08/20/19 2:30pm
Dallas

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

By Phil Crone
Executive Officer, Dallas Builders Association

Dallas and surrounding areas have obviously experienced remarkable growth over the last few years, especially with commercial construction and multifamily. Residential development struggles to keep pace with builders primarily focusing on infill lots and small-scale, shared access projects. Dallas permitted just over 2,000 homes last year and is on track for a similar figure in 2019.  

Dallas is also not exempt from the impact of rising housing costs. It is well documented that the city needs 20,000 affordable housing units. In the single-family context, new affordable housing needs to be priced around $250,000 to $350,000. Getting there is especially difficult in Dallas, with land prices and, in some cases, neighborhood opposition to new affordable homes. 

While some factors are out of our control, we need to take ownership of what we can. The stakes are too high not to. Homeownership remains the number one path to wealth creation for the American family, and the attainability of that dream here in D/FW remains a primary impetus to job creation. However, for too many people, homeownership is becoming less attainable, the drive to work is getting longer, and the options for safe, quality homes at a reasonable price are getting fewer. 

A major barrier to affordable housing in Dallas is the city itself. Development processes are not operating as efficiently and effectively as they should. Attempts to build attainable housing suffer disproportionately from these unforced errors. 

This is not a new issue. Builders, developers, and small business owners have bemoaned Dallas’s lack of transparency and predictability for years, yet Dallas has succeeded in spite of itself. 

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08/20/19 9:55am

American Craftsman

Breanna and Matt King didn’t realize they were urban pioneers. They just know what they want, and they go for it. So 10 years ago, when they saw this classic American Craftsman in Arlington Heights at 1841 Hillcrest Street, they took a leap of faith. They knew this was a diamond in the rough.

Rough may be putting it mildly. The exterior was all painted the same muddy white, so none of the craftsman detail showed up. The previous owners were smokers, which brought a whole raft of problems. Popcorn ceilings and fabric walls completed the picture.

“My dad begged us not to buy this house,” Breanna said. “But we had a vision!”American Craftsman

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08/20/19 9:45am

Just outside of Fort Worth there’s a bedroom community called Benbrook and real estate agent Robin Barrow told us all about it.

But before we dive in, let’s knock out that, “Huh? Whaaa?” A bedroom community is a commuter community where the majority of the residents work in surrounding cities.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get back to Benbrook.

It’s a charming city where you still pay your electric bill at the county courthouse and according to Barrow, “there aren’t a ton of commercial buildings” which also means that small-town feel is in full effect.

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08/20/19 9:30am

Lower rates are coming to a title company near you! That’s big news in the real estate title business. Title insurance, like the housing market, doesn’t follow the laws of gravity. What goes up doesn’t always come down.

“This is a historic time for Texas title insurance,” Paul McNutt Vice President and General Counsel of Title Resources told a group of escrow officers last week. “Rates are going down effective for all policies after September 1. Overall, the rates are decreasing 4.9 percent.”

As a state-regulated industry, all title companies in Texas must charge the same for real estate title insurance. Every few years, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reviews statistical data from title insurance agents and underwriters to see if a rate increase or decrease is warranted.

This rate reduction is due to several factors including the rise in real estate values, profits made over the last 5 to 10 years and increased efficiency. “It is in the best interest for every consumer to be charged reasonable rates,” McNutt explained. “This is a regulated environment with periodic review. The profits were good and therefore the rates should be decreased. This is in keeping with the regulatory terms.”

That explanation may help reduce the sting of what amounts to a pay cut to title agents.

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08/20/19 9:15am

home vacancies

It’s happening.  The real estate market in Tarrant County is officially slowing down.  This past week, the Fort Worth Housing Report indicated that the number of closed homes in July 2019 was down nearly 4 percent from July 2018.

Inventory of homes in Tarrant County has increased, and total days on market, from listing-to-close, jumped six days from 2018 to 2019.  Prices have barely increased in the past 12 months, and this could be why we are starting to see issues with appraisals.

What’s The Home Worth?

Regardless of we want to believe, we don’t live in a free-market society.  If a home is listed at $X and a buyer is willing to pay $X (or in recent years more than $X) the true value of the home is only going to be what the bank is willing to lend, and that all starts with the biggest enigma of all: the appraisal.

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08/20/19 9:00am

Photo courtesy Flickr/Woodleywonderworks

From staff reports

How much do you need to make per year to afford a home in Dallas? According to one report, less than $60,000.

But is that true? According to CNBC Make It, they’ve identified 15 cities where the qualifying income to purchase a home with 10 percent or 20 percent down is an annual salary of $60,000 or less. 

They’ve based this determination on data from the National Association of Realtors’ Metropolitan Median Area Prices and Affordability index. It also assumes a 4.1 percent interest rate, and a monthly principal and interest payment that is 25 percent of a homebuyer’s income, or less.

According to CNBC’s number crunchers, Dallas made the list. And it’s not too surprising, after all, another study from Zillow found that someone with a high school diploma and no college hours at all could afford (in theory) to buy a home in Dallas.  (more…)

08/19/19 9:55am

luxury mansion

If you want luxury new construction, it’s simple — you move to Dallas. This luxury mansion is precisely what you imagine. Big, bold, and beautiful. It’s a dream home.

You can’t find what Dallas offers in luxury construction anywhere in the world. Our Monday Morning Millionaire is a case in point. Where can you walk into 15,530 square feet, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and five powder baths on over an acre with enough room to easily park 25 cars? Preston Hollow.

luxury mansion

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08/19/19 9:45am

Why not Woodbridge? Our latest Splurge vs. Steal puts the spotlight on two of the area’s best, tucked away in the relatively quiet and peaceful Lake Highlands neighborhood you never knew you needed. For those who don’t know, Woodbridge sits near the border of Richardson and is roughly defined by Audelia Road to the west, Forest Lane to the south, Shadow Way to the north, and railroad tracks to the east.

Jake’s Hamburgers and Casa Linda Bakery are local favorites. And on any given day you’ll find patrons having a grand ol’ time at The String Bean Restaurant or sipping a cold one over at Spring Creek Barbecue. There’s even an Alamo Drafthouse for date night and Sprouts Farmers Market for fresh produce nearby. But what really makes Woodbridge stand out is the price. Homes here are lovingly maintained and set back on larger lots. Most kids go to Richardson ISD schools, and you’ll find families and couples enjoying long walks with their dogs and strollers amidst lush greenbelts and parks.

With so much to love and so few homes currently on the market in Woodbridge, we couldn’t resist sharing two of its prized offerings. Both homes are ideally located and tastefully updated but with price points that are miles apart. Which would you choose, the Jackson Creek Splurge or the Oak Highland Steal? We would love to hear in the comments.

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