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HOUSTON-With oil prices well over $30 per barrel, it’s no wonder that home sales in Houston’s ritziest neighborhood is being dominated by oil and gas executives so far this year. Oil men and women were the top purchasers of mansion and estates in Houston’s most exclusive neighborhood–the River Oaks community–since Jan. 1, according to an analysis by John Daugherty, Realtors.

The blue-chip River Oaks neighborhood is often called the Beverly Hills of Houston. And Houston is often called the Energy Capital of the World because of the large numbers of energy companies that are located in this south Texas city.

“If you add in the five or so buyers whose investment income is derived from profits from the oil and gas industry, nearly a third of the River Oaks home buyers for the first nine months of this year were from the energy sector,” says John A. Daugherty Jr., president of the real estate firm. River Oaks historically has lured oil executives like gushers for decades, he adds, including local legends such as J.S. Abercrombie, Silver Dollar Jim West, Eddie Scurlock, John Mecom and Roy Cullen.

But with the energy downturn in the 1980s and 1990s, many oilmen could no longer afford to live in the upscale neighborhood. Other professionals such as investors, attorneys, and doctors bought River Oaks mansions instead, typically paying more than $1 million for one of the 1,600 homes there.

Created in 1923 by the Hogg family, River Oaks has always been the neighborhood many rich Houstonians want to live in, says Daugherty. “With its stately homes, sweeping esplanades and numerous parks, River Oaks continues to attract Houston’s elite,” he adds. “It always has and no doubt always will.

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