.
Things to do in San Antonio
The historic spots in San Antonio are the most frequently visited places in the city. But, the River Walk offers delicious food and plenty of nightlife and entertainment. These are the spots you must see when you visit the home of the Alamo.
The Alamo and the historic mission and battlefield
Pearl District and Farmers Market
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail
Even though all of these cities are in the same state, they could not be more different from each other. Dallas is a massive city known for its wealth from several lucrative industries like oil and finance. In the 1970s and 80s, the popular TV show Dallas showed the world the beautiful ranches and the vibrant downtown. But the city offers so much more than oil, horses, and money. It is a city filled with history, architecture, and cultural centers.
Top Attractions in Dallas
When visiting Big D, tourists can pay homage to the 35th president. They can also see the way that nature meets innovation in local parks, museums, and architecture. Check out these places when traveling to Dallas:
At the far western side of Texas is El Paso, which was once known for being the lawless gateway to the wild west. Now, the city is a popular spot along the Rio Grande across the way from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. It is a busy port for good traveling back and forth between the two countries, and with that trade comes a vibrant culture that is unique to the city. Along with all of the features of a big city, El Paso also has a rugged mountain landscape that is ideal for outdoor activities.
What to do in El Paso
When in El Paso, take the opportunity to enjoy the Mexican and American cultural sites and sounds. With the proximity to Mexico, there is plenty to do in the city that you cannot do in other places around the United States. There are also several parks with awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Whether you visit all of the big cities in Texas in one vacation or you visit one at a time, you will not be disappointed. The five large cities in the Lone Star State offer unique opportunities that you cannot find in other cities. Texas has everything, from the modern Perot Museum in Dallas to the high-tech history at Johnson Space Center in Houston to old-world history at the Alamo in San Antonio to the awe-inspiring views of Big Bend National Park outside of El Paso. You won’t be disappointed when visiting the big cities in Texas.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S and the biggest city in Texas, with a population of 2.3 million people. Houston is one of the top markets in the nation for real estate investing with its diversified economy and a huge demand for housing. In 2019, the housing market Houston ended strong, and now that we’re in 2020, it continues to perform well.
Current Housing Market in Houston
COVID-19 has caused disruption in every sector, from real estate to farming and everything in between. Not only individual health has been compromised, but business health has been affected, as well. During the last week of March, the housing market also saw a small downturn compared to the rest of March’s performance.
However, there is good news for the housing market. Even though COVID-19 interrupted the regular stream of sales, Houston sales were over 11% ahead of March 2019 levels. That is excellent year-on-year growth. Given the fact that we’re dealing with sales figures during a pandemic, these numbers are very encouraging.
Why are we seeing such impressive growth during a pandemic? The federal government has lowered interest rates to the point where they are now at all-time lows. As a result, mortgage rates are also at an all-time low, and consumers are taking advantage of this fact.
So, what are the numbers we’re seeing? March numbers, according to the Update from Houston Association of Realtors, recorded 7,566 single-family homes sold in 2020 compared to 6,995 in 2019. In total, that is an 8.2% increase and nine consecutive positive months for house sales.
Stated by credit repair Houston analyst, the most purchased homes fall in the single-family category with a price range of $500,000 to $750,000 for March. Single-family homes in the range of $250,000 to $500,000 came next. Families that leased single-family homes also increased during March.
Median pricing for single-family homes rose 4.1% to $249,900, and average home prices rose 3.8% to $309,785. When it comes to home sales in March, these numbers represent the highest prices ever recorded.
Total sales for all property types equaled 8,965 for March, representing a 6.9% increase from March 2019. The total dollar amount for home sales rose 11% year-on-year to just over $2.6 billion.
Houston Housing Market Predictions for 2020
Prospective homebuyers face competition when looking to purchase low to mid-range houses for the rest of 2020. Homes priced between $150,000 to $200,000 are already in low supply, and we’re only a few months into the year.
On the upside, low-interest rates will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future. With the economic downturn due to COVID-19 and falling oil prices, Houston’s economy is facing a slowdown with the rest of the nation. However, falling interest rates and strong year-on-year growth are reasons to remain positive regarding the long-term outlook of moving to Houston.
How Does Your Credit Score Affect Loan Options and What Scores Do You Need?
When you’re looking to purchase a house, you’ll need to shop around for a mortgage. The most critical factor in getting the best mortgage rate possible from lenders is your credit score. As a rule, the higher your credit score, the better interest rates you’ll qualify for. According to David Lin, a former risk management director for Barclays and Citibank, if you have a credit score of 700 or above, you’ll be able to land a beneficial interest rate.
With scores above 720, you fall into the category of “excellent” rated credit, and you’ll have access to the best possible interest rates. A score that falls in the range of 690 to 719 is considered “good,” and at this range, you’ll still qualify for beneficial rates, though some lenders will be warier. Once you dip below 690, your options will become more limited, and if your score is around 640 or lower, a conventional mortgage might not be possible to obtain.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
If you have a credit score that needs improvement, there is good news! With time and dedication, all credit scores can be improved. So what can you do to see your score improve by ten, twenty, thirty, or one hundred points?
Here are five ways to improve your credit score:
Whether you have auto loans, credit card payments, or school bills, pay each installment on time. Lapsing at all will significantly damage your credit score. If you’ve already lapsed on one or more bills, get back on track as soon as possible. Paying your loans on time is the single most significant thing you can do to improve your credit score.
Cap Your Spending
Set a spending limit of no more than 30% of your total credit limit. For example, if you have a credit limit of $3,000 combined from your credit cards, plan to put no more than $900 total on your credit cards.
Pay Off Balances
If you have cards that have high balances, pay them down or transfer your balance to free up credit. Paying off balances will improve your credit score significantly.
Find a Mortgage within 30 Days
When you apply for mortgages, lending companies will run your credit score. Each time this happens, your score will dip slightly. Finding your mortgage within thirty days will ensure that your interest rate isn’t impacted by credit checks.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is work with a credit repair company to help improve your score. Companies can help you utilize strategies that are ideal for your specific situation.
Buy in Houston
Houston is one of the top markets for real estate. Acquiring a home in this area has lots of advantages, such as the low-interest rates for mortgages and a diverse economy in the city. Should you want to buy a house in Houston, achieving a high credit score is essential to get the lowest interest rate. We hope this article has given you an idea for improving your credit score to have a higher chance of getting the house that you want.
You know the saying – “Keep Austin Weird”? Well, Austin, TX is undeniably cool, and if you’re looking to visit or move to the city, there are tons of things to do from food trucks to music festivals and swimming holes. Whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge, there is something for everyone to do in Austin.
What To Do in Austin, TX
Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake is a gorgeous area for outdoor rec, hiking, biking, and adventuring. It’s not a swmmin’ hole, but you can go kayaking, rowing, or stand-up-paddle boarding. Explore the whopping 468 acres of land and take the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail for exercise with trees and lake as your backdrop.
Forget Peloton, come here for motivation to exercise! The best part? Admission is free!
Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
For an after-hours experience, this is the place to go. Every day from 6 pm-8 pm, the museum holds a free “after dark” experience for the whole family. Enjoy a lit-up sculpture garden, gallery exhibits, themed activities, food, and entertainment.
It starts in May and goes through the summer, along with free evening yoga classes and refreshments from local vendors. This is an event the entire community enjoys. Come for a taste of what it’s like to live like a local Austinite and do something out of the ordinary.
Texas State Capitol
For a taste of Texas beauty and history, step inside the capitol building. It’s free to enter, and docent-led tours are offered every 20-30 minutes. Learn about the history of Texas and the beautiful building itself by experienced and knowledgeable guides. If you’d rather take a tour at your own pace, self-guided options are available for the whole family to enjoy.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Explore the astounding garden at the University of Texas and immerse yourself in the native fauna and flora of the Lone Star State. The center has regular family programs for children to get hands-on experience with gardening.
Older kids will love the available magnifying glasses, books, and binoculars to take their garden adventure to the next level. Be sure to call ahead so you can plan to experience everything the center has to offer.
Barton Springs Pool
They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, folks, it’s true – even for swimming pools! If you’re looking for a family-friendly swimmin’ hole, this is it! Barton Sprints is an outdoor recreational swimming pool that measures a whopping three acres in size.
The pool is fed entirely with warm water from nearby natural springs and stays at a consistent year-round temperature of 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Continental Club
The Continental Club has been in operation since 1957 and holds a well-deserved reputation as a premier music club. They play a delightful variety of Americana and Texan tunes. It’s a favorite hot-spot for locals, but visitors and tourists are welcomed in gladly.
If you want to live like a local Austinite for a few hours, this is the place to come. Grab a drink and turn to a neighbor for delightful discussion about life in Texas.
You can’t have Texas without BBQ and BBQ wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Texas. Franklin Barbeque is a legend in Austin and beyond, often boasting hours-long lines because they’re just that good. The chef and food celebrity, Aaron Franklin, cooks up sausages and beef ribs that are to die for.
One taste of his “Q” and you’ll never go back to eating regular barbeque again. Bring a folding chair, a hungry stomach, and a friend to hang with while you wait for your mouthwatering grub.
This ain’t your regular, ordinary, everyday doughnut shop. This particular donut shop serves up Texas-sized donuts for Texas-sized appetites. They come in mouthwatering flavors like the famous “Mother Clucker” – fried chicken on donuts, and “Cache Me Outside” – Nutella, bananas pecans, and whipped cream. No matter what you choose from their one-of-a-kind menu, you can’t possibly go wrong.
For a movie and good-eats, Alamo Drafthouse is the best there is. Snag a seat for your favorite flick and order from a menu that sports options like buffalo cauliflower, banh mi hot dogs, and bourbon milkshakes.
Why settle for the plain old popcorn and soda when you can have your move and dine-out experience, too? Austinites really love their food.
Snag a room in this hotel that is quite literally old as dirt. It’s a true Texas landmark and is the oldest operating hotel in Austin. It’s also creepily haunted. Whose specter roams its halls? It’s rumored that a girl who fell down the stairs to her death and few suicide brides have never left the building.
If you’re looking for a live music venue, you can’t pass up Mohawk. Live music gets going every day from 8 pm-2 am and showcases some of Austin’s best creatives. Other live music venues to consider are The Continental Club, Antone’s Nightclub, ACL Live, and Elephant Room. Live music is essential in the Austin culture.
No trip to Austin would be complete without getting your very own pair of spur janglers – that’s right, we mean good old-fashioned cowboy boots. You’ll be sure to find a pair you love in Allen’s, where the Texas-sized store boasts over 4,000 pairs of boots for your choosing.
You can also find cowboy hats, western duds, and plenty of accessories for a complete outfit. Walk in a visitor, walk out a Texan.
If you’re already visiting Allen Boots, head on over to the next store – the greatest antique and vintage shop around. Peruse items of old, relics, and home goods grandma used. If you’re looking to pick up household items to complete that “Farmhouse” style, this is where you’ll find them!
For nightlife lovers, this is the street where you’ll want to spend some time. It’s a local hot-spot and well-known icon in Austin. Why? It’s several blocks filled with bars and restaurants and endless options for grabbing a bite to eat, indulging in Texas grub, and drinking your fill of local and national brews.
Congress Avenue Bridge
This bridge is famous for two reasons. One, it’s dedicated to the 45th governor of Texas, Ann W. Richards. Two, it’s home to the largest urban bat colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Between 750,000 and 1.5 million bats call this bridge their home during the summer months.
Here, you can join up to 100,000 tourists every year to watch the bats as they come out at dusk and fly around Lady Bird Lake looking for their nightly meal.
Harry Ransom Center
If manuscripts, historical documents, and old photographs are your thing, you won’t want to pass this up. The center is home to one of the most extensive archives of original manuscripts and documents in the nation.
Here, you can ogle at exhibits including The First Photograph – the oldest surviving photograph known taken in 1826 in France – and a first edition of the Gutenberg King James Bible.
Come Visit Austin!
These are only a few of the fun attractions that Austin offers. Want to learn more? Come visit this unique city that boasts a vibrant music scene, loads of food, and friendly people.
Stated by the credit repair Austin experts, if you plan on moving to Austin, TX, make sure your credit score is high, and your debt is in check to get the best mortgage rate possible. If you need help with creating a customized financial plan to improve your credit score, contact the Phenix Group.