After defeating both the rising Seattle Mariners and the mighty New York Yankees, the Houston Astros find themselves back in the World Series — and face off against the underdog Philadelphia Phillies.
Houston was already a prime destination for Major League Baseball talent ahead of this year’s Fall Classic run. The Astros have won four of their last six pennants, making them baseball’s youngest dynasty.
Top MLB free agents keep tabs on Houston for the franchise’s years of success. Just as these players are searching for the neighborhoods in America’s fourth largest city that are best home to high-priced talent, luxury home buyers can also take a look at where they can live like a premier league.
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Downtown and Minute Maid Park
The heart of baseball beats in downtown Houston near Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. Rather than hiding its local shrine to the game in a far-flung suburb, the city provides a sky-high backdrop for the home games of its American League champions. As a result, condos make up the choice of upscale homes for sale near Houston’s diamonds.
Current high-rise listings for sale in this district include a $1.65 million three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit at 1211 Caroline St. in the city’s CBD. Just north of this lot, at 914 Main St., is a nearly $1.5 million three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo.
As downtown expands in all directions away from Minute Maid, condos and penthouse units continue to make up the majority of luxury sales. A newly landmarked penthouse spans 4,091 square feet with hardwood floors and 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the nearby Houston skyline.
Katy and River Oaks
One of Houston’s most prominent Midwestern suburbs, Katy welcomes big-city money with a small-town vibe. With several open lots worth $6 million, the $12.5 million Schlipf Road mansion is the beefiest house in the neighborhood. Located in the center of 24 acres, the 3,286 square foot home is the centerpiece of a ranch setting featuring multiple ponds, fire pits, a gazebo, cattle pens, open pastures and its own bunker complex. Everything from horses to cattle is legal and welcome on the area.
The five bedroom, four and a half bathroom residence opens to outdoor recreation areas and includes an office, two game rooms and a private pool.
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Closer to downtown, River Oaks offers large lots in a less rural setting. Houston-based Compass real estate agent Dee Dee Guggenheim Howes said her major league clients love large lots and gated lots.
“River Oaks in particular is one of the most popular neighborhoods where Astros live,” said Ms. Guggenheim Howes. It’s an easy drive to Minute Maid Park and these neighborhoods are known for their excellent public and private schools.
Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. lives in a 7,185-square-foot, five-bedroom residence in River Oaks that he bought for $5.22 million, according to Realtor.com.
Memorial City and Sugar Land
Rising luxury communities in the greater Houston area include Memorial City and Sugar Land. About 30 minutes northwest of Minute Maid Park, the memorial area is a densely forested region that escapes the urban bustle. It is made up of a series of small villages, each with its own services and schools.
Memorial City’s homes are on half- to 10-acre lots and range in size from 6,000 to 9,000 square feet, according to Hedley M. Karpas of Houston Sotheby’s. Mr. Karpas said from experience that Astros players prefer the city’s more remote exclusivity.
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“Privacy is a key factor,” said Mr. Karpas. “The players like that the houses are set back from the road and the trees provide shelter from people who want to see the athletes’ houses.”
Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel has owned more than one home in the Memorial area. He sold a two-story, four-bedroom home on Clyde Street in 2020 that he had listed for around $1 million and shortly thereafter bought a red-brick ranch across Memorial Park with a free-form pool and spa to records on PropertyShark.
Mr. Karpas said Houston’s pro athletes also favor the southwestern suburb of Sugar Land with its larger lots.
“Players choose Sugar Land because they can find houses with a lot of space,” he said. “It gives them complete privacy from their neighbors. You can also build or find mega-mansions, often with their own indoor basketball court or batting cages.”
Both communities are a direct freeway connection to downtown Houston, but Karpas warned that drive times can take an hour or more depending on the time of day.
“Because of this, I’ve found that some professional athletes buy a second home that’s closer to the stadium, usually in a high-rise building,” added Mr. Karpas.
The quieter northern neighborhoods of The Woodlands and Spring, Texas also attract well-heeled residents.
While the collection of listings in The Woodlands includes several homes priced in excess of $4 million, the undisputed nature of the property currently for sale is a $13 million Texas palace. With 10 bedrooms and 13.5 baths, the 30,717 square foot mansion is tucked away on more than 4 acres. The property, with two separate apartments on the property, a pool, spa, elevator and a six car garage is located in close proximity to the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course at Carlton Woods.
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In the nearby town of Spring, recent for sale signs are causing several home sellers to ask for more than $7 million. On Budde Road, the buyer gets a 9,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath home on a 10-acre lot for about $9.5 million. The property has a separate garage apartment, guest house, pool and private pond.
Ms. Guggenheim Howes said her famous athlete clients find safety on Houston’s busier suburban back streets.
“Coveted hometowns for our athletes are often on our busiest streets in these neighborhoods,” she says. “A busy road offers them their privacy and safety from those who might want to stop and stay a while.”