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One of the great things about the reports published by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University is that you don’t have to be an economist to understand them. Luis Torres, Jim Gaines, and Mark Dotzour all do a fantastic job of breaking down the information into digestible bits. I was very impressed by Torres when I heard him speak at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Houston, and having previously worked with Gaines and Dotzour, I know that they are brilliant.

Of course, as the Real Estate Center publishes its annual outlook, we enjoyed taking a more in-depth gaze at inventory and what the numbers really mean. Months of inventory is a significant indicator for housing demand, and inventory can greatly influence pricing.

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Dallas Q3 Housing Report

During the course of the year, spring and summer tend to be the hottest seasons for home sales, with the pace of closings slowing as fall takes hold and school starts. That’s not what happened in Texas during the third quarter of 2014, says the Texas Association of Realtors Quarterly Housing Report, which was released just now. Additionally, inventory increased this quarter each month, continuing to fuel brisk sales in some areas.

In Dallas, though, sales are down year-over-year by 2.36 percent, while median home prices are up 8.73 percent and inventory is down precipitously from Q3 2013 by 10.71 percent. Logic says that, until inventory increases, home prices will continue to increase and sales will continue their slow, downward trend. Still, some areas are seeing increases (Midway Hollow, Lakewood, Lake Highlands, West Kessler) while some areas and price ranges remain sluggish. All real estate is local, y’all!

“The third quarter of the year is typically a much slower sales period – summer is over, school has started and families are staying put for the upcoming holiday season. That was not the case this year,” said TAR chairman Dan Hatfield. “Texas home sales continue to slightly exceed last year’s levels. If this trend continues, 2014 will surpass 2013 to become the second-best year ever for Texas real estate.”

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2142 Kessler Parkway Front

So, what can you get for a cool million in Dallas? The Motley Fool asked that question last week, and came up with 2142 Kessler Parkway, a luxurious North Oak Cliff house we previously featured as our Inwood Mortgage Home of the Week. When we featured this three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home last July, it was on the market for $967,000. Today it’s listed, as the Motley Fool column writes, at $998,000. The more recent listing with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Kate Mote, is 3 percent higher than the July 2013 listing price.

The house is spacious, comes with a pool, and is genuinely very, very nice. But with an asking price of $998,000, you don’t get quite the same bang for your buck as you would in other cities, like Miami or Phoenix.

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report_highlights_hpi_2014_05_may

I managed to pry myself away from the USA vs. Belgium World Cup match for long enough to tell you about the CoreLogic May 2014 HPI Report. Taking time out to write this was more difficult than scoring a goal on Tim Howard. But, this is news you can use, y’all, much like a stiff drink after the first extra time period.

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Home For Sale Sign Dallas

To put a cap on our National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference report, let’s talk about the future of the real estate market.

Just yesterday, reports from the U.S. Commerce Department came in showing a much weaker economy in the first quarter than initial reports claimed. And on Tuesday we saw reports of cooling home price growth in North Texas’ key metro areas. So, what does it all mean for our economy, both long term and short term, and how can real estate professionals prepare?

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10245-Strait-Lane-ext-575x383There is good news today for the Dallas luxury real estate market, and one reason why there has been a flurry of mega mansion home sales the last few weeks.

There are more rich people in Dallas. According to Longnecker & Associates, a Houston consulting firm asked to compile data for the Dallas Morning News, Dallas area top execs are getting fatter paychecks. This is because most CEOs and execs get moneyed-up from stock dividends. And stock prices for most of Dallas-Fort Worth companies soared last year, churning out hefty financial packages for our top execs. (more…)

I-345 MeetingDallas is a fascinating place to live right now. Downtown, urbanists are lobbying for the tear-down of a short but squirrely elevated highway they believe is choking urban living, creating a schism of disruption between neighborhoods and sucking up dirt that could be developed as housing units. Go north of the Park Cities to the junction of Preston Hollow and University Park, an entire neighborhood is battling MORE housing units: a proposed luxury, 220 unit apartment complex that would replace dilapidated, tired housing built in the 1950′s. “No” signs can be seen all the way north to Forest Lane, west to Midway Road. Homeowners with ranches valued from $300,000 to $3 million dollar plus estates are so worried about increased traffic, so protective of the peace of their neighborhood, they have hired a seasoned attorney to represent them before the Dallas Plan Commission. Even former mayor Laura Miller is piping in, demanding a new proxy City Councilman to replace the current proxy. East of Central Expressway, investors want to build a restaurant on park land at the northern end of White Rock Lake, just off Mockingbird Road. Though they are just “feeling out” the neighborhood before plowing ahead, most of the feedback has been pretty negative, especially in a neighborhood known for fiercely defending it’s urban lake. Two years ago this ‘hood battled a plan to mow a meadow called Winfrey Point and turn it into a commercial parking lot. Don’t mess with Lakewood. (more…)

Athena exteriorYou know all about the fracas Behind the Pink Wall, the “No” signs all over Preston Hollow. And you know that former Mayor Laura Miller (and former City Councilman Mitchell Rasanksy, both of whom live in Preston Hollow) have asked Jennifer Gates to get another proxy beside City Councilman Lee Kleinman because he isn’t “willing to listen enough” to homeowners who live up and down Northwest Highway who are concerned about increased traffic from this project, homeowners from as far away as Central and Midway Hollow. (more…)