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Bailey Jones

Your analysis misses the other fundamental fact about Galveston housing - there is a lot of it sitting idle. Directly adjacent to our house are 9 unoccupied houses. One is currently for rent - and in such a bad state that it could only be used for low income housing, 2 are being renovated to be sold to new owners. 4 were for sale, but taken off the market by the owners who couldn't get what they wanted for them, and now sitting, sulking. One is being held by a family that can't afford to renovate but also can't stand the thought of selling grandma's home. The other two probably just need to be torn down. This pattern repeats all over the east end. There is plenty of housing stock available for both short term and long term rentals. What there isn't, is the will to do something with it. What we're seeing in our neighborhood is a mix of housing strategies. STR entrepreneurs have come in and renovated a handful of homes that are now the nicest on the street. A few house flippers are renovating other homes to be sold to new residents. Much of what remains is in bad shape, unsuitable for anything but low income rentals. Owners are caught in the economic reality that the cost of improving property can't be recouped without either selling, or raising the rent, or going the STR route.

michaelsmith Staff
Michael A. Smith

I agree that is the case. The U.S. Census in 2017 estimated 32,000 housing units in Galveston, of which more than 11,000 were vacant. More than 35 percent is high and can’t help influence the market. That percentage has been about the same since 2010, however, as rent has gone up. In fact, the rental vacancy rate has fallen by 5 points, to about 12 percent from about 17 percent in 2017. The total stock of housing is down, or was in 2017, according to the census, so there is a lot of pressure on prices.

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