New York and Washington, D.C. have historically been some of the most attractive places for international investments. While they are still near the top of the list, these investors are looking elsewhere thanks to economic performance. Houston is now standing out as a desirable place for cross border interactions and with good reason. Houston’s local economy has been strong over the past several years and it looks like there’s no sign of slowing down.
Houston’s economy has always performed well compared to the rest of the United States. Thanks the strong corporate energy presence in Houston, the city emerged faster than any other U.S. city from the recent recession. After hitting its unemployment peak, Houston’s unemployment rate dropped for 16 straight months. It’s not just in the United States where Houston stands out as an economic contender. Houston’s gross product has been reported as high as $435.9 billion. This makes their economy larger than Belgium, Malaysia, Venezuela and Sweden. Houston’s large numbers are thanks to its oil and gas exploration and production. Nearly 4,000 energy-related companies call Houston home.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws for international investors is Houston’s affordability. Many companies see Houston as one of the best locations for getting a return on their property investment. Other major cities in the U.S. might offer advantages to businesses but their costs to operate are significantly higher than Houston’s. Houston also offers a low cost of living at a high quality of life. This is bringing in a lot of relocated residents who are looking for a thriving economy that offers ample job opportunities as well as an affordable place to raise a family.
There is also a very long list of initiatives for businesses to base their companies in Houston. They include: tax increment reinvestment zones, tax abatements, pollution control property tax abatements, priority for “green” businesses, statistical GIS mapping, foreign trade zones, tax phase-in programs and The Texas Economic Development Act to name a few.
Houston’s location in the southernmost part of the United States also makes it an attractive location for international investors. Especially for those companies who serve both the U.S. and Mexico markets. Houston’s abundance of companies who serve other Latin American markets also make the city a desirable location for other businesses that want to tap into these markets. Houston has been considered a gateway to Latin America.
Houston’s existing international culture scene as well as its desirable economic characteristics makes it an attractive city for international investors. In addition to what the city already has to offer, local government provides several incentives to try to bring the best in the world to Houston. The city has proclaimed its government to be one that is pro-business. They pledge to minimize red tape and delays in order to make the investment process easier, especially for foreign investors. With that type of local support, it is easy to see why Houston is making the top of the list for international investors looking to bring their companies to the United States.
Rickey Williams is a real estate investor, expert, and blogger. He works with We Buy Ugly Houses in Houston, a home buying franchise.