HOUSTON–In this exclusive Q&A, GlobeSt.com talked with Transwestern president Carleton Riser to get his perspective on the Houston market. Riser will speak on the Development in Houston panel at our upcoming RealShare Houston conference on May 1 at the Houstonian Hotel.

GlobeSt.com: It seems like everyday we are writing another story about a new development project starting in the Houston area. Where do you see the market now in that regards?

Riser: The pace of new construction starts is going to moderate, but we believe that job growth will continue and that will drive additional new construction.

GlobeSt.com: Is there any particular property type that you are watching with a lot of interest?

Riser: The high-end infill residential market seems to have everybody’s eye. There is a lot of product under construction and in planning so the pace of near term lease-ups and related rate support will be something to watch closely. 

GlobeSt.com: What market/area do you find the most interesting now?

Riser: Much of our focus has been in the Energy Corridor and other west Houston market areas. However, the increasing densification and mixed-use nature of development in the Galleria area and Kirby corridor is something that will have a more dramatic impact on our city. 

GlobeSt.com: Can you share your thoughts about the Exxon Mobil campus and the development that is springing up all around there?

Riser: A large employer like that provides a certain amount of gravity to an area and we are seeing the natural result with ancillary development. However, the Woodlands commercial market was on a strong positive trajectory anyway. And, Exxon is only one of many large employers in the greater Houston area. So, I don’t see that single relocation shifting the greatest path of growth away from the west or dramatically changing the inherent attractiveness of the primary employment centers.  

GlobeSt.com: In the cycle of a market, where would you say Houston is now?

Riser: The middle innings of what appears to be an extra innings game.

GlobeSt.com: Where you expect Houston’s commercial real estate market to be in five years?

Riser: I’m not smart enough to know or dumb enough to say I do. I do believe that the fundamental attractiveness of the city for investors will remain and that absent a global black swan event, the energy business will remain a stable driver of growth.