On the move: Many choose to retire to the Houston area
Houston has so much to offer to people of any age and lifestyle, that it should come as no surprise that many people also choose the Bayou City for their retirement.
While some people might move to Houston simply to be closer to their kids and grandkids, others might move here as their final career relocation, and decide to stay.
The low cost of living in Houston, as compared to other large metropolitan areas, also makes it an attractive retirement city.
Whatever the reason, people who retire to Houston are able to choose from many different areas and communities, and can take advantage of the many activities that are a part of Houston life.
According to Stephen Hallmark, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties, many of the retired couples he has assisted have said that one of the things that they really like about Houston is the cultural and ethnic diversity of the city.
"Houston is so big and there are so many things to do," said Hallmark. "Whether you are of one culture or another, you can easily get involved in a group of that culture along with hundreds or thousands of other people. For example, in the fall, Houston has the Greek Festival and the Italian Festival. So, depending on your cultural upbringing, you can easily assimilate or fall into place here."
He said that another reason people like to retire to Houston is because of the exceptional health care opportunities that are here, even if they don't have an immediate need.
"It depends on the age of the person, and their health condition, but I have worked with clients who were retired and living in Tallahassee, Florida, when they decided to move to Houston because we have great health care," Hallmark said.
He added that just like anyone else who is moving to Houston, finding a community or neighborhood that fits a person's lifestyle and is near the things that they like to do, is the primary goal when assisting clients who are retiring here.
"There are so many neighborhoods in the Houston area, and they're all different. The Woodlands has a completely different vibe from the Inner Loop, and the Inner Loop has a different vibe from Katy, and Katy has a different vibe from Clear Lake. So, I show my clients the different communities, and I explain to them up front that each one is great, but that it's all about the feel inside of those communities, which will all be different," said Hallmark.
Pattie Huey, director, relocation and business development for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, said there are also many people who move to Houston as an employment-based relocation, as they near retirement. She said that this is critical information to have, as it generally impacts their housing decisions.
"First and foremost, when engaging a transferee for the first time, it's important to ask about their future plans," said Huey. "They will usually let us know whether they are in the early or well-established phases of their career, or if they are planning to retire within a relatively short period of time. Once we have an understanding of their long-term personal plans, we can help counsel them on their housing options."
If someone plans on staying in Houston after they retire, they tend to approach their housing decisions much differently from someone who expects to be relocated elsewhere in few years.
"Retiring transferees seem to see their final relocation as an opportunity to choose a home type that requires little maintenance, while living in a community that offers extensive dining, arts, evening events and activities. If they are retiring within two years of moving here, they will usually rent a property, because that allows them to save money for a couple of years, as they complete their careers," said Huey.
Additionally, she said that transferees who know that they will be retiring soon might choose a property that is near their office or near family members. And, if they are buying a property, they might be more inclined to purchase a townhome or condo.
Huey said that someone who is purchasing a property for retirement purposes has a different perspective in terms of homeownership. Their focus tends to be centered on the role that property will play in their economic retirement plan.
"We see an interest in low-maintenance properties, but many people still want a small garden or patio, since they are often moving from larger homes with yards. Townhomes and some condos provide the desired outdoors areas, and have space for their pets. If they are moving from a large metropolitan area, high-rises hold more appeal," Huey said.
Michelle Sandlin is an award-winning writer, journalist and global mobility industry expert. Her work is frequently featured in Worldwide ERC's Mobility magazine, and in various business and industry related publications and corporate blogs. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMichelleSandlin and on Twitter: @MichelleSandlin. Also visit "On the Move" at blog.chron.com/onthemove.