A trio of investors betting on rising land values has acquired a major undeveloped tract in the Katy area.
John S. Beeson, John Stephen Ford Sr. and Steven A. Webster have purchased 621 acres of land about 6 miles north of Interstate 10 and 4 miles west of the Grand Parkway.
“It’s in the Katy ISD, which is very important,” said John Beeson of Beeson Properties, which owns shopping centers and land in the Houston area. “We’ll probably hold it for a year and sell it to somebody to develop for house lots.”
The sales price was not disclosed, but the property was listed for $25,000 per acre, said Mark Kidd Sr., a broker with M Kidd Properties who represented the sellers along with attorney David Frishman and Mark W. Kidd Jr. The price was raised from $23,000 an acre after another deal fell through earlier this year.
“The developers are looking for land in a big way,” Kidd said. “There’s a huge demand right now for housing, which means there’s a large demand for lots.”
Builders in the Houston area sold 25,627 new houses last year, an 18 percent rise over the 2012, according to housing consulting firm Metrostudy. Builders are on target to construct 30,000 houses this year.
“We’re the strongest housing market in the country,” said Scott Davis, Houston regional director of Metrostudy. “We’ve got demand for 35,000 in the market. It’s going to take up 18 months to get there. We don’t have enough lots at prices people can afford in markets where they want to buy.”
Lots that are ready to build upon are in short supply in the Houston region, because few lots were developed during the recession and most of those coming online are already spoken for. A number of builders “have begun aggressively accumulating land and developing lots for their own use as a defensive posture,” according to a recent report by Metrostudy.
The Beckendorff family recently sold 620.6 acres in the Katy area. Three investors purchased the land, which is bordered by FM 529, Katy Hockley Road, Beckendorff Road and Pitts Road.
Big tracts have become more scarce as rooftops have replaced farms over the last several decades.
“What’s left now are 200 acres or 150 acres or less. There are not very many 600-acre ones,” Kidd said of the tracts north of I-10 and west of the Grand Parkway.
The property is next to about 3,600 acres, just west of the Grand Parkway, along FM 529 where Newland Communities is planning its next development.
“Now that they have opened the Grand Parkway going from I-10 to 290, that whole area will develop within the next five years,” Beeson predicted.
Beeson previously sold land along the Grand Parkway south of the Katy Freeway that is now the site of apartments, retail stores and other developments. In total, Beeson owns interests in about 2,000 acres in the Katy area and is holding those as investments, he said.
Beeson Properties, KNA Partners and other affiliates have developed over 5 million square feet of office buildings or shopping centers over the last 40 years in Houston. Among their holdings are the Tower Theater, occupied by El Real Tex-Mex on Westheimer, and shopping centers at Allen Parkway and Waugh Drive, and at Bellaire Boulevard and Stella Link.