Building for and selling real estate to more diverse suburbs

Builders and real estate agents are trying new approaches to match Houston’s diversifying suburbs:

Houston homebuilders, developers and Realtors are now trying to cater to this changing suburban demographic.

Realtors are taking classes in feng shui to appeal to Asian homebuyers. Local homebuilders are adding “mother-in-law” suites and casitas to their floor plans to attract Latin American buyers accustomed to multigenerational living.

Last month, Partners in Building, a Houston-based builder, announced plans to construct Mediterranean-style homes with domed roofs, Arabic-style arches and optional prayer rooms in a Sugar Land community.

“The suburbs are going to have to adapt,” Klineberg said. “These big McMansions are going to be less attractive. We need to provide more choices for people.”

Some interesting changes are likely underfoot in suburban real estate. Yet, the proposed changes may not be that large. For example, the sociologist cited at the end suggests McMansions won’t be such hot items. Maybe. McMansions could continue to thrive if they can incorporate some new styles (Mediterranean architecture) as well as new home features (prayer rooms, in-law suites). I’m guessing Klineberg means housing that is more flexible and cheaper to better suit working-class to middle-class residents who can’t afford the big suburban home yet need to be somewhat close to their suburban jobs. Again, that could go different directions: does that automatically mean more apartments and rental units or does it mean more affordable small houses, condos, and townhomes in denser neighborhoods? All together, will such changes be spread evenly throughout suburbs or will they be centered by class and race? I would guess a strong yes given the residential and class segregation present across suburban communities.

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