HOUSTON–During the final panel at RealShare Houston, local industry leaders shared their thoughts on where Houston is now and how long the good times will continue in a Town Hall Power Panel.

“The growth has been phenomenal since the downturn,” said moderator Rand Stephens, managing principal at Avison Young, siting the 5.2% unemployment rate as proof to the exceptional nature of the current cycle.

Andrew Montgomery, executive vice president of acquisitions at Griffin Partners, agreed, “I think demand drivers are here to stay. It is a pretty compelling story as to why Texas has outperformed the rest of the country.”

The energy sector and oil business are both helping further drive Houston and the entire Texas market. According to the latest reporters, Texas ranks second in the world in oil production.

“This is really a pretty phenomenal point in the business when everything in the energy sector is hitting on all cylinders,” said Paul Frazier, senior vice president of Brookfield.

All the business and excitement in Houston has helped change the way foreign investors are looking at the market place, turning it into a gateway city.

Montgomery said he has met with at least a dozen different foreign investors who are looking at the market for the first time, bringing in the type of capital that is often seen in cities like New York, DC, and Los Angeles.

“From a value standpoint, it is diversification. You can get in at better returns,” Paul House, managing director of JLL said. “We aren’t just seeing people com in, we are seeing people transact.” 

Panelists said they don’t see much in the market that concerns them and could be a red flag that would cause the market to lose momentum. “When I look at what can possibly derail us I don’t see any bubble that is locally driven,” Stephens said.

And while Houston could be reaching the end of the typical 5-7 year cycle, panelists agreed this is not the end of the good times. The fundamentals are still in place, the lending is more disciplined, the capital is there and development continues.