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HOUSTON-Houston ranks 17th among 18 metropolitan areas in a survey of 150 “large” real estate experts around the country because investors “get nervous” about the city’s dependence on the energy industry and its lack of zoning.

The opinion is part of a report published in “Emerging Trends” by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, based on interviews with developers, brokers, institutional investors and pension fund advisers. But, there were some bright spots too. The report has cited “bargain prices” in downtown Houston office buildings, promising high returns ROI. It also is calling Galleria, Greenway Plaza and Midtown area apartments “good bets” for investors.

The report is suggesting investors avoid suburban Houston office sites, apartment complexes in outlying areas and “power center” shopping centers dominated by discount operations, without much space for smaller retail establishments. The report has placed San Francisco No. 1, followed by New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

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