Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


Aug. 1, 2012

West U Lot Prices & the Real Estate Recovery

West U Lot PricesWhat are West U lot prices doing now that the news is chock full of good real estate news?  Lately, people have been rushing to declare the end of the real estate crunch.  Here are some sample headlines….

  • Houston MLS Market Update, July 17, 2102 – Houston Home Sales and Pricing Reach New Heights in June. “Temperatures are not the only thing sizzling in June. Consumers snapped up homes at the greatest volume in nearly five years, pushing average and median prices to record high with increased volume in purchases of higher-end properties…”
  • USA Today, 7/18/2012 – Housing Starts in June Highest in Four Years“Housing starts jumped 6.9% in June to a 3 ½ -year high, underscoring the residential real estate’s slow recovery as a bright spot in a sputtering economy…”
  • Bloomberg L.P., July 23, 2012 – Goldman Sachs Sees Strong Recovery Starting for Housing “Housing has a ‘long list of positives’ including rising prices, job growth, supportive government policies and a decline in the so-called shadow inventory of homes… They raised their rating on the homebuilding industry to attractive from neutral…”
  • CNN Money, July 24, 2012 – Home Values Rise for First Time in 5 Years“Home prices hit a bottom and are finally bouncing back, according to an industry report…”

Here in Houston – and specifically here in West University Place – we real estate professionals have seen the upward trend for quite some time.  Check the graph above of West U lot prices to see how dramatically our land prices have risen recently…

Yes, raw land, buildable lots and tear-downs have all been selling briskly again.  Most tellingly, I awakened recently to the growl of a bulldozer on my street.  And that is the first time I have heard that distinctive noise since before the sub-prime market collapsed!

For more information on West U lot prices, please call Roger Martin Properties at 713-661-2300.

Roger Martin

July 30, 2012

3759 Ingold St - SOLD in Southside Place

3759 Ingold St

3759 Ingold Street is a 1940's house on a large Southside Place lot.  The home was sold for a lot only.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $615,000
  • House Size: 1,872 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 7,000 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Listed by JoAnna Ide
  • MLS #75500487

>More Great Southside Place Homes for Sale


July 17, 2012

Angela Dillon at Home - Living with Art

Living with Art by Angela DillonWhat a pleasure it was to gather together in the home of artist Angela Dillon last week.  The throng was a Who’s Who of Houston artists, gallery owners, architects and real estate professionals.  The setting, too, was as unique as the crowd.

Angela was born in Campeche, Mexico and studied art in Bogota, Aberdeen and London.  She has exhibited her paintings worldwide, including Houston, Galveston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.  Angela is a member of the Executive Committee of the Latinas Art Council of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Seeing Angela in the setting of her home and studio was just a bit like visiting Giverny in order to appreciate Monet and his artwork.  Angela describes herself as “umbilically attached” to the colors and textures of her Mexican homeland.  Beyond the serene contemporary facade of her West U home lies a riotous kaleidoscope of color, pattern and texture.  This soaring loft-like space is her real working painter’s studio.  It is layered with Angela’s eclectic collection of folk art (everything from African masks to Egyptian textiles) which she has assembled throughout her world-wide travels.  Her canvases are spectacular in themselves -- but even humble, everyday objects such as lampshades, wastebaskets and sangria pitchers have been given the artist’s embellishment.  These objects are always in use, so the collection is fresh, ever-changing and always visually interesting.

Thank you, Angela Dillon, for sharing the vibrant tapestry of your home and life with us.

Roger Martin


July 15, 2012

Carriage Realty - The Way We Were

 Jim Wolf and Roger Martin at Carriage RealtyAhhh... the way we were back at Carriage Realty!

Last week I closed a transaction at the office of Jim Wolf, from Charter Title.  He slipped me this photo from - well, I'm not sure how old this photo is, but we've got to be counting in decades instead of years.

This snapshot was taken shortly after I moved to Houston, while Jim and I were both working at Carriage Realty on Hillcroft.  I am the tall guy in the back row, with the red hair and beard.  Jim is number 4, with his college athletic sweater under his business coat.

Thank you, Jim, for this trip down memory lane!

Roger Martin

Posted in Roger Martin
July 10, 2012

5723 McKnight - SOLD in Westbury

5723 McKnight 

5723 McKnight Street is a classic Mid-Century Modern ranch home located in the Westbury subdivision and features hardwood floors, crow molding and a chef's kitchen.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $242,425
  • House Size: 1,843 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 8,400 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2
  • Buyer Represented by Laurie Conner and John Marshall
  • MLS #41443242

>More Great Homes for Sale


July 8, 2012

Seventy Years in the City of West U

Rudolph and Celestine Davriek of West University PlaceSeventy years in the City of West U!  Wow!

What a lovely article this is about West U in general and Rudolph and Celestine Davrilek in particular.  This couple has lived in West U for seventy years now - long before most of our trees, houses, streets and other common landmarks were here.

Mr. Davrilek will be a familiar face to many West U residents - he worked at JMH Market for all those years.  JMH is no longer in operation, and has now been replaced by the new Tiny Boxwood restaurant.  However, I well remember how my son, like many other neighborhood kids, would beeline for JMH for an after-school snack.  The caring staff at JMH (including Mr. Davrilek) kept an eye our for our youngsters - and were not above phoning mom and dad if the kids got out-of-line.  It was great to know that our children were part of such a caring community.

Although JMH (and other landmarks) have been replaced, we still remain a warm and friendly neighborhood.  To read this great retrospective on the early history of our city, click here.  The article was written by Monika Kleban and published by the Houston Chronicle.

Roger Martin

Posted in History of West U
July 8, 2012

Tips for a Sellers Market

Surviving in a True Seller's Market

There is an incredibly tight real estate market right now - which is no secret to those of us in the real estate profession.  Because of the financial turmoil of recent years, young people are entering the real estate market faster than builders can supply them with homes.

Be warned that this is definitely a market where sellers can afford to be picky.  You may find yourself competing for scarce listings. So here are some tips for surviving in a tight rental market...

  • Shop a little under your price point.  You may have to bid the property up above list price.
  • Move fast when you spot the place you want - it may not be there tomorrow.
  • If your credit is iffy, clean it up first, and
  • Have your pre-qualification letter ready and filled out.


Having said all that, it is still possible to find the home you love in a sellers market.  So come on in.... the water's fine!

Roger Martin


July 8, 2012

Texas Economy 2011 - 4th in Nation

Texas Economy fourth in nationThe Texas economy ranked fourth in the nation for 2011, according to figures released by the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The US economy as a whole grew at a rather tepid rate of 1.6% relative to 2010.  And remember, 2% is the official threshold for declaring ourselves Safely-Out-Of-The-Recession.  The Texas economy, however, grew at a stunning 3.3%.  That is more than twice the national average and well out of recession range!

We also ranked...

  •  Number 1 in population growth (1.67%),
  •  Number 2 in real GDP growth ($1.5 trillion), and
  •  Number 3 in employment increases (2.1%).

The Texas economy is now the second largest in the USA, ranking behind California and displacing New York.  Actually, if Texas were a country, we would be the fifteenth largest economy in the world.

If this trend continues, it is great news for us here in Houston and for the Texas economy as a whole.  And it is great news for real estate as well.  Jobs bring in people - and those people need housing - all of which bolsters our housing market and the Texas economy.

July 8, 2012

Five Star Real Estate Professional 2012 - Roger Martin

 Roger Martin, Five Star Real Estate Professional in Texas Monthly magazineI have just been named a Five Star Real Estate Professional for 2012.  Many thanks to my clients (whoever you are) who submitted my name.  It was a wonderful surprise to me!

Five Star Real Estate Professionals make up less than 2% of Houston real estate agents.  To find those agents who provide exceptional service and overall satisfaction, a research team contacts clients, peers and industry experts, asking if they had experience working with a real estate agent.  These agents are then rated according to criteria such as integrity, communication and customer service.

The resulting list for 2012 was printed in the June 2012 issue of Texas Monthly.

Thank you all – I look forward to continuing to provide Unmatched Personal Attention to you all as your newest Five Star Real Estate Professional!  As do all the agents at Roger Martin Properties.

Roger Martin

Posted in Roger Martin
July 7, 2012

Moellers Bakery - Houston's Best Kept Secret

 Moeller's Bakery - Houston's Best Kept Secret - Petit FoursMoellers Bakery is one of Houston's Best Kept Secrets.  Just check out this delicious display of petit fours!

When the craving for sweets overwhelms us, we West University Place residents head across the street to Moellers Bakery, at 4201 Bellaire Blvd.  This is a tradition as old as our neighborhood.  Moellers ( has been serving up fancy cakes since 1930.


Roger Martin