Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Word comes that for the month of August, Dallas-area home prices posted a fantastic little bump at 7.3 percent year-over-year. Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index report shows enough of an increase in prices to warrant continued optimism among sellers in our burg, where a shortage of inventory and slow-to-catch-up new home builders has made the market for homes in most price ranges very competitive.

That’s one of the highest increases nationwide, and over the national average, too, which is 5.5 percent. According to the report, the median price of a pre-owned, single-family home in North Texas in August is up 7 percent from the same period last year.

But according to a recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, total sales are down 2 percent over a year ago. Of course, as sales volume decreases, it’s only natural for the competition over those homes on the market to heat up.

I guess, though, we’re in a fortuitous spot considering that our price increase puts us at 12 percent higher than pre-recession levels, and with inventory as short as it is and job growth still on pace for expansion, there’s no bubble in sight.

What’s your outlook on home prices and inventory?

Lawrence Yun

Lawrence Yun is the  Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of Realtors, and he is a honey. He was in Dallas Friday for Realtor University, which offers a master’s level degree to qualified Real Estate agents, kind of like an industry PhD program. Realtor University is committed to giving agent members life-long learning opportunities in their field. It’s the only institution of higher education focused exclusively on real estate, and it was founded in 2002. Speaking at lunch, Dr. Yun was as bright as the weekend weather forecast on his prognosis for Dallas and Texas.

Rest of the country, not so much. Rest of the world, ugh. (more…)

Village Bend East Apartments

Let’s face it: the only news we care about today is the sickening news coming out of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, a Texas Healthcare Resource Hospital, that a second nurse who treated Ebola patient Thomas Duncan has now tested positive for the disease. I have been glued to Facebook this morning (where I am limited to 5,000 friends, but you can still follow me) because I thought, well, this is a health issue, not real estate.

Then I heard from an agent or two that showings were slowing down. I hate to say it — hate to — but the whole world is now looking at Dallas as the place where we messed up with an Ebola patient. We have become Ebola Central. (more…)

I have to agree with The Dallas Morning News editorial board on this one: More residential development in West Dallas benefits everyone. How they arrived at the conclusion is another matter.

Take this paragraph for example:

While this might sound like a chicken-or-egg question — which comes first, housing or residents? — the answer is clear: It’s housing, especially single-family homes, that is key to a neighborhood’s rebirth. Fresh signs of that rebirth are showing up in West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.

Is it really all that clear?

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Will Alex Krieger's vision of a narrow, four-lane parkway next to the Trinity River win over a massive toll road?

Will Alex Krieger’s vision of a narrow, four-lane parkway next to the Trinity River win over a massive toll road?

Last week, the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects took a couple of days to really home in on the challenges that Dallas must overcome to be a sustainable and attractive city in the long term. A city that can compete with other areas that offer more holistic transportation solutions in an urban environment. Those lofty goals were all addressed at the organization’s Mobility Summit.

Long a car-centric city, the next generation of Dallas residents are upending the long-held belief that commuting is a forgone conclusion, measuring distance in hours door-to-door. Instead, more and more thinkers are looking critically at Dallas and our eight-lane highways, our toll roads, and our elevated high-speed thoroughfares.

As usual, Robert Wilonsky (who, I swear writes 99 percent of the copy on the Dallasnews.com site) did a fabulous job breaking down the big issues and discussions at the event, and the breakthroughs brought on by gathering so many people passionate about Dallas’ design future. The most impact was felt by Harvard professor and urban planner Alex Krieger, a co-author of Dallas’ Balanced Vision Plan, when he backed off his support of a road within the levees of the Trinity River.

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Home For Sale Sign Dallas

The recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University shows a 2 percent dip in sales at the close of August from a year ago. That’s keeping with this year’s trends of higher prices and lower sales volume, as five of the last 8 months of 2014 have posted lower sales from the previous year.

“The agents tell me they could sell many more houses if they just had the inventory,” Real Estate Center economist Dr. James Gaines told Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News. According to Brown’s August figures, the median home sales price in North Texas is up 8 percent from a year ago, with prices up 7 percent over the first 8 months of last year. Of course, with higher prices, that means fewer homebuyers overall who are able to afford a mortgage.

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Jenni Stolarski has flipped some amazing properties in North Oak Cliff.

Jenni Stolarski has flipped some amazing properties in North Oak Cliff, including this one at 806 N. Windomere.

We were intrigued by a story from Bloomberg News citing RealtyTrac figures reportedly showing a nationwide decrease in flipping:

Home flipping, in which a buyer resells a property quickly for a profit, is on the decline as U.S. residential price gains slow and foreclosures dwindle.
Almost 31,000 single-family houses were flipped in the second quarter, representing 4.6 percent of U.S. home sales, RealtyTrac said in a report today. That’s down from 6.2 percent a year earlier and the smallest share since the first three months of 2012, when prices bottomed after the crash, according to the Irvine, California-based data company, which defines a flip as a property sold within 12 months of purchase.

Of course, I had to consult the two best “flippers” I know to see what the local perspective is on flipping. First I got in touch with Jenni Stolarski of Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s. Stolarski does high-end flips in Oak Cliff, producing some of the most gorgeous homes I’ve ever seen. One of the most recent ones was an amazing Tudor transformation that was awash in marble and chrome. Total jaw-dropper.

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