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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Home For Sale yard Sign

After living at 7303 Coronado Avenue for 16 years, Karen Nealy decided to try and test the waters to see if she was ready to sell her home in Lakewood Hills. She’s been looking to move closer to the lake, perhaps Rockwall, with plenty of room to roam around.

“We almost bought a house yesterday that we really liked,” Nealy said a week or so ago. That’s what prompted her to “test the waters” and put her three-bedroom, two-bath home on the Lakewood Online Yard Sale Facebook page without the help of a Realtor. Since then she’s put it up as For Sale By Owner on Zillow, advertising the 1,504-square-foot traditional for $299,900.

“We know Realtors can get it out there to more people,” Nealy said, but she is doing a more improvisational trial and error approach to selling her home, which she calls a “fixer-upper.” She thinks it’s a fantastic property to add on to, perhaps for a family that wants to be inside the Lakewood Elementary School attendance zone.

Do-it-yourself listings on social media is a growing trend, but will it end up costing sellers in the long run?

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Lakewood Elementary is a sought-after attendance area within Dallas ISD.

Lakewood Elementary is a sought-after attendance area within Dallas ISD.

A recent column by Heather Wilhelm highlights a huge issue in America: In order to get into a good public school, you often have to spend more on a home. Heck, brokerages have developed search tools to help you focus on the school attendance areas you want, weeding out perfectly good homes that have imperfect schools.

Wilhelm, a political columnist in Austin, dissects the intersection between public education and real estate in her recent Dallas Morning News Op-Ed, “Public Schools — The Craziest Government Program of Them All.” For the most prescient example, look at HPISD and the Lakewood Elementary attendance area.

Read on for more.

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: As DART light-rail arrives at D/FW International Airport on August 18, Ebby Halliday Realtors announces Rail Station Proximity Home Search on ebby.com. (Photo: DART)

As DART light-rail arrives at D/FW International Airport on August 18, Ebby Halliday Realtors announces Rail Station Proximity Home Search on ebby.com. (Photo: DART)

Commuting time is a huge factor for many homebuyers, and mass transit is making strides for people who commute without cars. If you’ve had a hard time deciding on a home due to limited information about trains and buses, your home search just got easier.

The timing is perfect, too, as DART rail reaches from the suburbs to downtown and now to D/FW International Airport so now does Ebby.com deliver a new search feature that can show you great homes for sale that are close to light rail. It’s a popular feature in cities such as Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

“Whether it’s frequent trips to the airport, commuting to your job at the Medical Center, shopping at Mockingbird Station, or enjoying the occasional concert at the American Airlines Center in Victory Park, with ebby.com’s new Rail Station Proximity Home Search you’ll be the first to know about homes for sale – and for lease – near the rail station of your choice,” says Randall Graham, vice president and director of marketing for Ebby Halliday Realtors.

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Home For Sale Sign Dallas

With Texas and Dallas clocking in a small uptick in inventory, everyone’s wondering if we the market is poised to stabilize soon and if our time of scarcity and rising prices is over.

According to the latest report from CoreLogic, not so much.

“Home prices are continuing to rise fueled by ongoing tight supply, low rates, and aggressive investor buying on the East and West Coast,” said President and CEO of CoreLogic Anand Nallathambi. “The expected surge in the number of homes for sale has not materialized to date as many homeowners are staying put and waiting for better economic times and higher prices in the future.”

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Inventory Chart TAR q1 2014

Slow growing inventory is choking sales growth and driving prices up in the Dallas real estate market, with only 2.4 months of inventory in the Dallas market — an increase of 0.2 months from last quarter — according to the latest quarterly report from the Texas Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

As a result the median home price in Dallas is up 9.81 percent from the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 6.81 percent from the same time a year ago and the second consecutive quarter our city has seen an increase in home prices. Statewide, inventory grew for the first time in three years, up to 3.6 in the second quarter of 2014 from an all-time low of 3.4 months in the first quarter of this year. Still, inventory is tighter than a pair of skinny jeans after Thanksgiving and continues to pose problems for our market.

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