The Greater Houston Area

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty The Woodlands

In a recent interview with Fred Welch, the vice president of regional economic development for the Greater Houston Partnership, 2014 was determined to be a strong year for Houston's real estate. "Our job forecast is down slightly from 2013 to slightly under 70,000 net new jobs in the region vs. 76,000 in 2013, but it still points to a strong local economy driven by our pillars of strength in energy, logistics and manufacturing."

"The office market (corporate headquarters, financial services and back office support) will be robust in 2014. We have not yet overbuilt in the markets and sub-markets that support corporate expansions. All indications are that this will be a year of continued growth. The Houston GDP (gross domestic product) is expected to grow at a range of 2.5 percent to 3 percent this year. That is very sustainable growth in all areas."

With today's low business costs and competitive tax structure in Houston, the quality of life, affordability, and diversity are increasing and creating a healthy real estate market.

"This region remains the best value proposition to start or expand a business enterprise. Houstonians have a can-do attitude and welcome new and innovative ideas," he said.

The "Opportunity Houston" program, hosted by GHP that generates leads for economic development organizations throughout the city, is also luring companies to move here, says Welch. The second phase is called "Opportunity Houston 2.0" and is estimated to run for six years, and is projected to attract 450,000 new jobs to the area with a gain capital investment of more than $45 billion.

"This goal is ambitious, but achievable. We will be adding additional emphasis on promoting Houston's quality of life to the next generation of college graduates seeking an exciting place to launch their careers. Additionally, we will be focusing attention on the existing workforce and harnessing the resources of our local employers, training institutions and community networks to assure we can train and retain a quality workforce to support the expanding needs of the community."

"Houston makes good sense for business because it is a global city offering the resources and talent that will enable business to grow and prosper," Welch said.

"We are at 6 percent unemployment, but with 2.2 million workers, that still provides a vast pool of workers who may want employment but do not have the requisite skills to take on a new position. The ability to train and retrain our workforce to adapt to the changing needs will come to the forefront in 2014. The GHP has been working with a task force composed of industry, academia and the social network supporting our underutilized workforce for several months to develop strategies to implement across the MSA (metropolitan statistical area) that will enable and provide a trained workforce to meet the changing needs of industry."

In the cycle of growth, Houston continues to bring in new companies and new people with its vibrancy and life.

"We must continue to grow on this success to be a great city. The leadership in both the private and public sectors will need to continue to work on the quality of life issues that have made us such a great place. The GHP is the catalyst to convene these sectors and reach consensus on a path to success. Led by its members and a dedicated staff, a bright and bountiful future can be achieved in 2014 and the years to follow."

Article Citation: Welch, Fred. (January 24, 2014.) On the move: what is the Houston relocation outlook for 2014? Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 3, 2014 from:
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