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Sept 20

 

New law prohibits masonry finish for 50% of a home exterior

DFW: A five-acre site at 2727 Turtle Creek Boulevard, formerly the Republic Insurance building, near the Mansion Hotel, will become a high-rise complex including a 19-story, 285,000-square foot office tower, a 20-story 250-unit apartment tower and a 24-story hotel and condo tower with 200 rooms and 45 residences. There will be about 25,000-square feet of retail and restaurant space on the lower floors of the buildings.

D.C.: The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, its second cut since late July, and suggested it was prepared to move aggressively if the U.S. economy shows additional signs of weakening. Based on economic projections, several Fed officials expect one more cut this year.
 
Austin: A state law effective September 1 prohibits local governments from enacting or enforcing building standards that half or more of a home’s exterior must be brick or stone. More than 250 Texas cities, including 75 in the DFW area will be affected. Depending on the city, the masonry requirements apply to single-family homes, townhomes, apartments and commercial buildings, new construction and remodeling. Allen, Frisco, Prosper, McKinney, Celina and Heath all have existing masonry requirements. The law encompasses all existing or proposed restrictions in base zoning, planned development districts or any density and zoning incentives that favor use of a particular product or construction method. If a building material is accepted by national model building codes, it will be legal in all Texas cities.
 
Miami: A floating home, for sale for $5.5 million, is 75-feet long with four bedrooms spanning 4,350-square feet. Like a boat, it can float or be anchored with hydraulic legs to the sea floor. Miami Beach neighbors complain about privacy interference and quality of life, adding to the ongoing tension between people who live on their boats, no matter their condition or appearance, and people with waterfront homes. State law governs anchoring in public waterways, and boats are allowed to anchor as long as they are not in a channel.
 
Stoneham: Now on the market is a 56-acre tree house resort located in Stoneham, Maine. Includes great views, private hiking trail, three luxury rental units high off the ground among red oaks and birches. For a $99 entry fee and an original nature photo, it all could be yours. Rather than a traditional real estate approach, the sweepstakes appeal is in the potential payoff. The winner is promised the property and $25,000. Such a contest crowdfunds the sale, if enough people enter, the entry fees amount to something close to the desired price. If too few people enter, the contest is canceled and contestants get refunds. The owner wants at least 9,900 applicants, amounting to $980,100 in entry fees. Such a contest can’t be one of chance, which would be an illegal lottery. That’s why the fee is matched with a challenge like a photo submission. The owners of the Lovell Inn, a few miles down the road, have found new owners twice through an essay contest with a $125 entry fee. State gambling authorities are investigating whether such contests are unsanctioned lotteries in disguise.
 
NYC: Banks are getting back in the business of building mortgage bonds, laying groundwork for market potential if FannieMae and FreddieMac shrink. Smaller operators have tried to rebuild what once was among the most significant businesses on Wall Street, according to the Wall Street Journal. Last year, $70 billion of mortgages ended up in private label bonds, according to the Urban Institute. Fannie and Freddie don’t make loans. They buy mortgages and package them into securities, which are sold to investors who view them as safe because the government-backed mortgage titans assume much of the default risk. Bank-backed bonds don’t have the same protection so investors demand higher yields. Banks now are buying loans from third parties, both mortgages eligible to be sold to Fannie and Freddie as well as those that aren’t, and underwriting the securities they piece together. In the first half of 2019, 2.1% of mortgages went into private bonds, up from 2009 when private label issuance was virtually nonexistent.
 

DFW: The 100,000 people who move to DFW annually all say “everyone’s so friendly.” The word “Tejas” nowadays is understood to mean “friendly.” Used by the Hasanais and Caddo tribe in this area, it was a greeting for “Hello friend.” Other Texas tribes had their own words for greeting. But “Tejas” was the Spanish spelling of the Caddo word for friend, which was “Taysha.” The Spaniards soon spelled “Tejas” as “Texias”, which morphed into “Texas.” So the Dallas spirit of friendliness began before our state began.

 

Aug 30

Drones and algorithms replace appraisers
 

DFW: Deep Ellum is a new hub for Uber, planning to occupy 500,000-square feet of new office space for 3,000 new jobs. Dallas County Commissioners kicked in a $2.6 million abatement. Dallas city government added $9.3 million. The Texas Enterprise Fund raised $24 million — all for a company that has yet to make a profit.

Seattle: After a $7,000 do-it-yourself tiny home sold out within hours, Amazon is now selling a 774-square foot home on its website for $105,000. “The Cliff” is a three bedroom, two bath homemade by Estonian wood structure distributor, Q-haus, and has an open kitchen, dining room and sauna. The home weighs 44,000 pounds, packaged in two modules that can be assembled by “two skilled workers.” Furniture and appliances are also included. After buyers sign a purchase contract, production and shipping takes about three months. Buyers will need to factor in foundation cost, ranging from $4-$7/sf. Building permits for independent structures can vary from state to state.
 
D.C.: A drone and computer algorithm may appraise your next property. Federal regulators are moving to allow a majority of U.S. homes to be bought and sold without involving licensed appraisers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The value of homes exempt from human evaluation will be raised from $250,000 to $400,000. Proponents of the change say that by not having to hire a licensed appraiser, lenders and homebuyers will save money and transactions can be done faster. Appraisers and consumer groups say it introduces risks in the $10.9 trillion market for home loans and computer technology can’t replicate trained human judgement, sense and experience. The proposal was in November by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Federal Reserve. The FDIC and the OCC have approved the change and the Fed is expected to follow, and the new rules will be effective once it does. More than two-thirds of U.S. homes sell for $400,000 or less, using U.S. Census data and the NAR. Had the new threshold been in force in 2017, about 214,000 home sales, or $68 billion worth, could have been made without an appraisal. Moody’s Investors Service warns that eliminating appraisers heightens risks for investors.
 
Sacramento: Cities and counties in Southern California must plan for construction of 1.3 million homes in the next decade. State law requires cities and counties to evaluate their zoning measures every eight years for population increases. Southern California Association of Governments had proposed zoning for 430,00 homes. State law says 40% of the new homes must be reserved for lower-income residents. Now local developers are looking at how to divide the 1.3 million new homes among cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles, Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
 
LA: The new most expensive home for sale in the U.S. is the 10 acres Chartwell Estate, in the Bel Air neighborhood. Priced at $195 million, it has a main house of 25,000-square feet, 11 bedrooms, 18 baths and a 5,700-square foot guest house. The facade will seem familiar as the Clampetts’ mansion to viewers of the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show from 1962 to 1971.
 
Copenhagen: Denmark’s prime minister dismissed U.S. interest in buying Greenland. The U.S. has acquired considerable territory through monetary means. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase from France added about 828,000-square miles of land that created all or part of 15 states. In 1867, Secretary of State, William Seward, bought Alaska from Russia. During WW1, the U.S. feared Germany might secure the Danish Virgin Islands. The Danes had been trying to get rid of the Caribbean islands since the mid-1800s, when plantations collapsed after a slave revolt. Denmark resisted a deal without provisions for the population, but agreed to sell after President Woodrow Wilson implied the U.S. might occupy the islands. And in 1946, the U.S. offered the country $100 million for Greenland.

Aug 16

DFW: DFW continues as the nation’s leading apartment market, according to RealPage, with around 100 apartment communities under construction with 29,000+ units. Another 89 communities with 39,000+ units are planned. With 90+% occupancy in DFW, rent rates are up 3.3% over the last 12 months.
 
DFW: Condo sales in the DFW area by real estate agents were down 10.5% in the year ending in June compared to the prior 12 months according to the Texas Association of Realtors. Townhome sales were down 7.2% in the same time period. Statewide condo sales are off 8.4% and townhomes are 2.7% lower. DFW agents sold 3,375 condos and 2,643 townhomes in the time period and statewide sales were 13,118 condos and 8,849 townhomes. Median sales price for condos was $189,000, up 1.5%, and $226,000 for townhomes, down 1.2%. Single-family sales are up 1% and the median sales prices at $265,000 are up 2%.
 
D.C.: The FHA has announced an expanded scope of lower down payment loans for condominium purchases, FHA-backed loans require only a 3.5% down payment and lower credit scores than conventional loans. The FHA insured a million new home loans last year made by banks and other private lenders, the majority of which were for single-family homes. With the new rules, the agency estimates it could insure as many as 60,000 additional condo loans each year, on top of the 16,000 condo loans it backed in 2018. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says the desire is to expand homeownership. The FHA says to avoid abuse, individual loans will be approved in most buildings only if no more than 10% of the loans are to FHA borrowers.
 
NYC: Home mortgage debt reached a new high in the second quarter, growing $162 billion to $9.41 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reports the Wall Street Journal. Mortgage debt has increased for 20 straight quarters since 2013, when it fell 15% after the recession. Lending standards now aren’t as loose as they were leading up to the recession and debt is not as delinquent.
 
NYC: The normal number of families settling in a new home annually should be between 900,000 and 1.2 million. Demographics have slowed that number below 700,000. The current U.S. population has two clusters. One is ages 55-75, baby boomers; the other is 19-37 years of age, millennials. Many boomers are looking for affluent millennials to buy their large family homes, but millennials aren’t ready thanks to student debt or not-yet paychecks. Main impetus for the first-time buyer is typically birth of a first or second child, but millennials are staying childless longer. Boomers face decisions whether to relocate or age in place. Many are choosing to stay put. When millennials do relocate, most want suburbs, a safe environment, good schools and neighborhoods with nearby amenities. The stock of affordable land is shrinking, costs of labor and building materials is shrinking the size of the average new home. For homebuilders, the challenge is a thoughtful product and attractively priced in a good submarket.

 

July 14

Banks start program assisting homebuyers
 

DFW: Home starts were down 10.6% in the second quarter, at 8,925 homes. According to Residential strategies, high construction and land costs are holding back the market. In the $250,000-$350,000 range, starts are up slightly, but above $350,000, starts are down. New home sales for DFW, at 9,049, were flat from a year ago. Preowned home sales, 10,258, were down 5% in June and total sales for the first six months were down 1%. Condo sales at 515 were down 25%. Median prices were up 2% for homes and 8% for condos and pending sales were up 2% for homes and down 6% for condos.

DFW: Bank of America, the state’s second-biggest bank, has begun assisting qualifying buyers in receiving up to $17,500 toward purchase of a home in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, or Rockwall County. The local program is part of a $5 billion commitment to assist low-to-moderate income homebuyers nationwide. Wells Fargo, the state’s fourth largest bank, will offer a similar program in the fall. The median price for existing homes in North Texas is $277,000.
 
Frisco: A new state law in effect September 1 will prohibit governmental entities from regulating building materials and construction methods for residential and commercial buildings. As long as builders follow the national model code, established for the entire U.S., cities can no longer set a standard for a building’s aesthetics. The bill does not apply to buildings in an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places or designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. There is no longer a requirement of at least 75% masonry on the first floor of a home.
 
Roanoke: Roanoke Village will be a 6.25-acre project at the southeast corner of Parish Lane and US 377. Plans call for five buildings including a hotel, medical building, office building, and
two buildings with retail and restaurant space.
 
DFW: Homes.com looked in 15 major U.S. cities for streets with the highest home values based on recent sales and listings. According to their survey, the five priciest streets in Dallas, based on average home value are: Meadowood Rd. $7,276,974; Seneca Dr. $5,328,825; N 40 Pl. $5,207,773; Braewood Pl. $5,141,129; Hunters Glen Rd. $5,013,078. The median home price in DFW is $277,000.
 
Martha’s Vineyard: Jacqueline Kennedy’s former summer home is for sale by her daughter, Caroline Kennedy. The 340 acres with a 6,456-square foot house and guest house, is listed for $65 million. If it sells for close to asking price, it will be a record for a single family estate on Martha’s Vineyard. Current high was set in January at $32.5 million for the estate of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham. For the 12 month period ending in March, there were 134 sales over $1 million, according to Realtor.com. Current median price is $1.6 million.
 

San Francisco: A 40-acre wine country ranch formerly owned by Lamar Hunt is on the market for $19.95 million. About 70 miles north of San Francisco in Sonoma County, the 6,615-square foot home has a producing vineyard. The adjacent 500 acre estate with a 9,700-square foot home and equestrian facility owned by Joe Montana is offered for $28.9 million.

 

June 28

Housing shortage as owners stay longer
 

Seattle: Amazon is selling a transparent geo-plastic dome igloo for $1,200. Made by Garden Igloo, the 12-foot dome is made from recyclable PVC and PA6 plastic materials. One or two people can stand upright or lounge in chairs. The igloo can be cooled, heated and work in up to 90 pounds of snow or winds up to 31 miles per hour.

Tolleson: Opendoor, Zillow and Offer Pad have bought homes since 2014 in this suburb of Phoenix, trying to perfect programmatic house flipping. Last year, nearly 5,000 homes in the metro area were purchased, roughly one in every 20 existing homes sold to investors. They’re after transaction fees and anything they can get in reselling the property. Margins are low, so volume must be high and fast. Big investors now own more than 22,000 rental houses in metro Phoenix, one of the fastest-growing metro areas. The houses are relatively inexpensive, usually new and fairly same, reports the Wall Street Journal. In Arizona, borrowers can walk away without recourse. Mortgage lenders can repossess in as few as 120 days after missed payments. Big rental investors have amassed more than 300,000 rentals around the nation, including Dallas. In 2018, over 8% of Dallas home sales were to investors. Firms such as Opendoor pay cash, minus its fee from 6% to 13%. Both Opendoor and Offerpad are sources of inventory for the big landlords. Around 10% of homes sold by the two companies in 2018 went to big rental investors, according to Attom Data Solutions. Zillow plans to integrate its instant-buying program with a call-center mortgage lender it bought and make loans online.
 
D.C.: The housing market faces a home shortage as owners stay longer, according to a survey by the National Institute of Aging and the U.S. Census Bureau. The average tenure of a typical homeowner has increased in the last year. Before the crash in 2007, the average length of time lived in a home was five years. From 2008-2016, it was seven years. In 2019, the span is 11.3 years. Many owners have mortgages with historically low rates, so incentive is low to sell and borrow if money costs more. Seniors are also aging in place. Data from Freddie Mac shows that if seniors born from 1931-1959 acted like earlier generations, nearly 1.6 million housing units would

have come to market by 2018. With improvements in health care and technology, older Americans prefer to age in place, satisfied with their communities, homes and quality of life. The Urban Institute estimates that 3.4 million millennials are missing out on home ownership. The number of homes retained by seniors is likely to grow as the number of seniors increase and barriers to staying put are reduced. Production of new homes is lagging.

DFW: Plano has the highest percentage of seniors in the workforce of any city in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and reported by the Dallas Business Journal. Of more than 34,000 Plano residents over 65, a quarter are working. From 2009-2017, seniors in the workforce grew 99%, while the Plano senior population grew 65%. Four additional cities with senior workforce ranging from 21-23% are Arlington, Irving, Garland and Dallas.
 
NYC: Today, 20% of Americans live in multi-generational homes where at least two adult generations live under one roof, accounting for 64 million people. This is an increase of 8% since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center. This year, Wells Fargo lowered down payment requirements for duplex buyers to 5%, for loans conforming to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines. Such loans can have as many as four borrowers, so a couple and parents can take out the loan together. Borrowers have to take a four-to-six hour online course about being a landlord. Some couples let parents live in their second home free by using IRS gift tax rules, allowing a gift up to $15,000 tax-free to any person. So couples could gift rent of $60,000 without a gift tax, after consulting with appropriate sources.
 

DFW:Latest U.S. Census Bureau figures show Hispanics account for 40.5% of DFW population gains. Black residents accounted for 23.5% of the region’s growth from July 2017-July 2018. Asian residents were 20.7% of overall growth and had the fastest growth in the state, from 4% to 5% of the Texas population. In the Dallas metro area, the Asian population has grown 56% since 2010. The non-Hispanic white population contributed 9.4% to the metro area growth. Demographers predict that Hispanics will be the state’s majority demographic sometime by 2022.

 

June 24

Hackers have stolen almost $1 billon from real estate
 

D.C.: Sales of preowned homes rose 2.5% in May from the prior month to an annual rate of 5.34 million, according to the NAR. The national median sales price was up 4.8% to $277,000 reflecting the strongest monthly pace of growth since August 2018 and marking the 87th straight month of year-over-year gains.

Herndon: Texas led the nation in real estate development in 2018, according to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. With almost $26 billion in direct project spending, the Texas building sector put more than $62 billion into the state’s economy and supported more than 400,000 jobs. Texas was ahead of New York, Tennessee and California on impact in each state.
 
DFW: Building projects, including apartments and offices, has begun to slow in North Texas, according to Dodge Data and Analytics. Their chief economist predicts a 2% decline this year and flat nationwide, followed by a 4% construction decline in 2020. Also forecast is a decline in nationwide single-family homebuilding, down 3% in this year and next. Multifamily starts will fall 5% this year and 14% in 2020. In Texas a 17% drop in new multifamily building is forecast this year. One booming sector is data centers, with $10 billion in construction started nationally in 2018. In Texas, Google is investing $600 million in a data center in Midlothian. Microsoft has started a $400 million data center in San Antonio. DFW ranked fourth nationally in 2018 in data dollar investment.
 
Atlanta: From 2015 to 2017, business email compromise attacks (BECs) on real estate increased 1,110%, according to an FBI Internet Crime report. BECs are a form of phishing with a hacker posing as a trusted correspondent to obtain sensitive information, including financial data. Often real estate transactions involve companies with no shared history and with deadlines adding stress and preventing thorough vetting. Phishers often prioritize organizations new to a robust real estate market or have low levels of cybersecurity. Hackers also prowl social media sites for information and context about a person or group. In 2017, hackers stole $969 million from homebuyers and real estate companies. In 2018, BECs specifically targeting the real estate industry stole around $150 million.
 
NYC: More than one of ten homes sold in the U.S. last year went to investors and speculators, reports the Wall Street Journal. In the bottom third of the market, the ratio was one of five. Involvement of private equity firms, speculators and ibuyers has hit all time highs in data this week from CoreLogic. Ibuyers; such as OpenDoor, Zillow Offers and Keller Offers; buy homes with cash for a fee, often backed by their own mortgage companies. They were less than 2% of investor purchases last year. Biggest markets for investor buys were Detroit, Philadelphia and Memphis, where home prices are still low enough for investors to profit by rental. Investors bought nearly half the starter homes in Philadelphia and about 40% of lower-priced homes in Detroit.
 
Mountain View: Google is committing $1 billion to address affordability housing issues in the San Francisco area. The city is among the most expensive places in the world to live. The effort will include the re-purposing of $750 million of company-owned land from commercial to residential use on which around 18,000 units will be built across all income levels, not yet defined, near its Mountain View headquarters. Google will also create a $250 million fund for loans and other types of financing for developers to help them preserve affordable housing and build 5,000 new below- market rate units. Google’s housing initiative coincides with growing its footprint in the region. It is building a new campus in its hometown, Mountain View, which received a commitment from the company to build affordable housing as part of its expansion. Google is also talking with San Jose for a potential new campus that would bring 20,000 employees to the city.
 

Palm Beach: A five-acre estate of 37,000-square feet with 13 bedrooms and 210-feet of water frontage is under contract for over $100 million, which would set a record for the most expensive single-family home sale in the wealthy Florida town. The current record was set in 2008 by the $95 million sale of Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home to a Russian billionaire. Both properties are close to the Trump Mar-a-Lago resort.

 

June 14

DFW home sales up in May
 

DFW: Area home sales of 11,308 in May were up 6% and sales over 41,700 for the first five months were up 1% over last year. Pending sales of 11,569 were up 4% and the median price of $275,000 was up 4%. DFW led the state in home sales and starts for the first quarter.

Downers Grove: DFW ranks eighth in the nation for technology exports of $8.7 billion in 2018, according to the Computer Technology Industry Association. Texas is the top tech- exporting state with a total of $47.89 billion. Texas technology product exports to China reached $1.9 billion in 2018, third most of any state, with 5,166 jobs directly supported by tech exports. Texas had 160,360 jobs supported by tech exports, second most of any state. Technology services rank second among all U.S. services export categories.
 
DFW: Oak Cliff and Trinity Groves had the largest rental growth rate, of 12.6%, during the last three months of any of DFW’s 37 submarkets, according to ApartmentData.com. Other hot rental markets for rent growth were East Ft. Worth/Woodhaven (10%), Grand Prairie (9.6%), Allen/McKinney (8.3%) and North Dallas/Addison (9.7%). DFW currently has an operating supply of 3,091 apartment communities with 727,000 units in the past 12 months with 22,000 units. There are 111 apartment communities under construction with 32,000 units and another 82 communities, with 37,000 units in proposal stage.
 
Seattle: Amazon’s Alexa Smart Properties Team is developing partnerships with home builders, property managers and hoteliers to push millions of smart speakers into domiciles nationwide. Amazon adds millions of users and gains access to data such as shopping habits, likes and dislikes. Renters, home buyers and hotel guests are surrendering more data from these innovations monitoring their smart-home interactions. Launch partner, Marriott, is building dashboards allowing Amazon to pass on information about “guest engagement.” Alexa will make restaurant reservations, adjust the thermostat and order fresh towels, all part of the strategy of getting more people locked into the Alexa ecosystem.
 
NYC: The luxury market has been busy: Jeff Bezos spent $80 million for three condos on Fifth Avenue. The three homes combined would total 17,100-square feet with 12 bedrooms. It’s the second highest home sale in 2019. New Zealand’s richest man is buying a $34 million penthouse in West Chelsea. The unit is 5,783-square feet, covering a half floor, with five bedrooms and 322-square feet of outdoor space. Building owners have access to the Six Senses Hotel Resorts Spa, opening at the project. The most expensive residential townhouse ever sold in the city realized $80 million. The 30,000-square foot townhouse is on East 67th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. The owners bought it in 2008 for $49 million and invested millions in a multi- year renovation including a pool and theater below ground level.
 

Dobbs Ferry: Mark Zuckerberg believes in real estate. His holdings include: Two adjacent private waterfront estates at Lake Tahoe — one of 6.2 acres ($37 million) and 3.5 acres ($22 million) 700 acres beachside in Kauai ($100 million); a 9,800 square foot lot in San Francisco lot bordering Noe Valley and the Mission District; a five-bedroom home in Palo Alto Crescent Park ($7 million) and $43 million for four neighboring homes — all about 3 miles from Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters.

 

June 07

Texas has seven of U.S.’ fastest-growing cities

 

D.C.: Census Bureau figures rank Texas cities population in 2018: Top ten: Houston (2,325,502), San Antonio (1,532,233), Dallas (1,345,057), Austin (964,254), Ft. Worth (895.0008), El Paso (682,669), Arlington (398,112), Corpus Christi (320,554), Plano (288,061) and Laredo (261,639).

D.C.: Census data lists seven of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities with population of at least 50,000: #2 New Braunfels, #4 Frisco, #6 McKinney, #7 Georgetown, #8 Rowlett, #13 Midland and #15 Round Rock.
 
DFW: One of the last available Uptown sites has been sold. The triangular block at McKinney Avenue and Akard Street which also faces Cedar Springs Road and is across the street from the new Union highrise.
 
Irvine: According to CoreLogic, home prices nationwide grew 3.6% in April year-over-year, up 1% from March. DFW prices were up 2.6%. They predict home prices will grow by 4.7% by April 2020.
 
DFW: Area rental house prices increased 2.2% in April, according to CoreLogic, compared to 2.9% nationwide. Single-family rentals comprise half of all residential rentals, reports the Dallas Business Journal. Average Dallas rent in April was $1,206; Ft. Worth was $1,097. Richardson average was $1,355, according to RentCafe’s Small City Survey. Frisco was $1,349 and the Plano average was $1,287. McKinney rose to an average of $1,258. Denton stayed at $1,200. Lewisville was $1,151, as was Irving.
 
NYC: Real estate investment trusts are betting on the nation’s mortgage market. REITS buying residential home loans upped their mortgage bond portfolio 28% to $308 billion, the biggest cache in six years. REITS have become an important financing source in the housing market. They could grow if the government shrinks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
 
Denver: Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S., projected to exceed 25 million. Home ownership for them is increasing. HMDA data showed AAPI families applied for the most conventional home purchase loans in number and dollar value of any minority group. AAPI buying power increased 257% from 2000-2017 and
is expected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2022. That increase surpasses the economic growth of all other segments of Americans. AAPI are forecast to outnumber Hispanic-Americans by 2055 to become the largest minority group in the country. The South is the fastest growing region in the country for Asian-American population.
 

Boca Raton: Michael Dell’s MSD Partners real estate group has bought the waterfront 1,047-room Boca Raton Resort and Club for $462 million. The 337-acre resort, developed in 1926, has two golf courses, a 50,000-square foot spa, seven swimming pools, 30 tennis courts, a 32-slip marina, 13 restaurants and bars and 200,000-square feet of meeting space.

 

May 31

Texas cities have fastest population growth
 

DFW: The Dallas Federal Reserve Employment Forecast has a 2.3% growth rate for this year, adding 294,100 jobs.

D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau data have seven Texas cities among the nation’s largest population growth by percentage from July 2017 to July 2018: #2 New Braunfels (7.2%), #4 Frisco (6.1%), #6 McKinney (5.4%), #7 Georgetown (5.3%), #8 Rowlett (5.1%), #13 Midland (4.4%), #15 Round Rock (4.3%). Texas cities with some of the largest numeric increases: #2 San Antonio (20,824), #3 Ft. Worth (19,552), #6 Austin (12,504), #10 Frisco (10,884), #13 McKinney (9,888). Among the nation’s most populous cities are #4 Houston (2.33 million) and #9 Dallas (1.35 million).
 
Richardson: The downtown historic district is undergoing change. The city is building an $80 million, 108,000-square foot public safety complex at Main and Greenville. Between there and US 75, $21 million is marked to rebuild the streetscape. A 15-acre urban village called Town Central will occupy the northeast corner of Main and US 75. A green strip will parallel the DART line through downtown.
 
DFW: The largest urban redevelopment project in the state and the largest adaptive restoration in Dallas history is the redevelopment of the 1.5 million-square foot, 52-story First National Bank Tower. The finish must be by the end of 2020 to get nearly $100 million in historic tax credits and $50 million in Dallas tax increment financing. The key to that is restoring the 13,000+ pieces of Grecian marble that clad the building. The marble pieces were about three inches thick and improperly installed, over time falling off the facade. After removal, with computer aid, the pieces were cut in China to one-inch thickness. Also being used is a 360-degree camera to visualize all 324 apartment units. Reflecting the interest in high-rise renovation are six downtown towers for sale: Bank America Plaza, the city’s tallest at 921 feet; the 22-story St. Paul Place; 2100 Ross Avenue; 1700 Pacific and One AT&T Plaza.
 
DFW: A recent report from Cushman & Wakefield cites co-living as shaping the multi-family sector in major metro areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Dallas. Co-living is a type of community housing in which multiple people share one home with common areas such as the kitchen, living and dining room. The report says co-living options will grow as recent college grads seek to join a community to learn about their life in a new city. Proponents say co-living is cheaper because the cost of living in a shared community is about 20% less than an individual apartment. People choose co-living for its connection to a curated community fostering inclusion and authentic experiences while offering flexibility and convenience.
 
London: Housing in Europe’s major cities is becoming increasingly unaffordable as house price inflation outpaces income growth. Moody’s rating agency studied 10 of Europe’s main cities and said buyers needed an average of 15 years’ worth of disposable income to acquire a property without a mortgage, up from 12 years in 2005-2007. In Paris, London and Amsterdam, the figure is 18 years. There is a lack of new house building in European cities and high demand for housing in those cities will likely keep pressure on prices. Rental demand from tourists is boosting Airbnb properties in Lisbon, Paris and Amsterdam, where there are the highest shares of Airbnb housing. Most municipal governments don’t collect taxes from Airbnb hosts, and measures under consideration would curb short-term rentals and introduce licenses.

 

 

May 17

DFW job growth leads state
 

DFW: The Dallas Federal Reserve recent outlook data confirmed the strength of the Texas economy with a 3.2% GDP growth in 2018, the largest increase since 2015. Data showed a 1.3% increase in Texas population, more than double national growth. Mortgage applications for home purchases were up 14.6% in the first quarter. Refinance mortgage applications increased 33.4% in the same period. Dallas led the state with 27,900 jobs created in the first three months, the city’s largest first-quarter gain since records started in 1990. The Housing Insight report from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center said single-family sales are projected to slow slightly in 2019 before bouncing back in 2020. Zillow reports DFW home prices are up 7% over last year.

The cooling period is necessary, says the report, after multiple years of explosive growth, which is allowing the market to adjust. The median price-per-square-foot will increase abut 4% in the metro areas. Texas’ healthy economy and labor market bodes well for housing demand.

DFW: For aspiring entrepreneurs, WalletHub compared relative startup opportunities in 100 U.S. cities, using 19 key metrics. Dallas and Fort Worth tied for fifth place with the highest average growth in the number of small businesses.
 
Seattle: A tiny build-it-yourself home recently posted on Amazon sold out in a matter of hours. The homes are 9’x9′ and will take 3-5 weeks for delivery.
 
Houston: April was the strongest ever for Houston home sales with 7,586 single-family homes sold, a 7.8% increase, according to the HAR.
 
Vancouver: From soaring property values in May 2017, when the average sale price of a detached home was a record C$1.83m. The average now is C$1.47m, down as much as 30%. Concern for Chinese multi-property buyers up to 2016 prompted a foreign buyer’s tax of 20%, a vacancy tax. A tax on luxury properties and local transfer taxes went from 3% to 5% on values over C$3m.
 
Napa: The most expensive listing in Napa County, at $26.5 million, is an 8,000-square foot house with 11 bedrooms, 12 baths plus two barns and two guest houses for a total living space of 13,000-square feet on 19 acres, including a 6 1/2-acre vineyard.
 
Monaco: Real estate in Monaco, a principality of less than a square mile, is dominated by multistory apartments. The only country on earth that is smaller is Vatican City. In 2018, home prices rose 18% to $4,560 per square foot, surpassing Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world to buy prime property. Sales of $6+ million set a record in 2018.
 

Bel Air: Senderos Canyon is three contiguous untitled parcels of land totaling 258 acres, or 6% of the land in prestigious Bel Air. It is listed for $75 million. The only other time this much land was for sale at one time was when it was acquired. Up to 80 homes could be built, which would be a luxury enclave between Mulholland Drive to the north and Holmby Hills to the south. The 56,500-square foot Holmby Hills home, known as the Spelling Manor, larger than the White House, is now on the market for $160 million. Another local home formerly owned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aston, is listed for $56 million.

 

MAY 10


Area home sales, prices up in April

DFW: Home sales of 9,600 in April were up 5% over last year. Median price of $265,000 was ahead 4% and pending sales of 11,523 were up 2%, using NTREIS data. Condo sales of 625 rose 6% with a median price of $240,000, down 2%, with 698 sales pending. So far in 2019, North Texas agents have sold 30,567 houses, 1% less than 2018. Listings are up 19% at 24,005.

DFW: First quarter area home starts of over 34,500 kept DFW as the nation’s top homebuilding market, ahead of Houston and Central Florida. DFW home construction was up 2.75% from first quarter 2018.
 
Denver: DFW ranks third as the place where millennials want to live, according to a major survey of nearly 3,000 millennials in 22 major metro areas. Participants were asked for satisfaction ratings on 40 different elements of city living, using 125,000 data points including cost of living, taxes, cleanliness and employment opportunities. Houston and Austin were also in the top five. Millennials rated DFW high for its family-friendly population, schools and amenities for kids. Recent Pew research shows 17.3 million millennial mothers in the U.S.
 
Stamford: Texas, again, is the nation’s best state for business, according to a survey from Chief Executive magazine. Florida was second. Bottom five were California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut.
 
DFW: A 22-story high-rise with 270 rental units has begun in Oak Lawn on Congress Avenue between Turtle Creek and Oak Lawn Avenue. In East Quarter, a 17-story tower is planned at Jackson Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard near Deep Ellum and the Farmers Market. The new building will have 180,000-square feet of offices on four floors with about 25,000-square feet of retail on lower levels. There will be 336 apartments in upper levels of the former Meletio Building.
 
NYC: The world’s biggest hotel company began reservations this week for 2,000 homes in the U.S., Europe and Latin America, and plans to expand its Homes and Villas home sharing. Marriott is targeting families and groups with luxury prices ranging from $200 per night for a one-bedroom home to $10,000 for a Scottish castle. Marriott will have hotel-like standards often missing in BnBs. Airbnb is working to establish a 10-story hotel with 200 suites in Rockefeller Plaza.
 
NYC: Congestion pricing is intended to lighten traffic and raise revenue for the city’s subways. In March, the state agreed to levy congestion fees on cars navigating Manhattan south of 60th Street. The fines for commuters could affect residential values in the area. London’s congestion pricing began in 2003. A recent survey of over 79,000 homes in the zone and 75,000 outside between 2000 and 2015 showed that congestion pricing raised home values 3%. A 2015 study in the Journal of Urban Economics found Singapore’s similar fees led to a 19% drop in retail real estate prices.



MAY 03


California may eliminate single-family zoning

NYC: DFW was ranked the fifth-best city in the U.S. for residential real estate by real estate tech company Compound. Other Texas cities in the top ten were San Antonio, eighth, and Austin, ninth.

D.C.: Researchers at realtor.com forecast U.S. home prices to rise nearly 3% in 2019, while overall sales will flatline compared to 2018, declining only 0.3% by year end. A separate survey of 100 real estate economists last month predicted home prices to rise an average of 4.3% over 2019. 
 
D.C.: The NAR Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.8% from February to March. The NAR chief economist said mortgage applications have been steadily increasing and mortgage rates are extremely favorable.
 
NYC: Attom Data Solutions reports the average home seller gain of $57,500 in Q1 2019 represented an average 31.5% return as a percentage of the original purchase price. The data from 123 metro areas showed homeowners who sold in Q1 2019 had owned an average of 8+ years. All-cash sales were 28% of all single-family and condo sales.
 
DFW: The half-block on the southeast corner of Knox Street and Cole Avenue is being demolished. Restoration Hardware is replacing its store with a three-story retail building with a top floor restaurant. The 100,000+ square-foot project will include a parking garage. The Cole Avenue side will have an additional four floors above the parking garage for a “guest house.”
 
Dubai: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is opening an office in Dubai, reports the Khaleej Times, and plans a second within the year in Abu Dhabi. The office will have 30 advisors and support staff. BHHS chairman, Gino Blefari, said Dubai is a global center for trade, logistics, tourism and finance. BHHS has also opened an office in London.
 
Sacramento: California may eliminate single-family zoning statewide. Lawmakers are considering a bill to allow taller, denser housing around transit, and in communities with lots of jobs single-family houses could be converted to four-unit buildings anywhere in the state. An owner could subdivide or remodel a house into four apartments. Or someone can build a fourplex on a vacant single-family lot. Currently it is illegal to build more than a single-family house in around 80% of the state’s residential neighborhoods. Last year, the Minneapolis City Council eliminated single-family zoning to allow duplexes and triplexes on lots reserved for one house, in a move to integrate neighborhoods. Charlotte, N.C., is considering similar action, as are Seattle and Portland.
 
Update: New road work from Texas DOT on I-35 from DFW-Austin is expected to last five years. A new $340 million+ project on a four-mile section of I-35 main lanes is bounded on the north by Loop 340 and on the south by 12th street, in the heart of Waco. Project goal includes expanding I-35 to four lanes in each direction and modernizing frontage roads and ramps.