A strong economy often yields a healthy housing market, and vice versa. In Houston, both sectors experienced significant gains so far this year and these upward trends are expected to continue in the near future.According to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, an estimated 76 percent of Texas small business owners plan to expand their businesses during the next six months. While this is a notable share, it was actually a slight decline from earlier this year when 81 percent shared similar sentiment.?Although Houston has a large presence of successful corporations, such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, small business owners in the area have reported their own success so far this year. For example, 60 percent of respondents said they were able to pay themselves a salary this year, compared to the same time last year when only 36 percent had the business stability to do so.The success among both large- and small-sized businesses has gone a long way in contributing to the strength of Houston real estate. Because these gains are expected in the future, rising home prices and increased home sales could follow suit in 2013.? Real Estate News brought to you by 2M Realty, a true expert in the online real estate market.