Roger Martin and Life in the Loop


April 30, 2012

Houston Economy 2012 - Energy Leads the Way

Energy Leads the 2012 Houston EconomyThe Houston Economy 2012 is driven by the energy industry, according to Bill Gilmer, an economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.  The following was excerpted from Energy Leads the Way as Houston Surges in 2012HoustonBusiness, A Perspective on the Houston Economy, Dallas, March 2012.

"Houston put the Great Recession behind it in 2012, growing strongly and returning to the prior peak levels of activity it enjoyed in 2008.  Local growth far outstripped the pace of the U.S expansion by taking advantage of torrid growth in emerging markets.  Exports to China, Brazil and India were important, but more important to Houston was the ability of these developing countries to drive the price of oil.  High crude oil prices and extraordinary changes taking place in drilling technology opened the door for Houston's energy sector to lead the city's growth in 2011...

"Looking forward, we find lower stimulus for Houston in the year ahead and higher risks, but the door remains open to another year of solid local expansion...

"Rapid expansion of emerging countries such as Brazil, China and India is essential to Houston's near-term prospects. First, these countries provide a market for oil services and machinery, petrochemicals, refined products and a variety of nonoil products shipped from the region.  Having surpassed California a decade ago, Texas is the leading export state, and the Gulf Coast is one of the most important exporting regions.  Second, growth in these countries has returned oil and other commodity prices to high levels...

"Drilling has gravitated to oil away from natural gas, technology to horizontal away from vertical, and as a result, revenues for service companies are much higher than the recovery of the rig count might indicate.  The key to sustaining the current level of activity and revenues is a high oil price...  The [downstream] petrochemical industry has been revitalized by low natural gas prices.

"Houston can count on only limited economic stimulus from the U.S. economy in 2012, as the nation continues to make significant repairs in the wake of the Great Recession.  Consensus forecasts such as the Blue Chip place 2012 U.S. GDP growth at less than 2.5 percent, slowly accelerating to 2.7 percent by early 2013.  Continued strong growth in Houston must come from rapid growth abroad or from energy.

"The four pillars of Houston's economy have traditionally been aerospace, medicine, and upstream and downstream oil.  For the present, aerospace has been sidelined by the end of the shuttle program, continued layoffs in the Clear Lake area and uncertainty about the future for manned space flight.  Construction at the Texas Medical Center has come to a halt as we wait for rules to clarify health care reform.  Hence, energy has been the key driver of economic activity for Houston in 2012 and will likely continue that role in 2012..."


April 27, 2012

New Website at Roger Martin Properties!

New Website at Roger Martin PropertiesWe have a new website at Roger Martin Properties, with an all new look - and function!  The new site is clean and colorful.  In addition, it is hugely interactive and chock full of photos, features, and "flags" for things such as open house dates and time.

The information on the website is linked live to the Houston Association of Realtors and the Houston Multiple Listing Service.  With updates every few hours, the data is always current – never stale.  All data is provided by licensed real estate professionals, is subject to legal and ethical standards, and is highly reliable.

We have set up several pre-configured searches for you.  If you don’t know where else to start, try the “Search Houston Greater Metropolitan Area” search.  Each neighborhood and/or community is identified on the map by a green oval.  Hover over the oval, and you will see real estate statistics for that neighborhood (for example, Average Sales Price).  Click on the oval to “drill down” and see actual listings.

Once you have searched around a bit, a pop-up screen will offer you the chance to create a login.  Doing so will allow you to save your searches.  Your information is always confidential and private.  We do not sell or share our clients’ information in any way whatsoever.

So check out the new website at Roger Martin Properties - and enjoy!

Roger Martin

April 27, 2012

Julie Webber - Welcome to Roger Martin Properties!

Julie Webber, Sales Associate with Roger Martin PropertiesI am thrilled to welcome Julie Webber to Roger Martin Properties.  Julie brings with her a wealth of creativity and enthusiasm, and is a welcome addition to our team.

Julie was raised in Fort Worth.  She has made her home in Houston for over two decades.  She is a current resident of West University and a former resident of the River Oaks area.  Julie has real estate expertise inside the loop as well as in Tanglewood and Memorial.  When not showing properties, Julie enjoys writing for Clever Confidante, her blog on style with a heavy emphasis on interior design.  Julie Webber also enjoys sports, traveling and spending time with her two sons, Drew and Mitchell.

So welcome to Roger Martin Properties, Julie Webber!  We look forward to working with you.  And I am sure our clients will receive Unmatched Personal Attention from you!

Roger Martin



Posted in Julie Webber
April 16, 2012

Houston Housing Market - Inner Loop Strength

Houston Real Estate Market - Inner Loop StrengthThe Houston housing market has been showing exceptional strength in our inner loop neighborhoods, according to Tanya Rutledge, of the Houston Chronicle.

"The Houston-area housing market is strongest inside Loop 610 - even if no one is yet ready to call it great.

"People aren't writing multiple offers on hoods of cars at night by flashlight or anything like that, but the pace is quickening," said Ralph Atkinson, a broker/associate with Greenwood King Properties who does a large portion of his work inside the Loop...

"While there is some sense of urgency among buyers inside the Loop - where the median home price per square foot increased 0.4 percent to $171.70 between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest Crawford Realty Advisors real estate analysis commissioned by the Houston Chronicle - it has not completely shifted to a seller's market.

"Data compiled by Crawford Realty indicate the Inner Loop market accounted for 5.7 percent of home sales in the greater Houston area last year.

"'If a property is well-priced, realistically priced, it is selling, 'Atkinson said. 'Some people have flights of fancy on prices no matter what the market, but with a drop in inventory recently, the market is in very good shape.'

"In the West University Place subdivision inside that enclave city, the median price per square foot increased 2.8 percent in 2011 to $284.48. Sales activity in the 1201-home neighborhood stayed fairly steady, with 52 sales in 2011, compared with 59 in 2010..."


April 3, 2012

Fun in West University Place - Our Parks and Recreation Facilities

West University Place Parks and Recreation FacilitesIn West U, we LOVE our parks!  The City of West U says it best:  our city parks are Your Key to FUN in West University Place!

  1.  Judson Park, at 4201 Judson, has lighted tennis courts, playground equipment, a picnic deck, and a concrete walking path.

  2. Colonial Park, at 4130 Byron, has a family-oriented, zero-depth swimming pool with water play features and lounges for sun-bathing.  The park also features a sand volleyball court, a concession stand, a large party deck, a multi-purpose party room, two lighted tennis courts, a playground, a pavilion, and a concrete walking/jogging track.

  3. Wier Park, at 3012 Nottingham, has playground equipment, picnic tables, two lighted tennis courts, and a basketball court.

  4. Whitt Johnson Park, at 6540 Wakeforest, has playground equipment, a gazebo, picnic facilities, and lighted basketball courts.

  5. The Youth Athletic Fields, at West U Elementary School, have four lighted baseball fields, three lighted softball fields, and three soccer fields.

  6. Friends Park, at 3771 Rice, is designed specifically as a passive park.  The park enjoys a lush landscape with ample seating, several seating arbors, a paved walkway, and a clock tower.

  7. The Community Center and Senior Center, at 610 Auden, is the location of various recreation classes and programs.  There are rooms for parties and gatherings available for rental.  The library is operated by Harris County.

  8. The Scout House, at 6108 Edloe, adjoins the West U Elementary playing fields, and is primarily a scout meeting place during the week.  It is available for party rentals on the weekends.

  9. Huffington Park, at 6204 College, has playground equipment, a shade arbor, game tables, and picnic tables.

  10. The Recreation Center, at 4210 Bellaire, has a heated, indoor fitness and instructional pool.  This pool is where swim teams and adults swim their laps.  There are racquet ball and squash courts, and rooms full of cardio and weight equipment.  Exercise classes are held here, as well as leisure classes for children and adults.  Classes range from chess to cheerleading to computers, and include gymnastics, ballet, tap dancing, yoga, and more. There is a walking/jogging trail, a children’s playground, and athletic fields.

  11. Liberty Hill, atCollege at Northwestern, is the gateway entrance to the neighborhood, featuring a large sculpture titled Children at Play.

Some of these parks date to the founding of West U – others have been lovingly developed in recent years.  But whatever your recreation choice, there is a park or recreation facility here for everyone to have fun in West U!

Roger Martin


March 31, 2012

Jo Anna Ide - HAR Top Producer 1st Quarter 2012

JoAnna Ide, Sales Associate with Roger Martin PropertiesContratulations to Jo Anna Ide!  The Houston Association of Realtors has named Jo Anna a Top Producer for the first quarter of 2012.  Jo Anna is a Broker Associate at Roger Martin Properties, and she is recognized for her work with home sellers.

Well done, Jo Anna Ide!

Roger Martin


March 30, 2012

3502 Gramercy St - SOLD in Braeswood Place

3502 Gramercy is a traditional red brick home located on a large, cul-de-sac lot in Braes Heights.  The home was custom-built in 1994 and updated in 2010.

Property Information

  • Sold For: $770,000
  • House Size: 3,482 sq ft
  • Lot Size: 6,318 sq ft
  • Bedrooms: 4 or 5
  • Bathrooms: 4.5
  • MLS #36232974


  • Full garage apartment
  • Granite countertops and brushed nickel hardware in kitchen.
  • Mature live oak trees
  • Dog run and putting green

>More Great Braeswood Place Homes for Sale


Posted in
Feb. 18, 2012

West University Elementary Principal Issues Warning

West University Elementary School Principal Issues Security WarningOn February 14, 2012, West U Elementary School Principal John Threet posted this warning on the school's website:

"Dear Parents:  This morning a car belonging to one of the Beehive parents was broken into while the parent took her child to class.  The vehicle window was broken and a purse was stolen.  The car was parked on Goode Street right in front of Beehive.  Beehive personnel contacted the City of West University Place Police Department who are investigating this incident.  Just before the Winter Holidays, we reported an increase in these type of crimes in our area.  One of our teachers experienced the same thing when her vehicle window was smashed and her purse stolen at a nearby shopping center.  Please do not leave any valuables, especially your purse, in plain sight when you come into the school or to a store. Take your purse with you.  I was told by a police officer that crooks will watch for women entering schools or shops to see if they are carrying their purse.  If not, the criminal will look to see if it is in the vehicle where it can easily be stolen.  Please also keep a watch out for suspicious vehicles or people during morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal.  Please report any suspicious activity immediately to the West University Police Department or the school office.  As I always tell teachers, if it doesn’t like right, it probably isn’t.  If all of us are more alert, we can hopefully serve as a deterrent for anyone attempting any other crime in our community.  Sincerely,J ohn Threet, Principal"

FYI, we business owners along Edloe have also seen the same problem.  In fact, a woman's purse was stolen from our parking lot on Saturday, February 4, 2012.  West U is a wonderful, safe community -- but we musn't let ourselves become complacent.  Be sure to take purses, laptops and cell phones with you when you leave your vehicles.  And thank you, Principal Threet, for your timely warning.

Roger Martin

Feb. 16, 2012

Agriculture Science in the Inner City

Agriculture Science in the Inner City

Since the City of Houston is so urban, you might think that we don’t have strong Agriculture Science or FFA programs in our local schools.  Not so at all!

Agriculture science is Big Business in Texas.  According to the Texas Farm Bureau, 77% of the total land area of Texas is still involved in ag production.  In fact, Texas leads the nation in the number of farms, amount of land in farms, and the production of sheep and lambs, cattle and calves, goats, wool, mohair cotton and hay.  As a whole, an increasingly high-tech agriculture industry generates $81 billion a year for the State of Texas.

So despite our urban environment, our schools have very strong FFA (Future Farmers of America) programs for their agricultural science students.  Our two nearest high schools, Bellaire and Lamar, are a case in point.  Ag classes are available to all the students as electives.  The kids can raise smaller animals (such as the bunnies above) in their homes.  But they are prohibited by ordinance from keeping larger livestock within the city limits.  HISD therefore maintains a special Ag-Science Barn outside the city limits at Beltway 8 and W. Airport.  Larger animals such as steers, hogs, sheep and goats live at this barn.  Kids exhibit their animals around the state, including the San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston, and Harris County Livestock Shows.  At these shows, the horticulture students also do a variety of presentations, including herb gardens, bonsai and floral arrangements.

But the kids are not just learning about “sows, plows, and cows”.  Every student is essentially an independent businessperson.  As such, they learn to budget, prioritize, and set goals. They develop leadership skills, while managing both time and money.   The most successful FFA kids earn college money by selling their livestock at local auctions.

So check out our student Live Stock shows – admission is free to the public, and the very active FFA Booster clubs will be selling delicious BBQ.  And you don’t have to buy an entire animal to contribute – you can always just “add on” to another bid.  And all of it helps the agriculture science kids.

Roger Martin

Feb. 15, 2012

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals

Many thanks to our Guest Blogger, Pei Zuan Tam, who has contributed the following article on real estate photos...

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals - Front Hall - CroppedExactly what are "Converging Verticals"?  When a photo is taken with the camera tilted upwards or downwards (in other words, not perfectly level), the vertical lines of the walls tend to converge at a vanishing point.  This effect is called Converging Verticals. Converging verticals can induce a feeling of vertigo in the observer, as shown in this photo of a front hall.Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging Verticals - Gotham - Cropped

Converging verticals can also give the illusion of unscalable heights, making viewers feel they are not welcomed.  In this example, the photographer deliberately shot the building from a lower position on a super wide angle to give it a highly dramatic and looming impact – an atmosphere perfect for Gotham City but not for a home you want to buy.

Real Estate Photos - Avoiding Converging VerticalsWhen we photograph your home, we deliberately avoid converging verticals to project a feeling of stability, serenity, and rest. Getting perfectly vertical lines is the most basic principle by which a real estate photograph is judged, because this type of shot creates the best response in potential buyers.  This is a challenging process, because the constraints of space in many houses often require the photographer to shoot from a lower or elevated position - a perfect condition to produce accidental converging verticals.  True professional photographers are aware of the emotional impact of converging vertical lines.  They will always use a tripod to place the camera at a perfectly level position. They also use advanced tools such as tilt-shift lenses or post-processing computer programs to counter the effect of converging verticals when a challenging angle is unavoidable.  The goal is always to photograph your home to its best advantage.

Pei Zuan Tam

For more information, contact
(860) 329-1689 or see my work at