zipcode-01

So we know what the experts say —  expect 2017 to be a more “normal” real estate market in North Texas and across the nation, with continued softness at the luxury level. Recall it was just in September that Starlight Capital chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht said you couldn’t give away homes in the rich community of Greenwich, Ct — what he calls the “worst real estate market in the United States”:

“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” Sternlicht said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York.

The town — about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of midtown Manhattan and home to some of the country’s largest hedge funds — is seeing a pile-up of houses on the market and prices that are faltering as properties linger. Home sales in the second quarter fell 18 percent from a year earlier to 169 deals, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

At the same time, new listings surged 27 percent. The absorption period, or the time it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace, was 12 months, compared with 7.7 months a year earlier, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said.

Greenwich is hurting because the luxury home market is soft. But it’s a totally different story at the other end of the spectrum, the market for affordable homes. North Texas is still so chock full of affordable housing, the folks at Realtor.com crowned us the most searched zip code of the year.

So, as it turns out, deep in the heart of Texas lies serious love for this humble site on behalf of hungry home searchers. The 10 most popular ZIPs of 2016 all hail from the state, and 18 of the top 20 ZIPs are from the biggest state in the lower 48.

I’m even quoted! But hey, we owe a whole lot to these two for boosting North Texas real estate in 2016:

Chip-and-Joanna-Gaines-Realtor-Shot

Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”Photo courtesy of Chip and Joanna Gaines

(more…)

5332 Miller Front

For the most part, I’m not a “big house” person. Small, compact, well-planned homes are more my jam. Still, part of me loves the idea of versatile, wide-open floor plans with plenty of room to spread out. Often times, though, homes that start to cross into the realm of 4,000 square feet feel sterile in all of their open space. However, in the case of this listing from Dallas City Center Realtors David and Sharon Cox at 5332 Miller Ave. in Vickery Place, the spaces are expansive, yet still warm and inviting. And with four bedrooms, four full and one half baths, and 4,189 square feet replete with oodles of storage, you’ll find tons of opportunities to stow clutter and fill these rooms with laughter, not junk. The Cox team has this home on the market for $827,000.

Jump to see inside this lovely country traditional in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Dallas.

5332 Miller Front Porch

(more…)

Kim Armstrong

Interior designer Kim Armstrong hired Nathan Grace Realtor Laura Crowl for her home search. Ten years later, the two are still working together, but in a different way.

Friends of friends can be the best connectors.

Laura_Crowl2Cropped[4094]

Laura Crowl

So it was with interior designer Kim Armstrong and Realtor Laura Crowl. They first met about 10 years ago when Kim and her husband were searching for their first home in the Dallas area. Laura was recommended to Kim by one of her mentors, who said she had a friend just starting out in real estate.

Based on the personal connection, Kim gave Laura a shot. They’ve been friends and business associates ever since. “Laura found our first house. We’d been looking for 6 months with a different real estate agent. That went nowhere,” recalls Kim. With Laura, “we put a bid on the first house she showed us within a week of seeing it.”

Since then, Laura has found investment properties as well as a bigger home for Kim and her family. Of Laura, Kim says, “She’s a fighter for her clients. And a workaholic. I learned early on that she will go way beyond staging to help a client sell a property or find the right one.”

(more…)

4920 Mangold Circle ext

Talk about taking a test drive in a home, I cannot think of a more beautiful setting for sweating than 4920 Mangold Circle. The home is empty, which actually gives you a chance to appreciate the clean, but definitive, architecture. So for once, we will not complain about no furnishings. Shh!

I told you about the location off Strait Lane, north of Royal, the “quieter” part of Strait Lane. But go inside to see how architect William Briggs blended Leuders Limestone on the interiors. Bringing natural stone into the home is one of the hottest new trends I have seen (huge on the West Coast) and no one seems to be talking about it yet. Of course, builders have always brought brick and stone into the home, but the smooth-as-a-baby’s butt Leuders on foyer and study walls just melts my heart.

And if you want to totally crumble, take a look at that vessel bath tub and the stone wall behind it in the master bath. Holy moly, buy me this house (this TUB!) and you can have ANYTHING!

4920 Mangold Circle MSTRBT2 TUB

(more…)

Evelyn-112

Scotty, Carrie, and Evelyn Reese (Photo: Julia Lauren Photography)

Scotty and Carrie Reese craved a Cliff May home, and they knew that Casa View claimed at least 39 of the midcentury modern architect’s California cool designs. Mindy Niehaus, their Realtor, wasn’t as familiar, but she was willing learn for the Reeses, a pair of creatives who had their hearts set on owning a Cliff May of their own.

“I told Scotty and Carrie that these homes don’t come on the market often. In fact, the average was about one listing a year!” said Niehaus, an agent with Nathan Grace Real Estate. “So they snatched up the second one we looked at, passing over the first one that had been added onto and remodeled so many times that it was no longer recognizable as a Cliff May home.”

Now a year later, Niehaus is full-on obsessed with Cliff May and Casa View, amazed that few people even knew that such a treasure trove of his designs were clustered in the sleepy transitioning neighborhood. “I asked Carrie what she thought of doing a home tour. She took my question to heart and asked the neighbors if they would be interested.”

(more…)

Candy: We have a lovely home to sell in a hot area — Park Cities — “blue chip” as you call it, but is now a good time to sell or shall we wait until after the election?”

If that isn’t the million dollar question, and the reason why we may be seeing a slight pulling back in the market. Financial markets hate uncertainty. Real estate investors like to buy when they are “going up the stairs”, not down. So I decided to run this because I think a lot of people out there are wondering the very same thing: if you want to sell by year’s end, should you do it NOW or AFTER the election?

My take: Try NOW. Who knows what will happen after November 1. This is, without doubt, the wackiest election in our nation’s history. While we are all amazed that Donald Trump has made it thus far — I have to give top Dallas political consultant Carol Reed credit, she called it last fall! — the best entertainment is waking up each day to see what the bejesus he has said now. Odds are Hillary Clinton will win the election, and so maybe we can look to the policies of her husband’s administration to see what happened. There are those who claim the Housing Crisis of 2008 took root during the Clinton years:

Simply put, the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by a lot of banks making a lot of loans to a lot of people who either could not or would not pay the money back. But this explanation raises two key questions. Why did private lenders, whose job it was to assess credit risk, make those loans? And why did the army of financial regulators, with massive enforcement powers, allow 28 million high-risk loans to be made?

There’s a strong case that the answers can be traced to Sept. 12, 1992. On that day presidential candidate Bill Clinton proposed, in his campaign book “Putting People First,” using private pension funds to “invest” in government priorities, such as affordable housing, to “generate long-term, broad based economic benefits.” Seldom has such a radical proposal been so ignored during a campaign only to later lead to such devastating consequences.

This was penned by former Republican Senator Phil Gramm and Mike Solon, a Republican economic advisor, so who knows.

Ye gads, had we used pension funds to back mortgages…

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros assured participants that “pension investments in affordable housing are as safe as pension investments in stocks and bonds. Six pension funds ultimately agreed to invest in public housing that was backed by $100 million in federal grants and guarantees, but the program never took off. In the end, even unions and their pension funds rejected the effort to direct any part of their retirement savings toward someone else’s welfare.”

I don’t know, our market is very strong in the under $500K realm. A little softer $2m and above, but well priced homes are selling. Of course they could tinker with it all in the name of creating government-backed affordable-housing goals. Again. As the authors said, “conflicted laws created conflicted regulations and conflicted regulators. Safety and soundness considerations required that regulators step on the brake. Affordable-housing goals required them to step on the gas. Government policy tried to make private wealth serve both government and private purposes. But wealth cannot serve two masters, and in the end the government was the dominant master.”

But that would take at least three years for repercussions from any policies started in 2017.

I say, get it listed now, make it as pretty as possible, and get it sold. What do you say?

ARC Logo 2

Previously, I wrote about the winners of the Dallas Builders Association’s annual ARC awards in the kitchen categories.  Now that we’ve had a little nosh, let’s see the winners in the rest of the house. Missed part 1?  Click here!

While there were nine categories dedicated to kitchens, bathrooms didn’t fare so generously with just four categories.  But no fear, that leaves us some space to highlight other winners!

Award Winning $35,000 - $50,000 Bathroom from Kasper Custom Remodeling

Award-winning $35,000 – $50,000 Bathroom from Kasper Custom Remodeling

(more…)

Photo: Dallas Builders Association

Photo: Dallas Builders Association

Classic Urban Homes is having an incredible year!  They are finalists in the 2016 ARC Awards in seven categories, including Custom Builder of the Year, and this past weekend they were able to hand over the keys of a new mortgage-free home to a wounded U.S. Army veteran and his family. How are they able to do so much and give back at the same time? A very dedicated staff that believes in teamwork.

Jane and Michael Turner started Classic Urban Homes in 2005 to offer “Building for the way people really live.” Not only do they use this philosophy with every custom and speculative home they build, it was also their mission statement when designing and building this home for the Sackett family. (more…)