Back in March 2007 I wrote an article touting Houston's booming economy. In revisiting that article, while there is certainly economic turmoil on today's national scene, Houston is still hot!

The reason for this blog post is to share some of our current hands-on observations and experiences that keep us aware of the climate in Houston. And, I'm not talking about green house gases or other global warming theories. These are facts straight from the microeconomic level.

Our firm is like a barometer for the Houston business marketplace. We know what business owners are feeling and thinking -- they talk to us. Everyday, we visit with these entrepreneurial people who are keeping Houston's economy as one of the best in the nation. And, we also serve as the information source for those who want to become business owners. Yes, they talk to us too. They are calling from New York, California, Ohio, Canada, England, well -- in other words, we are seeing international interest in Houston for business acquisitions.

What we are finding is that many business owners in Houston who are ready to sell their businesses or are beginning to prepare for their exit, are hesitant. They don't know what's going to happen in the upcoming election and they are worried about the economy they tell us. Not only are these valid concerns, they are the realities facing the nation today. Who isn't worried about these issues?

But let's talk facts -- Let's focus on the facts about the Houston marketplace:

1) The number of businesses in Houston is growing and our population is growing. Corporate firms are either relocating their headquarters to Houston or are making strategic acquisitions of smaller businesses here to expand into our market. From corporate, private equity, to the individual entrepreneur, they have their eyes on Houston. And no wonder, Houston is the #2 best business climate in the Nation (Site Selection).

2) We have full-occupancy in our Class A office space, and we have experienced the #1 job-growth rate in the country (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) due to the opportunities available in our expanding market.

3) Our housing market is #1 in America. Houston is bucking the trend of decreasing home sales, as reported by USA TODAY on 2/15/08. Houston was identified as one of only a few US metro areas showing home growth. In fact, the Houston Association of Realtors in their January 16, 2008 press release, reported 2007 as one of the best years on record for property sales in Houston, second only to 2006.

4) Texas has one of the top 10 best economic outlook rankings in the U.S. according to senior economists for the Wall Street Journal. Another senior economist with Moody's Economy.com, says in his Texas economic forecast through 2008, "Houston is probably the state's biggest economic hot spot thanks to its sheer size and broad-based growth and booming energy industry." Houston is indeed a world-class city and economic powerhouse.

5) At a panel convened by the Center for Houston's Future this month, experts concluded that one of Houston's strengths was its entrepreneurial culture and the shared feeling that growth is good. Other driving forces mentioned were the city's great port, critical mass of industry clusters, and its cultural arts districts. "We really are impressed by Houston," said one expert on the panel, "we're convinced you are on your way to becoming America's fourth global city after New York, Chicago and Los Angeles."

I can go on and on, but I'll leave it at that for now. Of mention, however, is Inc. Magazine interviewed me last week for their upcoming April 2008 issue. They, too, are aware that Houston is the happening place. They wanted to know what specific types of businesses are hot in Houston and what makes some businesses more valuable than others. So there you go. If you are a business owner and have been wondering if you should test the water, jump in and ride the wave. It's not only the weather that's hot down here in Houston.