Do you have a price/sqft comparison? I know in the Houston loop (Heights) the range is $245-260/sqft.
Good grief, in the Tampa suburbs you can get tile, granite, stainless appliances, etc for $100 a sqft...
You can get all that in the burbs of Houston also. It just depends on where you work and how much you are willing to drive.
I'm from Baton Rouge and have lived in Houston for 15 years. We have been in the Heights the whole time. Lots are about 200k or so for 6600 sq ft. in the Houston Heights. You can build for about $125 per sq. ft.
Living in the loop is expensive but we love being close in. Toyota Center, Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass stadium are all 5 minutes away and Reliant is only about 15.
Regarding the burbs, constant development keeps prices low. Values can't go up when a developer is building new homes near yours.