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Haidar Barbouti Still Thriving Amidst Houston’s Real Estate Chaos


The Houston real estate market is on life support at this time. What was once a thriving industry has been hit hard by the labor market and recession. Houston is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. and at one point, middle-class homes were selling like hot cakes. But now, LinkedIn writes that many realtors are finding they can’t hardly give away a home. But then again, there are not many to give away at this point.

In Houston, the petroleum industry was driving job growth. Now that oil and gas production has leveled out, it is having a huge impact on real estate. The cost of materials are rising quickly and builders can’t keep up. They now have no choice other than to pass along costs to the consumer. It’s now at the point where builders are forced to focus on multimillion dollar luxury homes to make a profit.

“Houston real estate is no longer affordable,” says top agent Mario Negron. “Homes between $120,000 – $200,000 are virtually evaporating.” Negron says that many builders are opting for the luxury homes to make large commission. First-time home buyers are being force out the Houston market for more affordable homes in other areas.

One person not feeling the pinch is developer, Haidar Barbouti. He has owned the upscale Highland Village shopping center for more than 23 years. Barbouti’s property is not just hanging on, it’s thriving. The center is constantly expanding and Barbouti plans on adding a parking garage and other clientele over the next year. Some of his clients include Starbucks, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Smith & Wolenski and RA Sushi Bar.

Barbouti’s 39,000 square foot center has undergone multiple changes since he took over. He says he gives the clients quite a bit of leeway, and it has worked out well. Most of the lease holders do their part to keep their stores up and help attract customers. He says this is beneficial for all parties.

As for the real estate market. There are no assurances as to when things will improve. As it is now, many people are forced to wait it out, or seek middle-class housing elsewhere.

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