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March 20

Houston Construction Continuing

D.C.: Residential investment, which includes single and multifamily construction, remodeling and brokers’ fees, now accounts for 3.1% of gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. That’s up from a low of 2.4% in 2011, but below the 5.4% long-term average based on BEA data. With construction down, housing is contributing less to growth. Residential investment contributed 0.027% to the rate of quarterly growth, on average, during expansions between 1950 and 2003, with BEA data. Since 2010, the first full year of growth after the crisis, the contribution fell to 0.013%. The economic benefits of housing go beyond construction. In 2015, the buyer of a newlybuilt home spent an average of $4,500 more on appliances, furnishings and renovations than a similar consumer who hadn’t just moved, according to a National Association of Builders Association analysis. Buyers of existing houses spent slightly less. The share of new multifamily units added to the housing stock was around 34% in 2009, compared with 24% in 1990. Each new multifamily unit creates the equivalent of a single full-time job on average — compared to three full-time jobs for a new house, according to the NAHB. Higher prices are largely due to supply constraints. Another is shortage of skilled construction workers, along with restrictive building and zoning codes in major cities such as New York City and Los Angeles.

DFW: Only 3.5% of homeowners with a loan were under water with their mortgage at the end of 2019. In Texas, only 1.7% had loans owing more than their property was worth at the end of 2019. In the Dallas area, less than 1.4% of home loans were upside down, CoreLogic estimates.
DFW: A large mall operator has temporarily closed seven area shopping centers, planning to reopen March 29: Allen Premium Outlets; Firewheel Town Center, Garland; Grand Prairie Premium Outlets; Grapevine Mills; North East Mall, Hurst; The Shops at Clearfork, Ft. Worth; University Park Village, Ft.Worth. Four others have cut hours: Stonebriar Centre, Frisco; Town East Mall, Mesquite; The Parks in Arlington; and Hulen Mall in Ft. Worth.
Houston: The construction industry in Houston is continuing to operate as usual. There have been 24 recorded cases in Harris County. Construction officials at job sites say staff are on calls every day assessing virus impact. Just over a week ago, OSHA published its guidance on how to prepare workplaces for the virus. Site officials say they are following the guidelines and will work until stopped by local government. Workers have been instructed to maintain social distancing. They also have employees working from home. Associated General Contractors of America said halting building activity would do more harm than good for the workers, community residents and the economy.


Top Buyer’s Markets (Counties with the lowest absorption rates – number of sales/month divided by number of listings): Ocean, NJ; Monmouth, NJ; Walton, FL; Beaufort SC; Philadelphia, PA.; Clackamas, OR; Hudson, NJ; Union, NJ; District of Columbia; Montgomery, MD.

Top Seller’s Market (Counties with the highest absorption rates – number of sales/month divided by number of listings): Arlington, VA.; Loudon, VA.; Mecklenburg, NC; Davidson, TN; Plymouth, MA; Travis, TX; Pinellas, FL; Williamson,TN; Orange, FL. 


March 13

Record home sales for DFW, mortgage applications all time high

DFW: Area real estate agents sold 7,574 single-family homes in February, the largest total ever for the month of February and a 10% increase from last year. Pending sales were 10,166, up 15%. Listings were 20,723, down 5%. So far in 2020, North Texas home sales are up 14% from the first two months of 2019. The median sales price in North Texas was up 7% to $266,620. Condo sales were 457, up 15% Pending sales were 652, up 23%. Median price was up 4% to $234,000.

DFW: Dallas and Austin are among the U.S cities with the biggest home price increases since the market peak back in the 80s. Analysts at HSH Associates looked at home appreciation in nationwide markets for their Home Price Recovery Index. Dallas-area prices are more than 75% ahead of where they were at the top of the market and Austin prices are almost 86% ahead. Sixty-four markets now have values more than 10% above the previous peak.
Southlake: A luxury home development in Southlake, near White Chapel Boulevard and Dove Road, will have 56 homes, averaging 4,500-square feet priced at around $1.4 million. Lots will average a quarter of an acre. Front yard maintenance will be provided. The 29-acre development is scheduled for completion in early 2021.
DFW: DFW is scheduled to be the U.S.’s second-largest volume of new industrial buildings opening in 2020, according to Yardi Systems, Inc. More than 23 million square feet of new buildings, 75 projects, will open by year end, an increase of more than 21%. In 2019, Dallas added 19.5 million-square feet of warehouses in 55 projects. One of the Dallas projects is among the biggest industrial developments in the nation. Passport Park in Irving, at DFW airport, will add 2 million square feet.
D.C.: Home refinance applications are up almost 80%, the highest level in a decade, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Last week, mortgage applications jumped 55.4%. This week, nationwide mortgage rates averaged 3.36%, up from last week’s 3.29%. A year ago, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate averaged 4.31%. With historically-low rates now, the industry is swamped. Some mortgage firms are bumping their costs to try to control the financing flows.
DFW: According to ApartmentData, Trinity Groves and Far South Dallas/Waxahachie, are the leading submarkets in North Texas. A submarket that includes downtown Dallas, the West End and Deep Ellum, ranked next, followed by Denton and the Allen/McKinney submarket. Highest rent growth is occurring in the downtown Dallas/West End/Deep Ellum submarket, with rents predicted to rise around 13% in 2020. Next-highest rent growth is taking place in Trinity Groves/Oak Cliff North, with rent increases forecast for 10.2% next year. The apartment supply in DFW totals 747,909 with 3,164 multi-family communities. An additional 30,057 units are under construction, and 112 communities with 49,012 units are in planning stage.
DFW: Roughly 20 million Americans, one of every 18, live in mobile home parks. Trailer parks are relatively lowmaintenance for owners. The manufactured homes are brought on and off the land by tenants, also responsible for maintaining them. While the median price for a single-family home is about $280,000, average price for a mobile home was about $53,000 last year, using U.S. Commerce Department data. According to WSJ data, shares in some big mobile home businesses have returned 1,186% and another 4,137%.
DFW: Global female income is expected to reach $40 trillion annually in 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan. Women are expected to control $43 trillion of consumer spending through voluntary private consumption or money exchanged for goods and services. There will be 100 million more women in the global workforce by 2030, with Asia Pacific the largest female workforce and millennials the largest proportion of laborers. By 2030, women will add 100 million more working women to the global economy. In 2020, women-owned companies will represent more than 40% of registered businesses globally.


March 6

DFW gets new area code

DFW: Commercial real estate produced more than $54 billion in Texas economic output in 2019, according to recent data from the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks. That total is more than any other U.S. state. In 2019, investment and development of office, industrial, warehouse and retail buildings supported 9.2 million American jobs and put $1.4 trillion in the U.S. GDP. Last year, Texas had more than $20.0 billion in commercial construction spending and jobs totaled 378,000, reports the recent study. In Texas, the NAIOP reported more than $11 billion in office projects and more than $6 billion in warehouse and industrial building. In 2019, DFW was the second-busiest metro area in the U.S. for all types of building starts, with more than $20 billion in construction starts, second only to New York City, according to Dodge Data.

DFW: The Public Utility Commission has approved a new area code for the DFW area to accommodate continuing population growth. Phone numbers starting with 214, 972 and 469 will run out within the first three months of 2021. Once they run out, the new area code 945 will be assigned and should meet numbering needs for the next 13 years, according to the PUC. People who already have existing numbers beginning with 214, 469, and 972 will be able to keep them. Any new 945 numbers will be assigned in 2021.
DFW: The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area ranked #9 on the Milken Institute’s 2020 Index of the Top 25 Best Performing Cities. Cited were the concentration and additions of corporate headquarters providing job opportunities in professional services, plus the diversity of the region’s industries, low taxes and housing costs and a high-quality talent pool. Employment growth in the 12-month period preceding August 2019, saw the DFW area had the eighthhighest job growth rate among the nation’s large metro economies. Among the total population age 25 or older, 37 % have a bachelor’s degree or higher, greater than the state’s 29% and U.S. average 32%.  
San Francisco: As rents in downtown areas such as San Francisco, Seattle and New York continue to climb, restaurateurs and property owners face severe labor shortages. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco averaged $3,500 last month, according to apartment site Zumper. The median home value in San Francisco is just under $1.4M. Many workers able and willing to work at a restaurant in the city are usually already working in the sector. Local unemployment is 1.9%, a little over half the national figure. Adding new employees is a challenge for restaurants. Living in San Francisco is a challenge, so for workers, restaurants have to pay more, and in the business model, you can’t easily increase the top line. Patrons just stop eating if the price isn’t right. Over 330 more S.F. restaurants have closed than opened since 2016, using permit data from the city Department of Public Health.
Irving: The corner of Texas Plaza Drive and Tom Braniff Drive, formerly the gold parking lot for Texas Stadium, will have 350 apartments on 11 acres. A hundred home sites will be built on the other 21 acres, priced from the high $300s to the mid $400s.

London: House prices rose at their fastest pace in 18 months in February, after three years of flatlining. Across the country prices were up 2.3%, the biggest annual jump since 2018. Buyers are heading back to the capital. Sellers are returning with 31% more properties coming to market across London and 64% more in central locations. The price of a luxury home in the heart of London is set to climb 20.5% over the next five years. Next year will see the first annual price rise of 3% for high-end homeowners since 2014. Property values are predicted to rise 6% in 2021, 4% in 2022 and 2023, and 2% in the capital’s exclusive locations of Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Kensington and Chelsea, Marleybone and Notting Hill. A hike in stamp duty on multi-million pound homes and Brexit-related uncertainty caused prices to be slashed by a fifth on properties worth over $3 million over the last few years. Overall, the average house in the UK will rise 15.3% over the next five years.


Feb 28

Virus hits Chinese housing, down 90%

College Station: Last year, for the first time in Texas history, housing sales exceeded $100 billion, according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M. Their economists said the decade ended in 2019 was the best record for housing across the state. They predict a sales increase this year of 5-6% and a price increase this year of 5-6%. Home price growth in Texas outpaces the states in the rest of the country. People in Texas have to spend more to buy a house. Still, Texas cities have a home price advantage compared with other major U.S. markets. Texas homebuilders are still behind, even though DFW and Houston are the top two single-family building markets in the U.S. Population projections for the next 10 years call for 5.2 million new Texans and 1.6 million in DFW.

DFW: About a third of houses sold in Texas last year were priced between $200,000-$300,000, reports the Texas Realtors association. The highest home prices in the state are in Austin, where a mid-priced home costs $315,000. More than 103,000 North Texas homes were sold last year by real estate agents, up 3% from 2018. Statewide, a record 357,238 homes were sold by agents, the fifth consecutive year for record Texas sales and prices. Listings were up more than 5% statewide and up 14% in the DFW area.
Beijing: Home prices in China are reflecting the country’s battle to contain the coronavirus outbreak. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reports the average price of new homes in 70 Chinese cities increased 6.45% from January 2019, the slowest rate of growth since July 2018. And a large-scale home-price reduction is expected in February. Home sales are believed to have plummeted as much as 90%, following the lockdown last month in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, where the virus was first reported. More than 70,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 2,000 have died.  
Pleasant Prairie: Record water levels in all five Great Lakes are causing millions in damage from Minnesota to New York as eroding shorelines and monster waves cause homes to fall into the water, piers crumble, parks and properties are flooded. Cause is above average rain and snowfall in the region. Last year was the wettest on record for the Great Lakes and the second wettest across the continental U.S., according to federal data. The University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability said the warming climate is accenting both precipitation and evaporation, the two main forces affecting lake levels. Twelve counties in Michigan and six in Wisconsin have asked for help. Duluth officials say it will take $30 million to fix the shoreline and public infrastructure along Lake Superior. In Illinois, estimates are $25 million for property along Lake Michigan in Chicago. In Wisconsin, three shoreline counties need $30 million for infrastructure. Homeowners are building sea walls, jetties and other barriers against erosion. Some owners are physically relocating their homes away from the shoreline.
Edinburgh: New York’s Blackstone Group, now the world’s largest real estate company with a portfolio of $325 billion, has acquired one of the U.K.’s largest owners of student housing for $4.6 billion. IQ Student Accommodation oversees more than 28,000 beds in facilities in some of the country’s major university cities. Britain’s education system is among the country’s most lucrative sources of revenue, totaling about $23 billion in 2017. Demand for British higher education is significant from domestic and international students.

Mountain View: In Los Angeles, 16,500 people called an RV vehicle their home last year. In San Francisco, the figure was 1,800, up 45% from 2017. In Santa Clara County the number nearly tripled to 1,747. Residents on streets where the vehicles park complain about sewage tank dumping and drug use. In Mountain View, headquarters for Google, about 300 live in vehicles, triple the number from 2016. In Seattle, where 2,147 people live in vehicles, towing and destroying unsafe RVs is being considered. Other cities are shortening the time parked in one location to three days. The RV explosion in the West is forcing communities to seek solutions for the homeless. Under U.S. HUD rules, RVs are considered in the same category as tents or subway tunnels.


Feb 21

DFW Home values up 41% in last decade

DC: The National Association of Realtors says home value gains in the last decade have risen significantly.  In major markets nationwide, and based on tenure in the house, the average homeowner experienced a $49,500 or 39% increase over the decade.  A home in DFW bought a decade ago has gained more than $50,000 in value, a gain of more than 41%. Estimates were based on median home price changes, comparing increases in value over time.  Among  the metro areas with gains are San Antonio with a $54,300 gain, or 54.7%.  Sherman-Denison had a gain of 111%.

DFW: January sales prices were up in the four major counties.
Dallas: Sales 1,526  (+17.1%), Median Price $240,000 (+12.2%)
Tarrant: Sales 1,593 (+10.7%), Median Price $241,000 (+9.6%)
Collin: Sales 958 (+21% ), Median Price  $335,000 (+7%)
Denton: Sales 889 (+27.6%), Median Price $310,000 (+3.7%)
DFW: A 1.25 acre lot in the 5700 block of Richmond Avenue near Greenville Avenue, across from a Sam’s Club store, will become an eight-story, 226-unit apartment building, scheduled to open in 2022. The first three floors will have apartments similar to brownstones in other cities.  Above the third floor, the building will step back with a terrace.  
DFW: In Uptown, a 12-story, 335,000-square-foot office tower will be built near the corner of Routh and Howell Streets, to be called “The Quad,” on the four-acre Quadrangle site.  The building will have underground parking. The floor level will have 15,000 square feet of retail “bungalows.”
DC: The Democrat candidates live in the communities they represent.  Their homes vary and have outpaced the median value in their neighborhoods.
Elizabeth Warren: Cambridge, Massassachusetts; 4,000 SF Victorian home near Harvard.  Value is $4 million; Cambridge median is $1 million. Bought in 1995 for $447,000.

Bernie Sanders:
Burlington, Vermont; 2,352 SF near downtown. Value is $441,000; Burlington median is $399,950. Bought in 2009 for $405,000 
Washington, D.C.; 900 SF townhome near U.S. Capitol.  Value is $685,000. Bought in 2007 for $489,000.
North Hero, Vermont; 1.13 acre, two-story log home. Bought in 2016 for $575,000.

Pete Buttigieg: South Bend, Indiana; 2,480 SF home built in 1903 in historic district.  Value  is $230,000; South Bend median is $125,000.  Bought in 2009 for $125,000.
Joe Biden:
Wilmington, Delaware; neighborhood of Greenville and built by du Pont family. Value is $5 million; Wilmington median is $215,000.  Bought in 1997 for $350,000.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Bought in 2017 for $2.74  million. 
Michael Bloomberg: 
New York City; townhome connected to adjacent home near Central Park.  Value is $100+ million; New York Citiy median is $1.9 million.  Bought the 7,500 SF home in 1986 for $3.5 million.
Westchester, New York; Bought 33 acres in 2011 for $4.55 million, adding to 20 acre adjacent estate.
Armonk, New York; Bought in 1993 for $375,000.
Wellington, Florida; equestrian estate.  Bought in 2006 for $8.9 million.
Hamptons, Long Island; 25 acre estate with 22,000 SF mansion. Bought in 1993. Value is $22 million.
Vail, Colorado; four-bed condo at Mountain Haus. Value is $4.35 million.
London, England: seven-bed mansion in Chelsea. Bought in 2015 for $25 million.


Feb 14

January starts new year with sales record

DFW: January sales of single-family homes sold by real estate agents, which was 6,390 homes, was the largest number of properties ever sold in January, using data from NTREIS and the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. The 21% increase, the largest yearly gain in four years, follows a 15% increase in December and several months of rising sales. Home loan costs began falling in mid- 2019 and have remained low for several months. Metrostudy said Spring should continue strong for both new and resale homes, with strong job growth, mortgage rates at historic lows and long overdue wage growth. In 2019, a record of more than 108,000 single-family homes sold in North Texas, up 3% from 2018. The median home price rose 8% in January, more than twice the gain for all 2019. Strong home sale activity in January caused a 6% decline in the number of homes listed in the 24 North Texas counties, with 20,631 listings and 9,236 pending sales.

DFW: More than twenty high rise residential buildings are underway in the area, with 6,073 units under construction, according to RealPage. High rise buildings are going up in more neighborhoods. The urban core number on the way is 12 buildings with 3,780 units. Rents are about double the average apartment. Monthly rents in the Oak Lawn/Park Cites area average $2,353 for high-rises. A new top floor penthouse can be $10,000. Despite the prices, demand remains strong from both young professionals and empty nesters. Developers say the high rents, such as the $2,700 monthly for a 775-square foot unit in the new Twelve Cowboys Way in Frisco, demand a quality level to justify the cost. DFW is still the top construction market in the U.S. for all types apartments, with 43,000 units being built.
Anna: An estimated 13,000 businesses have moved from California between 2008 and 2016. As the migration spreads northward from DFW through Frisco and McKinney, former small towns are growing. Anna, 40 miles north of Dallas, is one of the fastest growing cities in North Texas. Permits for single-family homes nearly doubled between 2018 and 2019, while commercial permits rose 36%. With 65-square miles of available planning area, Anna is just four square miles smaller than the planning area in Frisco. Construction costs are less than Prosper or McKinney. Located on U.S. 75, the town is 15 minutes from the McKinney Airport, 45 minutes to DFW Airport, and 45 minutes from Downtown Dallas.
D.C.: The average rate on the 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped to 3.45% according to data from mortage finance giant Freddie Mac, potentially boosting the spring housing market. Mortgage rates are closely tied to yields on 10 year Treasury notes, recently at their lowest level since October. Investors pile into government bonds when economic growth looks uncertain. Continued concerns that the coronavirus will hurt Chinese economic growth are sending rates down. Low mortgage rates are pushing home sales to a high mark for the year in December, when sales of existing homes rose 3.6% over the previous month to 5.54 million. Lenders extended a greater volume of home loans in 2019 than in any year since 2006, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Lower rates have spawned a bevy of refinancings, with the volume jumping 15% from the previous week to the highest level since June 2013, according to recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
DFW: Recent U.S. Census Bureau rankings of DFW’s wealthiest cities by median household income has the top five: Southlake $239,101; Colleyville, $189,689; Lucas, $176,555; Argyle, $173,571 and Heath, $159,838.
DFW: According to the Dallas Business Journal, in a series of stories on housing options for homes in various price ranges, the recent article features homes over $5 million. In Dallas County there were 21 home sales in 2019 above $5 million, 19 through MLS and two private sales. So far in 2020, there is one pending sale and 54 active listings, including new properties and resales. In Collin County, there were no public sales above $5 million in 2019, now seven listings. In Denton County, there were no sales in 2019, now there are seven listings above $5 million, and one pending sale. In Tarrant County, there are eight active listings over $5 million, one pending in Ft. Worth, and two sales in 2019, both in Westlake.
Charleston: An 8,524-square foot Georgian style home built in the 1740s, three decades before the start of the Revolutionary War, and restored is on the market for $9.99 million, and if sold for that price would be a record for a single-family home in Charleston. A ballroom consumes half the second floor. There are 15 fireplaces.

Feb 7

DFW: December ended the year in DFW with Dallas County agents selling 2,167 homes, according to Metrotex. Home sales by North Texas agents were up 15% over last year. Tarrant County marked 2,138 preowned homes; Kaufman County had a 37% increase, and Denton County had a 23.4% increase. Across North Texas, real estate agents sold more than 9,000 homes through MLS. For 2019, over 108,000 homes were sold, 3% more than 2018, and median prices were up 3%.
DFW: Area home prices rose about 2.7% in December compared to Austin’s 5.7% increase and 5.5% in the Ft. Worth area, according to CoreLogic. Biggest increases were in the low-moderate priced homes, which are in short supply across the nation. Homes that sold for 25% or more below the local median price had a 5.9% price gain in 2019, compared to a 3.7% gain for homes selling for 25% or more above the median. Home prices in Chicago and New York grew less than 1% last year. Biggest gains were Idaho (9.9%), Maine (7.9%), Wyoming (7.7%) and South Dakota (7.4%). Texas home prices were up 3.4% in 2019. CoreLogic forecasts nationwide prices will rise 5.2% in 2020.
San Antonio: Texas led states in 2019 with 344,200 new jobs, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve, predicting job growth of about 2.1% this year, as the state continues its long expansion. The DFW job growth of 3.4% ranked third nationally among cities with a population of 1 million or more. DFW led the nation’s metro areas in job creation in 2019, for the third straight year. New, relocating and expanding businesses in North Texas created 127,600 jobs during the year, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than either New York or Los Angeles.
Miami: Condo sales jumped in Miami-Dade County last week ahead of the Super Bowl. A total of 135 condos sold for $56 million last week, compared to 82 units that sold for $34 million the previous week. Condos last week sold for an average price of about $415,000 or $300/SF. Top sale was at the Four Seasons Residences at the Surf Club for $6.2 million, or about $1,811/SF. The second most expensive sale was in Bal Harbour, with the penthouse at Majestic Towers sale for $3.6 million, or $909/SF.
DFW: A new apartment tower is underway on North Central Expressway just south of Mockingbird Lane, at the dead end of McKinney Avenue on the Katy Trail. The 14-story building, with 217 rental units, will occupy the site now home to the Carter Eye Center building. On the McKinney Avenue side of the new building facing Highland Park, there will be walk-up townhouse units and a pedestrian lounge. Co-working office booths in the resident clubhouse will be themed as vintage rail cars like those that ran on the old Katy Trail railway line.

DFW:The area’s most affordable rental housing inventory declined in the decade ending in 2018, while higher-priced apartments gained. The region quadrupled in rentals costing more than $1,400 per month. The metro area lost 238,000 rental units priced below $800 monthly over the decade and added 110,000 units costing between $800-$1,000 per month. There were just 64,000 units at more than $1,400 monthly in 2008 and today there are 263,000. DFW has lost more units under $800 than any metro outside New York City. Dallas and Houston are the only U.S. metros to add at least 100,000 rentals in each upper cost brackets, from $800 through $1,400. Construction costs have soared in recent years, and developers are building more luxury units to recoup their investment.


Jan 31

North Texas agents set home record

DFW: In 2019, North Texas real estate agents sold a record of more than 108,000 homes. Four-fifths of the Dallas area’s residential districts had an increase in home sales in 2019. Biggest percentage increases were in fast-growing communities north of Dallas. Prosper and Melissa home sales were up 20%. Anna sales were up 17% and Colleyville 13%. Lower mortgage costs in the second half of the year boosted sales. Median home sale prices in 2019 rose in all but eight Dallas-area neighborhoods. Number of homes on the market rose about 9% over last year. Biggest price gains were in more affordable areas in Southeast Dallas (+10%), Southern Dallas (+10%) and Grand Prairie (+ 10%). Outlook for 2020 is 3%-5% home price gains. Highlights:
Far North Dallas: Sales 1,026 (-1%) Median Price $442,000 (-1%)
North Dallas: Sales 684 (+2) Median Price $900,250 (-8%)
East Dallas: Sales 2,302 (+3%) Median Price $375,000 (-3%) Oak Lawn: Sales 85 (+1%) Median Price $437,500 (+18%)
Park Cities: Sales 722 (+1%) Median Price $1,300,000 (+5%) Southlake: Sales 5,554 (-1%) Median Price $755,000 (0%)
DFW: The retail market in DFW ended 2019 with a 93% occupancy rate, highest recorded since 1981, according to the Weitzman Forecast. The firm does an annual inventory of about 200.5 million-square feet in projects with 25,000-square feet or more. They note that restaurants are the most valuable player of retail leasing and the low construction market is here for the foreseeable future. The firm predicts 2020 will be the eighth strong year in a row. DFW leads the country in new multifamily units with 140,000 new units since 2010. That residential growth has created retail demand and boosted existing retail centers. For the first time in the survey’s 45 years history, every single category reported occupancy above 90%. Malls were 90.6%, small strip centers were above 90%. The multifamily boom drives demand and developers are renovating 14 older centers. Today’s larger centers can have as many as 10 restaurants compared to two a decade ago The survey showed 418 community centers in DFW report an average of four restaurants per center.
Phoenix: One in eight owner-occupied homes in the U.S., about 9 million homes, are set to hit the market from 2017 through 2027, as baby boomers start to die in greater numbers. The total is up from seven million homes in the prior decade. By 2037, one-quarter of the U.S. for-sale housing stock, roughly 21 million homes, will be vacated by seniors. That is more than twice the number of new homes built during the 10-year period that spanned the last housing bubble, reports the Wall Street Journal. Gen Xers and millennials are preferring to live in cities or suburbs in major metro areas with shops and restaurants within walking distance. They are showing little interest in migrating to planned, agerestricted retirement enclaves in sunnier corners of the U.S. lined with golf courses, community centers and man-made lakes. A study from the Harvard Housing Center shows many households in their pre-retirement years, age 50-64, are less likely to own a home than prior generations. A housing sales glut could have wide reaching consequences. Demand may shrink in places like Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Utah. Small towns and rural areas where young adults are less likely to migrate could face depressed housing prices and a slowdown in new homes.
Park City: A 2,670-acre ranch in Oakley, Utah, has sold for $32.5 million, a record price for the state. Known as Riverbend Ranch, the property includes a 16,800-square foot, eight bedroom home and its own helicopter pad.
D.C.: A Northern Virginia three-acre estate on the Potomac River between McLean and Arlington, owned by the founder of AOL, has sold for $45 million, the most expensive residential sale on record in the Washington, D.C. area. The main house has 24,500-square feet, six bedrooms, four kitchens, a 30-car garage, pool and tennis court. An adjacent guest house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.


Jan 24

Rate setter Libor will end in 2021

DFW: In 2019, the average U.S. home seller saw a gain of $65,000, a 13-year high, according to Attom Data Solutions. In DFW the average sales gain was $78,437. Austin had the biggest average profit of $89,983. Less than 7% of DFW home trades were distressed sales, according to Attom Data. Only 3% of North Texas homes were sold to investors. Homeowners in the DFW area are staying in their properties for an average of 7.76 years. U.S. average home tenure is an all time high 8.2 years.
NAR: The National Association of Realtors has issued its 2019 profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Some highlights: First time buyers were 33% of all buyers; typical buyer was 47 years old; 61% of buyers were married couples, 17% single females, 9% single males, 9% unmarried couples; 29% said primary reason was to own a home of their own. Detached single-family homes were most common home type for 83% of buyers. Buyers expect to live in their homes for a median of 15 years and 20% said they were never moving. First step in the process for 44% was online look at properties; 16% first step was agent contact; 87% found agent good information source; 93% said most useful source was website; buyers typically searched for 10 weeks and looked at a median of 9 homes; buyers not using the internet spent four weeks searching and visited 4 homes. 89% of buyers bought through an agent, saying an agent helped find right home. 41% of buyers used an agent referred by a friend or relative and 12% used an agent they used in the past. Seventy-five percent of buyers interviewed only one agent during their search. Eight percent of homes were FSBO sales, near the lowest share since the report started in 1981. FSBO homes sold typically for less than other homes and lower than agent assisted sales. Median age of FSBO sellers was 60.
London: Libor, the London Interbank Offer Rate, has been called “the world’s most important number,” used to calculate interest rates for everything from mortgages to government bonds. An estimated $200 trillion in contracts is riding on it. Next year will be its last and there is no universal agreement on what will replace it when it is phased out at the end of 2021. Interest rates on any given loan could be higher or lower than lenders or borrowers anticipated when they signed their deals. Fixed-rate loans are for stabilized properties with cash flow. A bridge loan for a construction loan would be a floating rate loan, typically pegged to Libor, plus a spread. Floating rates tied to Libor maturing in 2021 will be affected. Some lenders say if Libor is unavailable, interest rates will convert to prime, roughly 3% higher than Libor. Libor was devised as a benchmark resulting from complex financial products in the 70s and 80s. Each morning at 11 in London, top bank representatives are asked how much they expect to pay to borrow money from other banks — calculated from five different currencies and seven lending periods from overnight to a year. From these numbers, averages are determined and published at 7.a.m. Eastern time. The U.S. Federal Reserve is suggesting an alternative, the Secured Overnight Financed Rate, SOFR, which analyzes one day’s actual financial trades to set the next day’s rate. Central banks of Europe, England, Japan and Switzerland have proposed solutions of their own.
DFW: Total housing value in DFW doubled in a decade to $589 billion, in an analysis by Zillow and reported by the Dallas Business Journal. Texas added more housing value than any other state in 2019. According to the data, in the past eight years, the typical North Texas house value had increased 78%, or $100,000 in value. Factors include rapid appreciation in the last decade and large population growth of 17% through 2018.
Cape Cod: An estate on Cape Cod is on the market for $25 million, making it the most expensive listing in the area. If sold for the asking price, it would set a record for the most expensive sale in Cape Cod. The prior record was in 2013 when billionaire Bill Koch paid $19.5 million for a home owned by Bunny Mellon, according to the Wall Street Journal. The 9.6 acre estate is on the Penzance Point peninsula in Woods Hole, on the southern tip of Cape Cod. It includes a traditional style main home, guest house, extensive grounds and gardens, a 36 foot swimming pool, boathouse with fireplace and a deep water dock.


Jan 17

DFW: Almost 26,000 new apartments will open in North Texas this year, 14% more than last year and more than any other metro area in the U.S. Los Angeles is expecting 17,582 new rental units. RealPage forecasts that 370,942 new apartments will hit the market — 50% more than 2019. Apartment rents in the area were up about 3% year-over-year in the fourth quarter to a record $1,175/month.

DFW: The next high-rise residential tower in Dallas Uptown will be on a site at 2620 Maple Avenue that sold for about $375 per square foot. Plans are for a 12-story, 335,000-square foot apartment project with 146 rental units. Other residential projects in the neighborhood include two towers at McKinney Avenue and Field Street. Plans call for a 700,00-square foot and 500,000-square foot office tower and two towers with about 300 rental units in each, plus a hotel. Amenity space will be about 30,000-40,000-square feet.
College Station: Third quarter GDP data from the Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M states Texas is the fastest-growing state in the nation, increasing 4% with widespread improvement in nondurable goods manufacturing, retail trade, energy-related activity, and professional/scientific/technical services. The ten year U.S. Treasury bond yield rose above 1.8%. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. 30-year-fixed rate balanced at 3.7%. Mortgage applications for home purchases climbed nearly 30% YTD. Refinance application activity accelerated, almost tripling since year end. The Residential Construction Leading Index rose to its highest level since the Recession as housing starts increased. Dallas added 7,600 jobs in November, with education/health services and trade the major growth providers. Total construction values climbed 13.6% to a record high.
London: Negative interest rates and high household debt in Europe may be leading to a household bubble. The European Central Bank five years ago slashed its benchmark interest rate to below zero in an effort to ramp up the continent’s stagnant economy, but the move kickstarted a surge in debt. And some pockets in Europe, including Munich, Amsterdam and Paris, are forcing real estate valuations into a risk zone. The European Systemic Risk Board is asking 11 countries, including Denmark, Sweden and Austria, to bring in prices and focus on housing affordability through regulations and tax policies. The Mayor of Paris plans to enact rent controls and build subsidized housing. Much of the rising costs can be attributed to foreign investors, including pension and insurance funds, pouring money into European real estate.
Beijing: The favored source of funding Chinese real estate developers is under scrutiny in one of the country’s largest urban areas, posing a threat to sectors that have stretched creative financing to its limits. The city of Xi’an has opened a process instituting an escrow system so developers would hold on to funds valued at 1.2 times the cost of building a new property when booking a presale. There is no escrow system of this kind in China, so funds from presales are used to cover existing liabilities. In 2007, around one-third of residential properties sold had already been built. In the 12 months to October, less than 13% of property sales registered in China were completed houses. While investment by developers has risen by 46% in the past five years, funding from advance payment has more than doubled. The rapid rise in presales and slow growth in completions means many buyers will be waiting more years than expected.
London: A Hong Kong investor is buying a central London residential property from the estate of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. The $274 million transaction for the 62,000-square foot building overlooking Hyde Park would be the U.K.’s most expensive house sale ever.


Jan 10

DFW: December’s preowned home sales of 9,056 were up 15% over last year, the highest total on record for the final month of any year in North Texas. Real estate agents sold more than 108,000 single-family homes, 3% more than 2018, according to NTREIS data. Median home prices were up 5% to $270,000. For all of 2019, North Texas home prices were 3% ahead of last year. At year end, 20,535 homes were listed, down 4%. The number of pending sales was up 18% from a year ago, a good sign for January. In December, 572 condos were sold, up 23%. The median price was down 4% at $242,000, 430 pending sales were up 13%, and listings of 1,847 were up 9%.

DFW: November home prices in Texas rose 3.3% from a year ago. Dallas-area prices were 2.8% higher,
compared to a U.S. increase of 3.7%. Austin was up 4.8%, Ft. Worth 4.5%, Houston 3.1% and 3.6% in San Antonio.
DFW: New home starts in the final months of 2019 were 22% more than last year. Builders began almost 8,900 homes in October, November and December, the strongest fourth-quarter construction in more than a decade, according to Residential Strategies. DFW home starts for the year of 35,584 were up about 2% from 2018. Builders said most of the increases are at the lower-end of the market, from $200,000 to $300,000. Starts of houses over $500,000 were down almost 15% in the fourth quarter. Builders sold more than 8,500 homes in the final quarter, about 6% more than a year ago.
DFW: One of Dallas’ oldest apartment buildings, the Maple Terrace, has been sold to the Hines Interests in Houston. The seven-story, 81-unit building, when built in 1925, was the tallest apartment building in Dallas. Its eight-acre site was the site of the former Dilley Mansion. Its neighbor, the 11-story Stoneleigh Hotel, built in 1922, was taller. A Hines spokesman said their goal is to renovate and revitalize “an iconic property.”
DFW: Almost 1.5 million-square feet of net leasing pushed the Dallas office leasing total for 2019 to 3.5 million-square feet, in a report from CBRE, up 75% from 2018 totals and the third-highest leasing total during the last decade. Most of the fourth-quarter activity was from health services, education and tech tenants. Seven new office buildings were started in the fourth quarter, to meet demand driven by business growth. For the 12 months ending in November, area employers added more than 120,000 jobs, the greatest growth of any metro area in the U.S. The strongest net leasing was in Las Colinas (1,439,456 SF); northeast Fort Worth (778,796 SF); Dallas’ Uptown/Turtle Creek area (587,989 SF); and Far North Dallas suburbs (515,421 SF).

MIAMI: Among the seven states with no income tax and no tax on dividends and interest, Florida accounted for 42% of U.S. home sales in 2019 and Texas was second with 33.6%. Six of the seven states — Florida, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas all had U.S. population increases from July 2018 to July 2019.


Jan 03 2020

DFW: Single-unit residential housing sales increased 3.1% in November to 7,361 transactions. YTD sales totaled 94,731 closed listings, with a volume of $2.37 billion. Average sales price rose 1.5% to $322,283 and the average price/SF rose from $135.72 to $139.25. Median price rose 5.26% to $270,000 and median price/SF rose from $127.23 to $131.47. Active listings were 24,014. Sales price were 95.61% of original list price and 96.40% YTD. Sales of townhomes were up 5.03% to 209 transactions for YTD sales of 2,516 closed listings. Average sales price was down to $277,355 with average price/SF down from $151.24 to $149.66. Median price rose 5.06% to $270,000 and median price/SF rose from $143.77 to $146.06. Sale prices were 95.80% of original list price. Condo sale volume increased 9.91% to 255 transactions and YTD sales of 3,110 closed listings. Dollar volume rose from $64.2 million to $70.14 million. Average sales price was down to $275,040 with average price/SF from $198.00 to $188.54. Median price rose 2.99% to $207,000 with median price/SF up from $176.59 to $178.19. Active listings were 1,345 and sale prices were 93.87% of original list.

DFW: A new report from the Dallas Fed offers signs that the Texas economy remains strong in 2020. Texas service sector activity grew at a faster pace in December, with retail sales quickening and revenue growth picking up. Perceptions of business conditions are signs to improve, and a majority of service firms expect stronger revenues compared to 2019. Private service companies provide 70% of the state economy and employ about 8 million people. Another report shows factory output in Texas has resumed growing after contracting in November for the first time in more than three years.
DFW: California had the most inbound moves of any state in Atlas Van Lines’ annual migration study. And the state also had the biggest total of out-of-state moves, with more people leaving the state. Texas was second for total Atlas moves in 2019, registering its highest percentage of inbound moves in the U.S. since 1915. More than 55% of the company’s Texas business was from movers to Texas, 6,300 inbound moves. Next states in moves were Florida and Washington State. A recent report shows almost 700,000 people left California in 2018, and more than 86,000 of those came to Texas, according to Yardi Systems. In 2018, Texas was second among popular states for movers with almost 564,000 newcomers.
D.C.: New government data shows privately-owned housing starts rose 3.2% in November to 1.37 million. Building permits in November hit 1.48 million, the highest rate since 2007. Single-family starts were at a rate of 938,000 in November, the highest level since January.
D.C.: Just before Christmas, the U.S. House cleared an appropriations measure that renewed the write-off for mortgage insurance premiums as well as the tax break on forgiven mortgage debt. Both measures ran out in 2017 and have been renewed for 2018 and 2019 through 2020. Five federal financial regulators have given cautionary approval to use of alternative credit data that lenders can use for decisions, hoping to expand access to credit at more favorable prices and terms. Lenders can use automation to perform a cash flow analysis to evaluate a borrower’s capacity to meet payment obligations. Income requirements for housing can vary from a median price home in Boston ($104,000), to $38,000 in Pittsburgh, to $229,000 in San Jose, and $124,000 in Los Angeles. Requirements will take into account mortgage principal and interest plus property taxes and homeowners insurance. The latest version of the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) will be mandatory November 2020, but lenders can start using the applications for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September.

D.C.: 2020 is a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2020th year of the Common Era of Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 20th year of the 3rd millennium, the 20th year of the 21st century and the 1st year of the 2020s decade.


Dec 20

DFW: The Texas Realtors Association in a recent survey of high-end housing in the state, found that 5,149 Texas homes priced at $1M or more were sold in the last 12 months. DFW was the leader in luxury sales, with 1,785 million-dollar homes, a record and up just under 1% from the previous 12 months. Million-dollar homes accounted for almost 9% of North Texas total residential volume. Residents moving from highcost states like California find they can buy dramatically more house for the same investment compared to their former location. Add a business-friendly environment, no income taxes and friendly people, and Texas’ luxury homes have global appeal and a strong market outlook.
DFW: In a new report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, preowned home sales by North Texas real estate agents rose 2% in November over last year, a total of 7,711 homes through MLS. Last month’s sales follows an 11% annual gain in October and a 9% increase in September. Through the first 11 months of 2019, North Texas home sales by agents have risen 2% from last year, with more than 99,000 homes traded through MLS. Area home sale prices rose by 4% from November a year ago. Year to date, area home prices are ahead 3%. Pending sales are up 8% from a year ago, with 8,163 homes under contract. Condo sales of 466 were up 7% and pending sales were 483, up 5%.
DFW: Housing construction permits are forecast to be up somewhere between 8% and 9% in 2020, says the A&M Real Estate Center, and home sales will probably see a 4% increase. The Center economists forecast DFW home prices may be up 5% as long as mortgage rates stay low. Residential Strategies said builders they have interviewed say their strongest months of the year have been October and November, indicators of a good spring market.
DFW: So far this year, the DFW area has seen close to $20 billion in commercial property sales with more transactions set to close this month. Top sales in major markets have Manhattan #1, Los Angeles #2, San Francisco #3, and Dallas #4. Several of the biggest deals of 2019 are from international investors, including an almost $100 million major interest in downtown’s AT&T Whitacre Tower by a Korean group. And the Pioneer Natural Resources $584 million acquisition was funded in part by Middle Eastern investors.

DFW: Dallas ranks among the 10 best cities for startup costs. Data for the Embroker list was based on the top 100 Metro areas using 2018 population estimates. Finalists were cities over 600,000 with criteria including job growth, median base salary and state filing fees. Dallas had job growth of 3.1%; yearly median rent of $9,900; yearly energy cost at $511; median base salary of $60,445; and state filing fees of $300. Purpose of the rankings was to help entrepreneurs avoid overspending to get their company started. North Texas is well-suited for entrepreneurial success given its relatively low startup costs coupled with overall size and close proximity to venture capitalists.



Dec 13

DFW named as Top Ten market for 2020


DFW: The average Dallas-area homeowner gained $5,200 in increased property equity — the difference between mortgage balance and home value — during the last year, reports CoreLogic. That’s more than the average Texas increase of $4,600. U.S. homeowners have gained nearly $457 billion in property equity since the third quarter of 2018, as home values nationwide continue to rise, says the firm. And the fewest percentage of owners since the recession are underwater in the debt on their properties. After more than eight years of rising home prices and employment growth, underwater owners have been slashed to just 2 million, less than 4% of mortgaged homes. It’s even less in DFW, where just 1.35% of homeowners owed more than their house was worth. The DFW area in third quarter 2019 had the smallest percentage of homeowners with negative equity of any major market. Median prices in North Texas have risen almost 70% since the downturn. And housing costs in the Dallas area are at an all-time high.

D.C.: The National Association of Realtors has selected 10 home markets across the nation that it expects to outperform during the next three to five years. Dallas-Ft. Worth is on the list, along with Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Colorado Springs, CO; Columbus, OH; Fort Collins, CO; Las Vegas, NV; Ogden, UT, Raleigh, NC; and Tampa, FL. The Realtors’ study said strong job growth is driving up prices in the top markets. In the DFW area, the NAR found that 75% of recent home moves were by renters. The median age of people who moved to North Texas was 29, and the median value of homes bought by movers to DFW was $289,700. Last year, more than 550,000 people moved to Texas, most coming from California. Almost 140,000 moved to DFW last year, mostly to Dallas and Tarrant counties. Through the first 11 months of 2019, sales of homes in North Texas by real estate agents are up 2% and median home prices are 3% higher than the same period in 2018.
DFW: The block of property at Cedar Springs Road and Olive Street has been bought for a 19-story, 230- room luxury hotel. The triangular site currently has a small retail building across from the McKinney & Olive Tower. Four new hotels are planned for Uptown. At Carlisle and Fairmount Streets, a 14-story, 255-room Marriott Hotel is planned. And a 20-story hotel will occupy the corner of McKinnon and Moody streets, west of the Crescent and Tower Residences Ritz-Carlton building. A 19-story hotel is to be constructed on Hall Street near McKinney Avenue. The 300-room property will be dual-branded as Motto and Spark, two new Hilton brands.
NYC: Starting July 2021, real estate brokers previously exempt from the state-mandated 22.5 hours of continuing education will need to study if they want to renew their licenses. A newly-signed law does away with a provision that exempted brokers licensed before July 2008 who held their licenses continuously for at least 15 years. The law also requires 2 1/2 hours of “ethical business practices” and one hour dedicated to legal updates. That’s in addition to three hours of classes related to fair housing and/or discrimination and an hour related to law of agency.
DFW: North Texas home prices continue to rise in most DFW neighborhoods. In a study done by the Dallas Business Journal, the most-expensive median home value was in 75205, Highland Park, at $1,355,700, a 4% increase year-over-year. The median in 75225, University Park, was also up 4% at $1,276,800. North Dallas zip code 75230’s median was up 1% at $734,700. And Southlake, 76092, rose 2% to $672,200. Rounding out the top ten were 75254, Far North Dallas, up 8% with a median $642,300; 75209 in Bluffivew/Greenway Parks, down 1% at a median $638,900; 75201 Uptown/Downtown, up 1% with median $545,600; 75214 Lakewood, median up 5% at $516,900; 76034 Colleyville, median up 2% at $516,900; 75219 Turtle Creek/Oak Lawn with a median home value at $503,300, up 7%.

Menlo Park: Katerra, a prefab construction startup with completed projects including Austin, has stopped work on at least six projects this year. Katerra has touted its off-site building and management as transforming the building process. The firm has major backing from SoftBank Vision Fund.



Dec 6

Millennials moving to mountain states


DFW: From 2010-2018, Texas gained more than 3.5 million people, about 1,000 new residents per day. with a third of those settling in DFW. DFW gained more new residents than any metro area in the U.S., adding more than 1 million people from 2010-2018. In North Texas, economic and population growth has clustered around U.S. Highway 380 and State Highway 289, known as Preston Road. Three of the nation’s fastestgrowing cities, Denton, New Braunfels and Round Rock, were ranked on employment, business creation, population growth, household growth and household income, using U.S. Census Data. From 2014-2018, Denton’s population grew 8% and household income grew 36%. Denton County’s median income, around $86,000, is above the national median of almost $62,000. Other DFW cities in Smart Asset’s top 50 were Frisco (13), McKinney (14), Flower Mound (24) and Allen (37).

DFW: Dallas-area home prices were up 3% in a recent nationwide comparison from S&P CoreLogic. Dallas-area home prices have risen 70% in the last decade. So far in 2019, the median sales price of houses sold by North Texas real estate agents is 3% higher that this time last year.
DFW: A new two-tower luxury rental development will be across from the Virgin Hotel on HiLine Drive and Turtle Creek Boulevard in the Design District. Estimates are for residential towers of almost 30 floors. Phase one will be 381 rental units, beginning in March 2020. The 268-room Virgin Hotel at HiLine and Turtle Creek will open next month.
DFW: Deep Ellum is getting another office tower, the Stack Deep Ellum, located on a half-acre parking lot in front of the Bomb Factory at 2700 Commerce Street. The tower is planned for 200,000-square feet of office space, 15,000-square feet of ground floor retail and eight floors of underground parking. Cost estimates could be in the $59 million range.
Aspen: Unsold homes are adding inventory and price cuts in luxury properties are common. Median price of the 183 homes sold in Aspen through September was nearly 12% lower than 2018. September marked the fifth successive quarter of growth in the number of prime homes for sale. Despite the recent price slide, Aspen homes are still expensive. Ultra prime homes, the top fifth by sales price, average $48,000 per square meter (almost 11 square feet), more expensive according to Savills than the $36,000 average price in France’s Courchevel 1850, the world’s second-priciest ski resort. For years, property prices have been beyond what Aspen workers can afford. Since the 1970s, the Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority has provided subsidized homes for workers to buy and rent. Currently the pool comprises 1,662 for ownership and 1,372 for rent. But Aspen’s high property prices mean building new affordable homes has become virtually impossible..

Boise: Millennials and others seeking a lower cost of living are pouring into the U.S. Mountain States, boosting economic growth and increasing apartment rents, according to the Wall Street Journal. Income from rental apartments nearly doubled between 2004-2018 in the eight Mountain States, according to Trepp, LLC. The research data firm looked at properties in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. That is the fastest-growth rate of any region in the country. Young professionals are leaving west coast hubs like San Francisco and Seattle to smaller cities such as Boise, Idaho and Boulder, Colorado, in search of cheaper real estate, lower taxes and nature. A wave of tech firms, often lured to the region by generous tax incentives, has helped attract younger workers. Idaho and Nevada saw the fastest population growth of any U.S. states from 2017-2018 tied at 2.1%. Historically most apartment buildings in the region have been owned by individuals and smaller investment firms. But the surge in economic growth is attracting institutional investors.


November 22

DFW: More than 3,400 acres of land near the intersections of State Highway 114 and US 287 in Wise County have been bought for a residential development of more than 10,000 homes. Parts of the property are in the towns of Rhome and Newark. The development is projected to cost more than $3.5 billion by completion, which makes it among the largest residential communities in North Texas. Home prices are expected to range from more than $200,000 to above $500,000. Planned are 800 acres for open space with a trail system around existing lakes, creeks and natural springs.
DFW: A five-story, 322-unit luxury apartment community has broken ground at Frisco Station, a $1.8 billion, 242-acre mixed-use project on the west side of the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco. The new rental community is next door to Frisco Station’s first apartment project, which is 95% leased.
DFW: Dallas area rents are up $49 a month on average to $1,240, a new high, according to Yardi Systems data. The national average is $1,476. Austin residents have the biggest increase with average rent up $74 to $1,442. Houston rates are up $16 to $1,111. Ft. Worth rose $39 to an average of $1,130. Highest rents are in Manhattan ($4,245), Los Angeles ($2,530), Washington, D.C. ($2,233) and Seattle ($2,138). DFW is still the fastest-growing apartment market in the country.
DFW: SBA disaster loans up to $2 million are available for businesses and non-profits in the seven North Texas counties that suffered tornado damage in October. For homeowners, the loan limit is $200,000. Homeowners and renters are also eligible for $40,000 to repair or replace destroyed personal property. Deadline to apply for property damage loans is January 13 and for economic injury August 14. The loans interest rates start at 3.875% for businesses, 2.75% for private non-profits and 1.5% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loans will be made for costs to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other assets. Loans can also be for improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of damage in the future. Loans are also available to businesses with no physical damage but who lost revenue when customers couldn’t access their businesses. The temporary disaster loan office is open in the Bachman Lake Branch Library, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
D.C.: The NAR reports about one-third of homes sold this year went to first-time buyers, compared to the usual 40%. Median age for first-time buyers rose to 33 in 2019, highest ever recorded by the residential sales industry. The median age of repeat home buyers rose to the mid-50s. The share of U.S. home buyers with children living at home continues to decline. This year, it was just 35% of the market. In 1985, almost 60% of buyers had kids. Likewise, the share of married couples purchasing a home declined from an historical high of 75% to 67%. The share of new homes purchased dropped to an all-time low of 13%. Builders of new houses in recent years have shifted their product line toward more expensive properties.

Austin: In the next three-to-four years, the Capitol Complex will undergo an $895 million expansion through the Texas Facilities Commission, the real estate management and construction group for the state. The massive project will reshape a large swath of Austin’s Central Business District. The state is the city’s biggest real estate player, leasing 2.5 million-square feet, and owning or managing another 3.9 million-square feet. It’s also the biggest employer in the Austin area with about 63,000 workers. Four buildings will be built in two phases totaling 1.5 million gross square feet, that will bring an estimated 4,800 workers to Congress Avenue.


November 15

DFW: North Texas home sales were up 11% in October. Area real estate agents sold almost 9,100 homes last month, the most on record for the month of October, reports the Dallas Morning News. It was the biggest yearover- year percentage price gain in almost two years, according to data from NTREIS and the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. Through the first 10 months of 2019 , North Texas agents have sold 91,847 single-family homes, 3% more than the same time last year. Prices rose 6% in October over last year, twice the rate so far this year. At the end of October, there were 25,348 single-family home for sale in the more than two dozen North Texas counties in the survey, up 1% from 2018. Pending home sales were up 12% last month, indicating another possible rise in November. Housing economists have reworked their outlook for the rest of 2019, forecasting larger home price increases than expected early in the year.

DFW: The Dallas Builders Association said after the tornado damage, builders are still short 20,000 workers, adding abut two months and $5,000 to every home built. They expect delays as insurance companies deem homes total losses and demolition begins. Most of the tornado-related delays will be on the front end of projects as the demolition companies are backed up right now, along with the Dallas building inspections department. Projects to replace a total loss may be delayed another two to four weeks. Once construction begins, the number of homes needing repair shouldn’t make things any worse from a labor standpoint region wide. The Association cautioned homeowners to find reputable builders and contractors.
DFW: So far this year, almost 1,400 million-dollar homes have sold in Dallas-Fort Worth. Since North Texas housing values are at record levels, more properties make it into the million-dollar category. says in Silicon Valley’s San Jose market, more than 56% of houses sell above the million dollar mark. And in San Francisco, million dollar properties comprise more than 42% of transactions. Dallas ranks 21st among major U.S.. markets with the most million-dollar homes, with 2% of local housing valued above a million. Austin had the largest share of million-dollar homes in Texas and ranked nationally at #11. Lendingtree analysts said only 5.86% of owneroccupied homes in the nation’s 50-largest metro areas are valued over $1 million. At the end of September, about 1,500 million-dollar homes were listed for sale by real estate agents in the North Texas market.
Southlake: Southlake Town Square is considering a 350-unit apartment community for the 130-acre mixed use development. The proposed apartments would average 1,000-square feet and rent for an average of $3000 monthly. The five-story rental community would occupy about seven acres on Carroll Avenue south of State Highway 114.
DFW: A Chicago-based senior housing firm is proposing a new project in the Oak Lawn neighborhood. The 13-story, 140-unit assisted living and memory care building would be built on Herschel Avenue just south of Highland Park. The project would replace several small residential and commercial buildings in a block already zoned for high-rise. Another senior community is planning major expansion. Presbyterian Village North will break ground next spring on a building with 112 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The new building will have underground parking and will be connected to the main community building. The last major expansion on their 66 acre campus was in 2016, costing $93 million. Nationwide, senior housing developers added 21,332 new units in 2018, more than double the units in 2014, according to the Wall Street Journal. Senior housing is one of the fastest-growing commercial real estate sectors, ahead of office, retail, hotels and apartments, according to Green Street Advisors. Development is expected to accelerate because in about a decade, boomers will reach their mid-80s, the typical move-in age for senior housing, but as more facilities come to market, occupancy rates dropped in the third quarter of 2019. The average age that people enter senior housing has been rising, partly because of improving health. It is about 84 to 85 today compared to 82 a decade ago. And the new aging-inplace movement could undercut demand further.” “If your base population gets older, you’re even less attractive to younger seniors,” said one observer.


November 8

DFW: Area home prices rose 2.7% in September, according to CoreLogic. Austin prices were up 4.85% and Ft. Worth up 3.3%. Through the first nine months of 2019, median single-family home prices are up 2%. CoreLogic forecasts nationwide prices will rise 5.6% in 2020. Only one-in-five millennials say buying a home is affordable, while 42% of older millennials, up to age 38, say they spent more on their home purchase than expected — on average, $383,000 with 16% down, and using retirement accounts for 7% of that figure.

DFW: Apartment leasing in the last six months has been the highest volume in nearly twenty years. According to RealPage, more than 16,500 units were leased in the second and third quarters, greatest demand of any major metro area in the U.S. Despite building more apartments than any other city, vacancy rates may dip in 2020 to 7% and rents should rise about 3%, reports the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.
DFW: For the third year in a row, North Texas had the second-largest number of U.S. building starts, $16.4 billion YTD, down 7% from last year. Dodge Data estimates U.S. construction will be down 1% in 2019 and drop another 4% next year. They forecast the dollar value of starts for residential buildings will be down 6% in 2019, and starts for nonresidential down 3%.
Cupertino: Apple, Inc. will commit $2.5 billion for affordable housing in California, the latest tech titan to address the tech companies’ successes that pushed people out of the area. The company said $1 billion will go to an affordable housing investment fund to help the state develop and build low-to-moderate income housing. Another $1 billion will be invested to help more first-time buyers with down payment assistance and financing. Apple will use $300 million worth of its own land to develop affordable housing in San Jose. Another $200 million will go toward low-income housing in the Bay Area. Apple’s announcement follows similar commitments by Facebook, Alphabet and Microsoft. The median selling price for an existing single-family home in the San Francisco Bay Area in September was $880,000, compared to the state median of $605,680 and national median of $275,100.
Palm Beach: Companies tied to President Trump could pay nearly $1.5 million in property taxes in Palm Beach County this year, according to estimates from the county’s property appraiser, reported in the Palm Beach Post. In terms of market value, Mar-a-Lago was valued at $26.6 million. In all, 10 Trump properties were valued at nearly $80 million. That included three houses next to Mar-a-Lago, the clubhouse at the Trump International Golf Club near West Palm Beach and all of the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. In the town of Palm Beach, the six properties tied to Trump have a preliminary market value of $53.84 million. Mar-a-Lago, at 1100 South Ocean Boulevard in Palm Beach, would be billed nearly $522,000 in taxes and assessments this year, up about $33,000, according to county estimates. Revenues at the Palm Beach properties are down from the prior year.


October 25

DFW: DFW added millions of square feet of office in the past decade, seeing a 13% rise in office inventory over 10 years with 229 buildings added totaling 34.5M sq. ft. of space, according to Yardi Matrix data. DFW suburban areas grew the most, accounting for 15% or 27.9M sq. ft., of all office growth in this period. Growing the most were the Platinum Corridor, Plano and Las Colinas. These three areas increased their square footage by 19%, a total of 17.7M sq. ft., representing more than half of all square footage added in DFW. The Dallas Central Business District and urban areas added 41 properties totaling 6.6M sq. ft. during that time. Texas added 108M sq. ft. over 10 years with three-quarters of the new footage in suburban markets.

Austin: The capitol’s office market is in a construction boom with over 6 million-square feet underway, according to CBRE. The Austin market currently has about 54 million sq. ft. of office space, with about 34 million being Class A. A 35-story office tower is under construction downtown, and a 66-story mixed-use tower is also underway. Austin’s tallest building, a 58-story condo tower has opened, as has a 35-story residential highrise with 164 condos on Lady Bird Lake with a minimum price of $1,425,000.
Menlo Park: Facebook is providing $1 billion to help ease an affordable housing shortage in Silicon Valley. The company initiative would produce up to 20,000 new housing units in the next decade, much of it for teachers, police and other middle-class workers near its headquarters in Menlo Park. In June, Google made a $1 billion commitment to building housing in the San Francisco Bay area. Microsoft said in January it would spend $500 million on new housing in the Seattle area around its Redmond headquarters. California is short 3.4 million housing units, according to a study by ECONorthwest and Up for Growth, an advocacy group for loosening building regulations. Facebook says the housing produced will serve a variety of income levels. About $250 million will go to a partnership between the company and the governor’s office, which will provide underused state-owned land to developers at virtually no cost. In return, Facebook will subsidize construction of the new units. The company says its plan should allow middle-income housing to be built without additional public subsidy. Facebook is seeking approval for a new complex for about 6,000 employees and around 1,700 mixed-income housing units. Facebook will also contribute $150 million to a fund that builds housing for low-income residents and the homeless. An additional $25 million will go to build housing for teachers and other workers in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
Nashville: Developers of a new 77-unit condo project are marketing the building to owners interested in renting their apartments via short-term listing sites. It is collaborating with home-sharing company Airbnb, which will be the brand. Developers feel short-term rentals will appeal to buyers and make high profits, taking the short-term rental industry from garages and guesthouses to institutional real estate. The companies’ new properties in Miami and Austin will have hotel licenses, allowing the projects to avoid potential regulatory risks when cities change rules for short-term rentals in traditional residential areas. As a result of the hotel licensing, buyers at the Austin project will be allowed to live only 30 consecutive days at a time in their own apartments. Also planned is a 249-unit building and hotel in Austin with in-house staff to manage short term renting for a fee.
Sacramento: Cannabis-focused commercial real estate now has sparked plans to bolster the industry’s supply chain, with hundreds of millions of dollars to build 30 cannabis contract manufacturing facilities over the next ten years. The city has granted permission to build an 11-acre cannabis campus, centered around a 265K sq. ft. facility for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and product development. At capacity, the company will produce up to 1,000 products — from vaping cartridges to flowers — for 50 different brands. As more states join the 11 who have legalized recreational marijuana, developers predict growth, especially if the federal government legalizes use and the pharmaceutical companies invest.


October 18

DFW: Area home prices were up more than 4% in September over last year, while prices on a national level were up 4.8%. Home prices were down in San Francisco and San Jose. DFW inventory rose 0.4% and about 1% more houses were listed with North Texas agents than a year ago, including an increase in the number of moderate and low-priced properties in North Texas, which runs counter to national trends.

DFW: A new apartment tower near SMU and Mockingbird Station will have 330 units staring at about $1,750 for the smallest unit and ranging from studios to penthouses. It will also have a 26,000-squarefoot amenity space on the eighth-floor and its own parking garage. After completion in 2021, the site has room for one or more high-rise buildings. The 292-room Magnolia Hotel will be re-branded as the Beeman Hotel and is being renovated. The existing office tower, 90% leased, is undergoing upgrades.
Frisco: The 25-story Skyhouse Frisco Station, the town’s tallest building, on the west side of the Dallas North Tollway and John Hickman Parkway is almost open. The 332-unit apartment tower’s upper floor units will average over 1,000 square feet with rents ranging from under $1,400 for a studio unit to more than $4,000 for the largest three bedroom, two bath unit with more than 1,500 square feet. Three other apartment communities surround the Skyhouse development with more on the way.
DFW: More than 14,000 luxury apartments opened in 2018 in the DFW metro, according to data from RealPage, with an additional 21,000 units in 2019. Luxury apartments range from one to four bedrooms and rent for about $1.90/sf. Apartments can range from 352 square feet to 6,849 square feet. But only about 18% have penthouses. In addition to corporate relocation, people are moving from other suburban cores to the Dallas metro area.
Miami: Mobile homes are no longer just a necessity for lower-income residents. Increasingly they are becoming a must-have for some of the world’s richest private equity players. Canadian private equity giant Brookfield, with more than $350 billion in assets, owns 130+ mobile home communities, making it one of the largest manufactured housing investors in the U.S. The immobility of mobile and manufactured homes with low income renters unable to quickly move their properties, prompts institutional real estate investors to see that as a slam dunk, especially in a downturn. Brokers who specialize in manufactured housing sites call them one of the safest assets in a recession. More than $4 billion has gone to that market in the past four years from Blackstone Group, Apollo Global Management and the Carlyle Group. Due to zoning restrictions and high land costs, there are just 6,250 mobile home parks in the U.S. Individual plots are rented to tenants who purchase their own homes. Lot owners only need to provide utilities, while residents are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of their homes. The average cost of moving such a home is $5,000, if the home has wheels. So when owners move, they often need to sell at a loss and are replaced by new owners-tenants without any big losses for the site’s owner. Result is a low-turnover rate and stable revenue. And, with the right underwriting, rents can increase 5% a year.
Chicago: Sears used to be in the housing business. By 1940, around 75,000 people ordered houses from Sears. For $5,140 customers could order a two-story, ten-room colonial classic home called “The Magnolia.” “At the above price, we will furnish all the material to build this ten-room house, including mill work, lumber, lath, shingles, porch ceiling, siding, flooring, finishing lumber, building paper, eaves trough, down spout, sash weights, hardware, nails, eaves, vases, colonnade, roofing, painting material, mantel, tile and grate. We guarantee enough of the above material to build this house. Price does not include cement, brick or plaster.”


October 11

DFW: New home sales rose 9.4% year-over-year in the third quarter, with sales of 9,542 area homes, the largest one-quarter area home sales total since 2007, according to Residential Strategies. Building starts in 2019 have totaled 34,272 units, down from almost 35,000 homes last year. Starts of houses priced from $500,000+ have dropped about 17% in the last year. Construction of houses priced from $250,000 to $350,000 is up from 2018. The decline in mortgage costs has dropped payments on a $350,000 new home by more than $250 a month.
DFW: Warehouse construction in the area totals nearly 35 million-square feet, according to data from Cushman and Wakefield. The volume of industrial building underway in DFW is more than all other commercial construction combined. Warehouse development is more than six times larger in square footage than office building and more than 10 times the retail space being built. To date, businesses have taken almost 18 million-square feet of warehouse and distribution space — more than a dozen downtown skyscrapers. Most of the activity is in North Fort Worth (12.1 million SF), around DFW International Airport (5.5 million SF) and in the Great Southwest Industrial District between Dallas and Fort Worth (4.2 million SF). Vacancy in the area is less than 7%.
DFW: Cortland recently bought 11 apartment properties and 3,985 apartment units in DFW, pushing their total to more than 60,000 nationwide, making it the largest apartment owner in the area. The firm says they can offer residents a Cortland property within a 20-minute commute to almost every major employer in DFW.
DFW: Construction has begun on Iron Horse Village, a 54-acre mixed-use project near Military Parkway and LBJ Freeway, adjoining the Mesquite Championship Rodeo Arena. Centurion American is renovating the arena and plans 336 single-family homes, 130,000-square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space, and 4.5 acres of open space in the Iron Horse development..
NYC: New taxes are dragging luxury sales ($2M+) to a four-year low. State residential transfer taxes increased to 0.4% for properties under $3 million and range to 0.65% over $3 million. City transfer taxes start at 1.% for properties less than $500,000 and go to 1.425% at $25 million. The mansion tax, which began in July, only applies to properties priced at $1M+. The tax ranges from 1% for properties from $1-$2 million to 3.9% for properties at $25 million or more.


October 04

DFW: Office leasing in 2019 is more than 2 million-square feet YTD, double last year’s figures. Office construction is up, with 5.4 million-square feet in the development pipeline. Ten new DFW office projects are underway, according to CBRE, and about 22% of the new buildings are leased. Average asking rents are $25.40 SF, up slightly over last year. Apartment leasing in DFW totaled 10,049 units in the third quarter, reports RealPage. Demand was 15% higher than last year. Average apartment rents rose to $1,173/mo, with rents rising at a 2.9% annual rate. Under construction are 43,738 units, the U.S. leader, with D.C. next with 32,000 units.

Austin: International home buying is down in Texas and in the U.S. Foreign home buyers bought $7.8 billion in Texas housing in the year that ended in March, reports the Texas Association of Realtors. International purchases were down 28%. Nationwide, foreign buyers were down 31%. Texas accounted for 10% of all homes purchased by foreign buyers. The report said international investors look to Texas for large-scale investments in subdivisions and master-planned communities. Largest number of offshore buyers in Texas were from Mexico (28%) and India (13%). Other countries included the U.K., China and Canada. Texas was the third-most popular destination for buyers of commercial properties to work with Realtors. And Dallas was the fifth-most popular market for foreign commercial buyers, who bought $2.9 billion in real estate last year.
D.C.: The U.S. Treasury Department has proposed new regulations, effective next year, to tighten scrutiny on foreign investments, including a wide range of real estate deals. Stronger authority will go to The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an interagency body led by the Treasury Department. Members will be from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, Commerce and State — to restrain business transactions in areas the government deems protected. Affected property is within one mile of more than 100 specific military installations, or within about 100 miles of 32 other military installations. Also covered is real estate within, or functions as part of airports and ports. Mainland Chinese investors spent $3.8 billion on real estate outside the country in the first half of 2019, down 66% from 2018, according to Real Capital Analytics. The Chinese government placed strict controls on Chinese nationals and companies moving money out of China in 2017 that stopped record-breaking years of deals in 2014 and 2015, especially in New York.
DFW: Residential construction in the DFW area is down 18% in 2019, in data from Dodge Data and Analytics, at $8.38 billion in the first eight months, compared to $10.2 billion in 2018. The data includes single-family and multi-family housing.
D.C.: Equity and debt is expected to flow into the multi-family sector, in reports from Bisnow. The forecast is for institutional investors allocating more to multi-family, banks competing for loans for apartment and condo projects, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a $200 billion budget for a 15-month period from the start of Q4 through 2020. Life insurance companies are allocating more to multi-family. Bisnow reports capital providers look to multi-family real estate as a more stable sector than other portions of the economy and are willing to accept lower returns.
DFW: The Silver Line, a DART 26-mile passenger rail project from DFW Airport to Plano has begun, with a projected opening in 2022. While the Silver Line ends at DFW airport, Trinity Metro’s TEXRail will continue into downtown Ft. Worth, providing 60 miles of transit from Ft. Worth to Plano. Included will be a new station in Richardson at UT Dallas near the university’s Northside mixed-use development. The line will pass through seven cities: Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano.


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: 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 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 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 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.