The board of Dallas County Schools met today in a special called meeting. Among the agenda items were strong hints Superintendent Rick Sorrells will no longer be with the agency.

The board of Dallas County Schools met today in a special called meeting. Among the agenda items were strong hints Superintendent Rick Sorrells will not be with the agency. (Photo courtesy Dallas County Schools)

Embattled school transportation provider Dallas County Schools may have been able to continue its relationship with Dallas Independent School District, but as early as this morning it seemed its superintendent could be the most recent casualty of a recent spate of very bad news.

DCS, which provides busing for Dallas, Carrollton/Farmers Branch, Highland Park, Irving, Aledo, Cedar Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Lancaster, Richardson, Weatherford and White Settlement school districts, called a special meeting today.

The agenda included two ominous items –  “Consider Appointing an Interim Superintendent” and “Consider Defining Requirements and Authorizing Search for a Permanent Superintendent.”

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Cottonwood Valley

Just 15 minutes from downtown Dallas, I’ve found an incredible contemporary home inside Cottonwood Valley, a gated, guarded luxury community in Las Colinas.

The house at 1901 Crockett Cir. is total eye candy, with interior design by Judy Cody. Think clean lines, high ceilings, lots of natural light, and a decidedly chic, modern look and feel. The open floorplan creates a wonderful sense of flow from one marvelous space to the next.

This is such a convenient location, near President George Bush Turnpike and Highway 114. I can be to DFW Airport in 15 minutes from here. Bonus: Cottonwood Valley shares property with the Four Seasons Resort and Club, which means resort amenities are just a golf cart ride away! The club offers some of DFW’s most scenic rolling terrain, and a world-renowned PGA golf course.

If you’re a minimalist at heart, you’ll adore the contemporary ambience in this home, which has two bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, and 2,900 square feet on one story, built in 1985. Everything is done picture perfect in this listing by Bill Brantley with Ebby Halliday Realtors. Let’s take a look!

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Ebby Halliday Grows and Expands | CandysDIrt.com

Ebby Halliday Realtors is growing and reinvesting in new offices and renovations. This photo was taken Oct. 26 at the groundbreaking of their new Allen office. All photos: Ebby Halliday Realtors

The unprecedented growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market is buoying one local brokerage, which in turn is reinvesting in offices and agents.

Ebby Halliday is one of the largest and most dynamic brokerages in North Texas with 31 offices, over 1,800 agents, and 12 percent of the market.

“We just had a fine fiscal year, closing Sept. 30, thanks to the very dynamic DFW economy,” said Ebby Halliday Chief Financial Officer Ron Burgert. “Volume-wise, it was just a shade better than the prior year and we closed in the area of 20,000 units.”

The overall sound financials of Ebby allow the company to undertake the construction and refurbishment of quite a few offices around North Texas, underscoring the company’s commitment to the region and signaling its plans to remain one of the top brokerages nationwide.

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Best real estate markets 2016

Nearly a decade after the housing crisis that sent the U.S. economy into freefall, housing is most certainly back—just look at our DFW market. Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, the New York Times recently reported that sales of new single-family homes nationwide were higher this past July than in nearly 10 years.

Nationwide, a company that tracks the health of U.S. real estate, reported at the end of quarter two that “the overall U.S. housing market is sustainable,” adding that “few regional housing markets are vulnerable to a housing downturn.”

In a new study, financial services site WalletHub compared 300 U.S. cities across 16 key metrics to help prospective home buyers find the most attractive real-estate markets. Their data set ranges from “median home-price appreciation” to “housing affordability” to “job growth.”

North Texas cities scored big: Frisco, McKinney, Richardson, Allen, and Plano made their top-ten list of best real estate markets nationwide in 2016. Denton, Carrollton, Fort Worth, Irving, Grand Prairie, and Dallas scored in the top 50.

So what made DFW cities score so high?

“North Texas cities have healthy and sustainable real estate markets,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Very few homes have negative equity, home appreciation in the past seven years has continued to increase, and foreclosure rates are extremely low. In addition to having a healthy real estate market, these cities are affordable with low maintenance costs and cost of living. Not to mention, the economic environment in North Texas is thriving, boasting some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (under 3 percent across the board).”

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La Casa del Viento (the Wind House), built in 2013 near Jalisco, Mexico, by Carlos Avila, with architect Ricardo Agraz, and plastic arts by Adrián Guerrero. All photos by Mito Covarrubias, except where noted.

Modern architecture in the North Texas area has lots of fans, but the range of houses offered can be limited. Often, they are custom-build or luxury only.

Cavso Homes is aiming to change that with their unique style of planning and building homes. They plan to offer eco-friendly, modern houses all over DFW, ranging from affordable to luxury.

“We plan keep doing single houses and townhouses, but in about two years, we are planning to build a complete complex,” said one of Cavso’s owners Carlos Avila. “We could talk about tons of statistics explaining why Dallas is the best place for Cavso Homes to start [in the U.S., but really], the Dallas Metroplex chose us!”

Cavso homes

Fabricio Solorio, Alberto Casillas, and Carlos Avila on site at a local Cavso home. Photo courtesy of Carlos Avila

The name Cavso Homes comes from the last names of its three owners, builder Alberto Casillas, project manager Carlos Avila, and business manager Fabricio Solorio. They are based out of Guadalajara, Mexico, and now call DFW home as they offer houses for sale (they have two completed houses in Irving and five future projects planned), custom homes, and their services as builders.

“The owners of Cavso Homes came together to create a different company with an integrated view of a home, and the goal of offering clients better living,” Casillas said. “We listen what clients have to say about their new house, analyze that, and take all of it into consideration for future designs. There is also a person who follows all the steps during the life of a project in order to understand a house like the unique project it is.”

Vivo Realty agent Kimberly Mitchell is working exclusively with Cavso Homes these days, and Vivo is doing all the marketing for the homes.

“Cavso Homes has a wonderful vision for bringing affordable modern homes to Dallas and not sacrificing quality and craftsmanship,” Mitchell said. “We think this is great because modern homes are generally thought of as a high-end product. We think this will be superb for Dallas!”

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employment growth

In Texas, it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.

A new report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University says that the Texas economy gained 276,400 nonagricultural jobs from June 2014 to June 2015, an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent, compared with 2.1 percent for the United States. Many of the major metropolitan areas in the state saw much bigger gains, like North Texas.

The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area ranked No. 2 in job creation in the state (Midland was No. 1), followed by Odessa, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Austin-Round Rock, and San Antonio-New Braunfels. Fort Worth-Arlington ranked No. 7, with 2.7 percent job growth.

“The North Texas economy is more dependent on the U.S. economy, so it’s not energy-based, compared to the Houston or Midland-Odessa economy, where energy has a bigger weight,” said Real Estate Center research economist Luis Torres. “Because the U.S. economy is growing and doing better, you’re seeing that reflected in the Dallas economy.”

In fact, every single Texas metro areas except Wichita Falls had more jobs in June 2015 than a year ago.

Big sectors for job growth were:

  1. Leisure and Hospitality: 5.05 percent growth
  2. Education and health services: 3.87 percent growth
  3. Professional and business services: 3.54 percent growth
  4. Transportation, warehousing and utilities: 3.52 percent growth
  5. Construction: 3.34 percent growth

“The correlation between the Dallas economy and the U.S. economy is very high, and the main reason is because Dallas is a transportation hub and all the goods and services that pass in the state use Dallas transportation systems,” said Real Estate Center research economist Ali Anari.

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Photo: Lisa Long

Photo: Lisa Long

Lisa Long is a single mother and pottery teacher in Richardson ISD who recently decided to sell her three-bedroom Irving house after five years and move closer to work.

Long found herself in a situation emblematic of the fast-and-furious pace of the North Texas real estate market: Her house was on the market for 52 hours and in that time, she got 14 offers, ultimately selling for almost $10,000 above list, plus closing costs.

Great news, right? But Long was thinking the sale would take longer, and give her more time to decide where she and her five-year-old son Luke want to live. Long loves Dallas, but looking at the drive to Richardson, maybe something closer would make more sense. Also, she’s looking at a max budget of $150,000, which somewhat restricts her choices. Finally, properties are selling so fast, she’s got to move quickly if she wants to buy.

“There’s not a lot out there—it’s such a sellers market,” she said. “My dream house would be something small, not more than 1,300 square feet, because I don’t want to have to clean a lot. I’d also like two to three bedrooms, and I need a place to do pottery, like a garage, or studio outside that I could get dirty.”

Also on her wishlist:

  • A yard or community space for Luke
  • Good neighborhood where Luke can play with other children
  • Nearby park

Schools aren’t an issue, since Luke will be able to attend RISD (an awesome perk for teachers there).

We went virtual house hunting with Long and looked at what’s available in her price range that fits her needs and wants. We found four properties that seem to fit the bill.

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6822 Oeste A

The Dallas Cowboys may be bidding farewell to Las Colinas, but homebuyers can’t get enough of this master-planned community in Irving. It’s a clean, attractive suburb with more than 190 acres of parks and greenbelts, 17 miles of canal waterways, and 10 miles of riverside hiking and biking trails.

More than 33,000 call Las Colinas home, and the average house price in the community is $566,417, according to Realtor.com. That makes today’s Tuesday Two Hundred a real find: the townhome at 6822 Oeste Dr. is newly listed by Leslie Knutson at RE/MAX Premier Group for $275,000. The price-per-square-foot of $155 is less than the Las Colinas average of $167 per square foot, and this townhome has hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops.

This Mediterranean-style property has stucco exterior walls, red roof tiles, and is part of the La Villita Townhomes. It has two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on two stories in 1,772 square feet built in 2007 and is walking distance to the Lago de Claire and the Gran Via canal, a meandering waterway near jogging trails.

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