The Houston Commercial Real Estate Market

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Nationwide, commercial property buyers, sellers, and tenants are flocking to Houston commercial real estate to participate in the city’s fast-growing, resilient market.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA features a fast-growing job sector, business-friendly tax benefits, an increasing population, and sprawling mileage of attractive CRE inventory: all attracting owners and businesses alike to the region. Crexi empowers both entities seeking Houston commercial real estate for sale and the brokers who represent them with an all-in-one platform to buy and sell commercial real estate.

Buyers and tenants can instantly browse Crexi’s robust marketplace and refine their search to find any one of thousands of Houston commercial property offerings to fit their needs. In fact, Crexi’s digital traffic is approximately 92% composed of buyers and tenants, many of them seeking Houston properties as an investment option.

On the other side of the transaction process, Houston brokers harness Crexi’s powerful listing and lead management tools to connect with buyers and tenants directly. Crexi’s suite of broker tools empowers commercial agents with time-saving features, allowing them to discover and communicate with well-qualified leads more efficiently.

To date, Crexi has facilitated the successful closing of over $300 billion in commercial property sales and marketed more than half a million properties worth over $1.2 trillion in total. 

Crexi proudly serves Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Pasadena, The Woodlands, and beyond as the region’s fastest-growing digital CRE platform.

The State of Commercial Real Estate in Houston

All Houston commercial real estate market sectors continue to outperform, with a growing number of people and businesses attracted to the region’s low cost of living and doing business and a better quality of life.

In fact, according to a report from Texas Public Radio, the commercial real estate market in Texas is heating up like nowhere else in the country. Houston recently had the highest volume of commercial real estate transactions of any city in the U.S, with investors of all shapes and sizes coming to Houston to buy.

Houston is the most populous city in the Southern US and Texas and anchors one corner of the Texas Triangle megaregion. Located in Southeast Texas near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the metro area is home to over 7.1 million residents and accounted for 25% of the population growth in Texas over the past decade.

Best known as an oil-producing city, over the years, the economy of Houston has become incredibly diverse. While energy still plays a major role, other burgeoning economic sectors include manufacturing, transportation, aeronautics, and healthcare. The Texas Medical Center in Houston is home to the largest concentration of research and healthcare institutions globally, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Mission Control, and the Port of Houston.

Houston Regional Breakdown

The population of the Houston metropolitan area soared by one million people over the past decade, generating about a quarter of the population growth in the entire state of Texas. While the City of Houston grew by 10% over the past ten years, the adjacent suburban counties of Montgomery and Fort Bend each witnessed population growth of more than 35%.

  • Houston is home to more than 2.3 million residents in the city and over 7.1 million in the metropolitan area.
  • Population growth in the metro area was 0.98% year-over-year.
  • Over the past ten years, the City of Houston gained over 200,000 residents, posting a population growth rate of 10%.
  • Houston is the 4th most populous city in the U.S. and the largest city in Texas.
  • Harris County (where Houston is the county seat), along with Ford and Montgomery counties, accounted for 25% of the population growth of Texas over the past ten years.
  • Metropolitan Houston is predicted to grow by another 1.2 million residents in the next seven years.
  • The median age in Houston is 34.9 years, a little less than the figure in the U.S.
  • Houston’s median household incomes increased by 5.8% year-over-year, while median property values rose by more than 7%.
  • Houston’s per capita income is $35,190, and median household income is $69,193.

Houston Job Market

Metropolitan Houston has recovered over 80% of the total jobs lost since the pandemic began. In fact, between September and November of last year alone, the region added over 79,000 new jobs, helping to drive the unemployment rate down to just 5.1% (November 2021).

  • GDP of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land TX MSA is over $488 billion and has grown by over 38% during the past decade.
  • Nearly 133,000 new jobs were added to the market in 2021, with the employed population of Houston totaling 3.42 million people.
  • Job growth in Houston was 1.9% year-over-year.
  • Over the past 12 months, median household incomes grew by nearly 6%, while property values rose by more than 7%.
  • According to the BLS, the unemployment rate in Houston is 5.1% as of November 2021.
  • Advanced manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, biotechnology, energy, life sciences, and transportation and logistics are among the vital target industries in Houston.
  • Houston’s largest employers include ExxonMobil, Memorial Hermann Health Systems, The Methodist Hospital System, and University of Texas MD Anderson.
  • Pro-growth government, low regulation costs, and no personal or corporate income taxes are four reasons why Houston ranks 4th among the top U.S. metropolitan areas for Fortune 500 headquarters.
  • Universities in Houston include Texas A&M University-College Station, University of Houston, and Sam Houston State University.
  • More than 33% of the residents of Houston hold a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree, while 85% are high school graduates or higher.

The transportation infrastructure of Houston includes the Port of Houston, freight rail service, three major interstate highways, and two major airports, including George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Houston Industrial Market

The seemingly endless demand for industrial space in Houston is causing the sector to expand. Amazon leased 3.6 million SF in new development and nearly 18.5 million SF of build-to-suit and spec industrial product currently under construction in the Houston metropolitan area.

  • Total industrial inventory: 490,775,968 SF
  • Average asking rent: $6.45 per SF per year, NNN
  • Vacancy rate: 9.0%
  • Absorption: 23.4 million SF through Q3 2021
  • Key lease transactions by tenant: Chewy.com, Crawford Electric Supply, CVS Distribution
  • New construction: 18.9 million SF delivered YTD with 18.5 million SF currently under construction
  • Key lease sale transactions: Cedar Port Logistics Center, 11211 FM 2920, Sugar Land Cross Roads Business Park
  • Largest industrial submarkets: Northwest-Far, Southeast-Far, North-Far, Southwest-Far

Discover Houston industrial property for lease.

Houston Office Market

The trend of employees moving back to the office has been steadily increasing, helping the office market in Houston to stabilize. Net absorption of office space in the metro area turned positive for the first time in two years, and an average of more than 50% of the new inventory and spec development is already pre-leased.

  • Total office inventory: 151,360,597 SF
  • Average asking rents: $30.87 per SF year, full service gross, all classes
  • Vacancy rate: 30.2%
  • Absorption: 27,400 SF in Q3 2021
  • Leasing activity: 5.7 million SF YTD
  • Key lease transactions by tenant: Entergy, Encap Investments, McGuireWoods 
  • New construction: 3.2 million SF under construction
  • Key sale transactions: Bank of America Tower, Five Post Oak Park, Beltway 8 Corporate Center
  • Largest office submarkets: Central Business District, Katy Freeway, West Loop/Galleria, Westheimer/Gessner

Discover Houston office property for lease. 

Houston Retail Market

The Houston retail market remains resilient, with all key metrics flashing green. Asking rents are improving, leasing activity is up, and vacancy is down. In the 3rd quarter of 2021 alone, 2.1 million square feet of retail space was leased in the Houston metropolitan area, pushing vacancy rates down to the lowest level seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • Total retail inventory: 373,644,369 SF
  • Average asking rent: $19.02 per SF per year, NNN
  • Vacancy rate: 5.8%
  • Absorption: 4.2 million SF YTD
  • Leasing activity: 2 million SF in Q3 2021
  • Key lease transactions by tenant: Hobby Lobby, Planet Fitness, Tractor Supply
  • New construction: 3.3 million SF delivered through Q3 with another 3.3 million SF currently under construction
  • Key sale transactions: Kroger-anchored Tomball Town Center 141,450 SF
  • Largest retail submarkets: North, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast

Discover Houston retail property for lease.

Houston Multifamily Market

In Houston, rising home prices continue to drive the demand for apartment rentals, with both high-quality suburban rentals and Class B multifamily properties among the best-performing asset classes in the metro area. Average rental rates, occupancy levels, and net absorption are ticking upward as people and businesses move to business-friendly Houston.

  • Total housing units: 2,690,001
  • Renter occupied: 40%
  • Total multifamily units: 696,883
  • Effective rent per unit: $1,155
  • Effective rent growth: 4.9% year-over-year
  • Vacancy rate: 8.3%
  • New construction: 4,077 units delivered in Q3 2021 with 13,902 units currently under construction
  • Largest multifamily submarkets: Willowbrook/Champions/Ella, Katy/Cinco Ranch/Waterside, Energy Corridor/CityCentre/Briar Forest
  • Median household income: $69,193
  • Per capita income: $35,190

Discover Houston multifamily property for sale.

How Crexi Connects Buyers and Tenants to Houston Commercial Real Estate

Investing in and acquiring Houston commercial property for buyers and tenants has never been more simple. As Texas’ largest metro and one of the top five largest cities in the US, Houston plays host to a robust, thriving commercial real estate market that’s primed for investors and new tenants alike.

Property seekers can easily find Houston commercial real estate with a few clicks on Crexi, narrowing searches by property type, asset class, square footage, price, neighborhood, amenities, and more. 

Once a listing has been identified, buyers and tenants can directly reach out to the listing’s broker, download OMs and brochures, and even submit letters of intent (LOIs) through Crexi’s secure platform.

Intelligence Equips Investors with Data and Market Knowledge 

Knowledge is power when investing in any commercial real estate market, especially Houston. Crexi’s Intelligence subscription is a comprehensive data library containing millions of third-party verified property records and sales comparables and key in-market insights directly on each property’s page. Using the power of Crexi Intelligence, buyers and tenants can rest assured they’re making the smartest commercial property investment decisions possible.

Intelligence is available to buyers, sellers, and tenants on a subscription basis.

How Houston Brokers Thrive with Crexi

Houston brokers already utilize Crexi’s online marketplace to list more than 1,200 properties for sale and nearly 9,000 Houston properties for rent within the city’s limits. Post-COVID, Houston’s commercial markets are seeing vacancy rates drop across the board with positive absorption and favorable cap rates, proving its resilience amid challenging economic times.

Brokers in Houston and beyond use Crexi’s commercial real estate technology to quickly list properties and connect with engaged, qualified buyers and tenants with a few clicks. Brokers can efficiently market listings across asset classes throughout Houston, including

  • Industrial buildings
  • Land parcels
  • Multifamily developments
  • Retail properties
  • Offices
  • Mixed-Use buildings
  • Hospitality assets
  • Non-traditional properties such as data centers, self-storage, etc.

Crexi’s powerful, simple CRE tech suite empowers Houston brokers with everything they need to guide listings from start to close effectively. Brokers can track buyer and tenant engagement with their listings in real-time, using lead scores to inform their outreach strategy. Crexi also offers a secure due diligence vault for easy file storage and management.

And while Crexi’s free broker tools are powerful, commercial agents unlock the true potential of Crexi with Sale PRO, Lease PRO, and All PRO

Crexi PRO Dashboard 2020

Crexi’s All PRO Membership

Houston brokers go PRO to speed up and simplify their workflow and close more deals. Each PRO subscription features a robust lead management system with detailed lead data that connects brokers to the most qualified buyer and tenant leads.

PRO also simplifies collaboration and team operations with branded, downloadable lead reports from Crexi’s centralized platform. Listings with PRO also enjoy high tile placement at the top of search result pages, seen immediately by actively-searching Houston investors.

Additionally, Crexi continues to market Houston properties with weekly emails sent to its database of hundreds of thousands of buyers and tenants nationwide. Each email is curated to the property-seekers’ search behavior, featuring a selection of best-fit PRO listings sent straight to their inbox. Thanks to Crexi’s machine-learning-powered preferences, these emails earn a 10-15% higher click-through rate than industry averages. 

PRO members also enjoy access to Intelligence’s database of sales comps, property records, and MSA reports at no additional cost.

Brokers in Houston and nationwide use Crexi PRO subscriptions to engage with — including those in the broader Houston metro area — use Crexi PRO to engage with the over 395,000 leads searching for Houston commercial real estate and 12.5 million leads nationwide added to Crexi just in 2021. 

On average, PRO brokers engage 125% more leads and win up to eight times more deals than non-PRO members.

Contact support@crexi.com to learn more about All PRO.

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Shanti Ryle
Shanti Ryle

Content Marketing Manager

Shanti leads Crexi's content marketing strategies with 7+ years of content development experience, creating everything from blog posts to award-winning podcasts. Previously, she worked on content teams at Snapchat, Weedmaps, and HopSkipDrive as well as developed copy, articles, and media for freelance publications.

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