CDS Community Development Strategies
How to play:
- Click the green “Play” button to start and enter your answers in the field that appears.
- Answers are words contained within the names of Houston-area subdivisions that were actively selling homes as of March 2016.
- Single words that are a merger of two separate words are counted as separate words ("Boulderloch Acres" counts as "boulder", "loch", and "acres").
- Prepositions (at, on, etc.), articles (the, a), and other generic terms (numbers, words like "street") are not considered.
- There are bonus answers outside the top 50 words that will appear if you type them in, but they will not count toward your score.
- Some of the answers appear after the quiz, so take the quiz first before you read on. No cheating!
Water – Appearing 119 times, Lake or Lakes is the most common single word in Houston Area subdivision names. The presence of Lake in a subdivision name usually indicates a water amenity in the community. Creek is also a common term used, appearing in 67 subdivision names, the fifth most of any word. Though far away from these top two, Spring, River, Bay, and Falls all appear in at least 12 subdivisions.
Property Types – Making up 6 of the top 10 words, terms describing a type of property are the most prevalent theme in Houston area subdivision names. Estates, Park, Villa, Place, and Ranch all appear in at least 40 different communities. Two of these terms significantly outpace similar counterparts, with Estates appearing 86 times to Enclave’s 21 and Ranch appearing 40 times compared to just 11 appearances for Farm and 8 for Plantation. Villa holds a slim 44-39 edge on Village.
Geographic Features – Third overall, and much more common than other words in this category, Wood is a part of 80 different subdivision names. Landing, Crossing, Forest, Meadow, and Ridge all appear at least 25 times. With 26 appearances, Ridge leads the list of geographic features that can seem out-of-place amidst Houston’s low-lying terrain. Heights (20), Crest (14), Hill (12), and Canyon (8) are also seen.
Trees – Unsurprisingly, Oak is the most common tree name to appear on the list, showing up in 58 different names. Cypress is a distant second in this category, with 18 appearances, and owes more of those to Cypress’ presence as a prominent section of northwest Houston than to the name of the tree itself. Despite their ubiquity in the northern part of the region, only 12 subdivisions include the word Pine.
The Compass – All four directions appear in at least 10 active subdivision names. Given the greater amount of housing development in the Houston area that has historically taken place in the West and North parts of the region, it comes as no surprise that West (23) and North (22) appear more often than East (12) and South (11).
Trends in Subdivision Names
Lake was the most common word used in the names of subdivision that began building in 2013, but fell to fifth behind Wood, Park, Court, and Estates in 2014 and remained behind two of those and several more terms (Villa, Place, Enclave, and Landing) in 2015. This is likely due to the decreasing share of new subdivisions that contain a prominent “lake” or water amenity. Another trend that does not show up in our statistics by its very nature is the rise in the use of a single, unique name for a subdivision, a name that does not draw from any of the previously listed common themes. Both of these trends will continue to diversify the names of new Houston area subdivisions, and decreasing the prevalence of common individual terms… at least until the rise of the next trendy term, the next Lake.