The Dallas Midtown development from Beck Ventures will surround a large public park where Valley View Mall now sits. (Rendering: OMNIPLAN, Beck Ventures)

We’ve been closely following the progress of the Dallas Midtown District after Scott Beck first announced his dream of transforming the neglected Valley View Mall area into a thriving mixed-use development. That was 2013, y’all.

Of course, we’re thrilled to hear that Dallas Midtown will feature a huge park as the keystone of the development. To that end, Beck, along with Bruce Bradford and Lois Finkelman, founded the nonprofit Dallas Midtown Park Foundation.

“Since its inception we have worked with neighboring property owners, civic leaders and philanthropist to begin shaping a vision for a Dallas Midtown City park,” Beck said. “Earlier this year, the Foundation, in partnership with the Dallas City Parks Department, selected MIG, Inc. as the Foundations lead architectural consultant.”

MIG, Inc. CEO Daniel Iacofano, Ph. D., will present his vision plan to the Dallas Park Board tomorrow, Sept. 15, at 9 a.m. inside Dallas City Hall. A town hall meeting is scheduled later in the day at the Westin Galleria Ballroom, from 7 to 9 p.m. Iacofano will present his vision plan and offer the opportunity for feedback from the community at large. If you have an idea or want to see the plan in detail, this meeting is open to any and everyone.


What do you want to see inside the park planned for the Dallas Midtown District?

We are still cooking when it comes to rising property values, though the heat is no longer set to boil: Dallas’ March home price increase was only 1.4%, the lowest annual increase in nine months, and below February’s. But Dow Jones’ Case-Shiller March report says oil pries be damned, Texas is still killing it as real estate becomes a more scarce commodity:

“The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates,” S&P’s David Blitzer said in the report. “Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market.

“The number of homes currently on the market is less than 2 percent of the number of households in the U.S., the lowest percentage seen since the mid-1980s.”

Here is what I am loving: while nationwide home prices are still 10% below what they were in 2006, when the market was just nuts, Dallas-area home prices are now more than 25 percent higher than they were before the recession.

We can thank the more than 80,000 people a year moving here for making our homes short in supply, our days on market about 3 months or less (less in Plano-Frisco) except, of course, when you are talking the eight digit properties.

Price movements, said the report, vary across the country. “The Pacific Northwest and the west continue to be the strongest regions. Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Denver had the largest year-over-year price increases. These cities also saw some of the largest declines in unemployment rates among the 20 cities included in the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices. The northeast and upper mid-west regions were at the other end of the ranking. The four cities with the smallest year-over-year prices gains were Washington DC, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland. The unemployment rates in Chicago and Cleveland rose from March 2015 to March 2016.” (more…)


The first phase of the Fiji Townhomes development is almost sold out. The affordable prices and functional floorplans are attracting a lot of interest.

The first phase of the Fiji Townhomes at Compton and Fran Way won’t be finished until July and it’s almost sold out, says Virginia Cook Realtor Angela Downes, who is marketing the property. The brand new development by Sphinx is set just west of Corinth and south of Cedar Creek in an area ripe with opportunity.

Of course, Dallas is experiencing a real pinch in entry-level homes right now. With median home prices in our region topping $300,000, Candy has declared the $200,000 range all but unattainable, relegating an entire generation of would-be homebuyers to keep forking over their meager salaries to their landlord.

But is it?


If the thought of summer electricity bills has you fretting, read these six tips on cutting costs on home operations.

If the thought of summer electricity bills has you fretting, read these six tips on cutting costs on home operations.

As we get closer to the sweltering Texas summer, many homeowners begin to worry about the costs — all that lawn watering and home cooling doesn’t come free, you know!

Fortunately, summer doesn’t have to mean sky-high bills that match the Texas temperatures. In fact, with a little forethought and some good old hard work, you can actually lower your monthly home costs significantly before the hot season hits.

Want to cut your monthly home costs this summer? Here are a few ways to do it:


5800 Palo Pinto guest house

District 14’s Philip Kingston is proposing a change to city ordinances that will allow the construction and rental of guest houses like this one at 5800 Palo Pinto, as well as garage apartments. Some M Streets residents object.

Head over to Stonewall Jackson Elementary tonight at 6:30 tonight as Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston will be hosting an informational session regarding the recent proposal to allow homeowners to build and rent garage apartments and guest houses inside the district.

Right now, city code precludes the construction of a full-sized kitchen in an “accessory dwelling.” To add one constitutes a duplex — two separate residences on one lot — which is another zoning category entirely. Of course, we have heard that what constitutes a “full-sized kitchen” varies significantly depending on who you talk to at Dallas City Hall. But as more people choose to tear down homes in the M Streets and build new, the lure of rental income compels many property owners to go ahead and put an apartment on top of that detached garage while they’re at it.

Proponents of urbanization and say that in order to generate the density that will create the kind of critical mass for truly walkable neighborhoods, garage apartments and their more innocuous relative the “granny flat” will become a necessity. Plus, with property values soaring and tax assessments climbing in step, more people are being priced out of the M Streets. Building and renting a back house is a great way to generate income, helping people afford their homes and providing affordable rentals, all in one step.

Sounds simple, right?


Barbara Corcoran

There are a lot of great stories in the real estate industry, but none are quite as compelling as “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran‘s. The New York real estate mogul came from humble beginnings, building up her empire with just a $1,000 loan and an incredible amount of hustle.

And we could not be more thrilled about seeing Corcoran at the Champions School of Real Estate Keynote 2016. The May 10 event will host an inspiring address from Corcoran at the Plano Centre, gathering more than 1,200 real estate professionals and influencers all in one space.

After Corcoran’s presentation, Champions School of Real Estate CEO and founder Rita Santamaria will host a lively Q&A with this titan of our industry. It’s truly a can’t miss event!


“We are thrilled to present Barbara Corcoran as our featured speaker for this year’s keynote event,” said Kimberly Dydalewicz, president of Champions School of Real Estate. “As part of our commitment to providing the real estate community with educational opportunities of the highest caliber, we know that bringing Barbara Corcoran to share her personal and professional journey from ‘Rags to Riches,’ will educate, inspire resonate with our Dallas-Fort Worth real estate communities.”

Tickets are available at a rate of $65 per person or $480 for a group of 8. To register or learn more about Champions School of Real Estate’s Keynote 2016 visit


New analysis by Trulia confirms what we’ve been seeing all over Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Entry-level or starter homes priced in the median range, which usually falls below $200,000, are scarce. In fact, if you want to find a new home in the $200,000 range, it’s getting mighty difficult to impossible.

To measure the dearth of dedicated inventory for first-time homebuyers in the starter market, Trulia has launched the “Trulia Inventory and Price Watch,” which measures housing affordability along three market points: starter homes, trade-up homes, and premium homes.


This four bedroom, 3 bath home at 4069 Park Lane in Midway Hollow was completely remodeled by builder Nathan Draper. Photo: Bethany Erickson

This four-bedroom, three-bath home at 4069 Park Lane in Midway Hollow was completely remodeled by builder Nathan Draper. Photo: Bethany Erickson

So, Midway Hollow, eh?

Mature trees? Check. Affordable homes in several price ranges? Check. Good schools? Check. Healthy, involved crime watch dedicated to reducing both nuisance and violent offenses in the neighborhood? Check. Close to good shopping? Check. Near a good airport but not in the flight path? Check. Plenty of diamonds-in-the-rough to diamonds-in-the-not-so-rough to make your own? Check, check.

Which is exactly why Nathan and Ann Jane Draper of Draper Construction chose the neighborhood. They’re on their second family home here, but a drive through the neighborhood (which is bordered by Walnut Hill Lane, Midway Road, Northwest Highway and Marsh Lane) reveals many homes the Drapers have built or remodeled.

“I comb the neighborhood looking for projects,” Nathan Draper said, standing in the kitchen of one of their most recent at 4069 Park Lane. “We like staying in this neighborhood. Prices are going up, we like the feel of the homes and the neighborhood.”

Draper is also in the middle of a remodel down to the studs with a second-floor addition on nearby Saranac Drive that will sell for the mid $700s. The home on Park Lane is listed at $549,250, and has four bedrooms and three baths. (more…)