Letter to the Editor: A letter to the Houston Chronicle
To the Editor,
As Houston continues the process of reconsidering its historic district designations, it is important to remind property owners in these areas, and their elected representatives on the City Council, of the many benefits to living and owning property in a historic district. Some of these factors—historic charm and character and enhanced “curb appeal,” for example—are obvious, but others, including the economic benefits of owning property in a historic district, are not as well known.
We all know how the economy has battered real estate prices over the past few years, but according to several recent studies, properties located in historic districts have retained their value when compared to other homes. In a meta-analysis of studies conducted in several states, economist Donovan Rypkema found that the “results of these studies are remarkably clear: property values in local historic districts appreciate significantly faster than the market as a whole in the vast majority of cases.”
And closer to home, the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy conducted a study that clearly showed the positive impact historic designation has on property values in Houston.
The bottom line is that homeowners in historic districts can have confidence that their investment will be protected over time.
Houston is fortunate to have 16 designated historic districts, an impressive number. The city is also fortunate to have a first-rate local preservation organization—the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance—working to retain and improve these historic areas.
Before residents and the City Council opt to repeal or revise historic district designations, they should consider the many ways that designation has improved their neighborhoods.
National Trust for Historic Preservation