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Get Familiar With The Woodlands, Houston, Texas
Unique, yet familiar – that’s the best way to describe The Woodlands to someone who doesn’t know much about this large master-planned community in Houston, Texas. It’s unique in the sense that it’s one of the largest urban developments in the entire United States, and familiar in the sense that it looks and feels like classic small-town America (despite being located just north of downtown Houston).
Whether you’re looking to invest in rental properties in The Woodlands or simply learn more about the area, this article will serve as a comprehensive guide and hopefully help you gather your bearings.
About The Woodlands
Located 28 miles north of downtown Houston along Interstate 45, The Woodlands is a sprawling master-planned community that was originally conceived and developed by oil investor George P. Mitchell in 1974.
Mitchell came up with the idea for The Woodlands after attending a symposium from American City Corporation on how to develop HUD financed Title VII towns (like Columbia, Maryland). His plan was to develop everything people needed in one singular location. This included affordable and high-end housing, hotels, conference centers, restaurants, office parks, retail malls, golf courses, schools, distribution centers, commercial facilities, and more.
When Mitchell and his team set out to develop The Woodlands, they had a very particular vision and, for the most part, that vision is still honored to this day. The primary goal was to maintain the natural environment. This meant preserving and maintaining as much forest preserve land as possible, maintaining greenbelts along natural waterways, and establishing strict and uniform setback lines and landscape standards for properties.
Development-wise, the plan was to create a complete community where residents could “live, work, play, and learn.” Housing was developed in a counter-clockwise fashion around what is known as the Town Center – i.e. downtown. Neighborhoods are known as villages; convenience and safety are two of the major goals.
“The Town Center has always been viewed to be different from the residential villages,” explains Robert Heineman, Vice President of Planning for The Woodlands Development Company. “The residential villages are designed to have a small town feel in a forested setting. The residential neighborhoods, park and pathway system, schools, institutional uses, and village centers are designed to accommodate most of a family’s daily needs within a 1 to 2 mile radius. The variety of retail and professional office contained in each village center allows and even encourages residents to visit several destinations during a single trip (for example, supermarket, drugstore, gas, cleaners, hardware store). This makes destinations convenient and efficient to access.”
Interestingly enough, Heineman points to the fact that more than 75 percent of today’s sales tax receipts come from visitors to The Woodlands. This means that, while The Woodlands is a tight-knit community, it’s also seen as a vibrant destination by those nearby.
The Woodlands Demographics
The Woodlands has ballooned in size over the years. According to the 1980 census, the population was just 8,434. As of 2016, estimates suggest 114,625 people call The Woodlands home. By 2021, that number is expected to scale to somewhere north of 122,380.
The median household income is right around $111,327, while 40 percent of households bring in more than $150,000 per year. The unemployment rate in the area is 3.8 percent (compared to 5.3 percent in Greater Houston). This makes The Woodlands one of the most affluent communities in all of Texas.
Part of The Woodlands’ affluence is rooted in the fact that the community is highly educated. Right around 33 percent of those 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree, while another 17 percent have graduate or professional degrees. Those figures are significantly higher than the rest of Montgomery County.
Roughly 44 percent of all households have children and the median age of residents is 38.8. Approximately 28.6 percent of the population is 19 years old or younger.
As far as other community facts, there are 2,800 employers in The Woodlands employing 81,000 individuals. 48 churches serve the area, as do 148 parks, 1,690 acres of golf courses, and 1,900 acres of forest preserve.
The Woodlands Real Estate
As mentioned, The Woodlands is comprised of different villages – each like a small town with different shopping centers, schools, recreation facilities, community organizations, and places of worship.
Per Mitchell’s vision, there is variety among the neighborhoods. Some are relatively small, while others are quite large. There are different home styles, price ranges, and geographical settings, including lakeside properties, golf course lots, greenbelt properties, urban living spaces, and gated communities.
Recent data shows that the median single-family home sales price was $557,349 in 2016, an increase of nearly 55 percent since 2010. The average home size is 3,423 square feet.
The Woodlands Schools
The school system in and around The Woodlands is phenomenal, as you may guess. There are more than 30 childcare centers and pre-schools, highly-rated public schools, and nationally recognized private schools in the vicinity. Some of the top prep schools include Cunae International School, Esprit International School, The John Cooper School, The Woodlands Christian Academy, and The Woodlands Preparatory School.
There are also a number of undergraduate degree programs, including Lone Star College-Montgomery, Sam Houston State University, and Lone Star College-University Center.
Attractions and Amenities in The Woodlands
It’s virtually impossible to be bored for long in The Woodlands. There’s always something to do or see. The Waterway is one of the more popular spots, featuring a number of bars and restaurants, shopping, and live music. When the weather is nice, the Riva Row Boathouse is a fun place to rent a kayak and enjoy the afternoon.
If shopping is your thing, you’ll love Market Street. This mixed-use development features popular retail stores like Tiffany & Company, Vineyard Vines, Tumi, Alex & Ani, and more. You can easily spend an entire afternoon window shopping, people watching, and enjoying the beautiful weather.
If your idea of a fun Saturday afternoon involves getting cozy with nature, you’ll love the George Mitchell Nature Preserve. As part of the Montgomery County Spring Creek Greenway, the Mitchell Preserve offers a little bit of everything. It covers nearly 1,700-acres of shaded forest and offers a two-mile main hiking trail loop, three miles of bike trails, natural surface, sustainable tracks, and a secluded path along Bedias Lake.
Green Residential: Your Houston Real Estate Expert
If you’re looking for local real estate expertise, then you’ve come to the right place. At Green Residential, we have more than three decades of experience managing properties in the Houston area. From downtown Houston to The Woodlands – and everywhere in between – nobody understands this market better than we do. Owned and operated by the Green Family, Green Residential is your one-stop destination for all things property management.
Whether you need help screening tenants, collecting rent, coordinating repairs, marketing your properties, or drafting leases, we live to help you. We operate on an affordable flat rate management fee and always serve the needs of our clients.
If you’re interested in learning more about Green Residential and how we can help you with your property management needs – in or around The Woodlands – please feel free to reach out and contact us today, and make sure you check out our helpful home search tool.
We look forward to speaking with you!