Things are called “porn” because they’re largely unattainable, much like the lovelies featured in the original genre. House porn shows abodes to drool over that few can afford — whether it’s my fantasy 8,000 square foot Chicago penthouse or your Highland Park spread. At some point you give up on the unattainable and marry your gap-toothed sweetheart because … well … that’s reality (and, you know, the love and all).
My question to Dallas developers is, “Where are the lovable high-rises the middle-class can afford?”
We’re halfway through the 2010s and new Dallas high-rises are all for the wealthy. In fact, there doesn’t seem to have been a middle-class, starter high-rise built since 2007’s The Beat in the Cedars. Its location, kitty-corner from the police station headquarters and down the street from a parole office, was hardly enviable when it was built (although better and trendier now). I recall touring the property back in the day and the proximity to the police station was touted as a positive for safety.
Even the slapped-up, unimaginative REIT-owned apartments aren’t cheap and are often built on the cheapest, least attractive plots around.
Let’s take a condo inventory since 2000:
Wealthy: W Residences North/South (2004), The House (2007) – although Victory Park hasn’t lived up to the promise.
Very Wealthy: Vendome (2002), One Arts Plaza (2005), Azure (2007), Ritz Carlton Residences I/II, Plaza at Turtle Creek I/II (2000)
Cartoonishly Wealthy: Museum Tower (2011), Stoneleigh Tower (2012), Bleu Ciel (2015), and Limited Edition (2016)
… and then
- Palomar/Highland (2005) next to the highway.
- The Metropolitan, and 1505 Elm are converted office buildings with small and/or oddly shaped units. Less easy to resell (especially 1505 Elm).
- The Beat Lofts (2007) with its aforementioned police station and parole office
Stocked with less-year’s Chanel and Louboutin, consignment shops are where the middle-class gets its glam. In real estate, this equates to picking up last-season’s high-rise because nothing is being built new for them (and me).
A recent Candy’s Dirt posting kicked off a comment-versation about this lack of middle-income high-rise options. My comment listed the potential in one older Turtle Creek building:
“There are relative bargains for those who don’t mind some work in older buildings. For example, there are four units (ED – now three) for sale at 3701 Turtle Creek that range from $211-259 per square foot and range from 1,141 to 2,120 square feet. HOAs are ~76¢ per square foot and include all utilities. Assuming 20% down and full-list price, with (unavoidable) property taxes, that’s $2,936.75 per month with a 15 year mortgage — $2,442.75 with a 30-year. The cheapest unit has a renovated kitchen and baths with mostly hardwoods — even bedroom carpet looks good. All I’d do is paint and remove the walls of mirrors.”
And for now, that’s where we are. Sadly with no middle-income high-rise condos in the near future that I’m aware of, the middle-income buyer needs to pick up a paint brush and scrape some popcorn. In some cases these (often larger) fixer-upper units can be had for the same money as some apartments. Buyers wanting to move from their maintenance-free, spanking-new apartment to a largely maintenance-free condo are going to have to spank the condo into shape themselves to make it their own.
The trade-off is that the condo is theirs to do with as they please. No more builder’s beige walls and carpet. No more super-trendy finishes that hooked renters in, but quickly age. The one thing these buyers will have to give up is a little entitlement (to instant perfection) as they slowly make a dated condo their inviting home. And when they sell, collecting the profits from their work will be so much nicer than just getting their security deposit back.
Remember: Do you have an HOA story to tell? A little high-rise history? Realtors, want to feature a listing in need of renovation or one that’s complete with flying colors? How about hosting a Candy’s Dirt Staff Meeting? Shoot Jon an email. Marriage proposals accepted (as soon as they’re legal in Texas)! email@example.com