Realtors Share Their Views on a Wild 2016 Market and The Road Ahead

4605 Watauga Road

We featured 4605 Watauga in January, but this Bluffview beauty priced at 3.95 million sat on the market for 300 days and didn’t sell. More luxury homes are sitting on the market, and that won’t likely change in 2017.


Real estate is a seasonal business, for the most part. Spring is a hot time for homebuyers, while many sellers flood the market in fall. But for North Texas, 2016 had a mind of its own. We wanted to hear real stories about this year from a closely curated pool of Realtors and brokers covering a broad swath of our region. So we asked them:

Where (both in location and price range) did you notice the most growth? Was there anything that took you off-guard? What’s your major takeaway from this year? And how are you preparing for 2017?
We got some fantastic, insightful responses from some of the most successful Realtors and brokerages in the region, highlighting issues such as rising sales prices, the election season, inventory woes, and up-and-coming neighborhoods. Jump to read more and add your thoughts in the comments!

Cathy Browne headshot
“In 2016, we continued to see growth in Prosper, Celina, and Little Elm, especially in terms of new construction. Prices increased in my Allen market throughout 2016, with sellers’ expectations often based on news reports and forecasts of rising sales prices. It surprised me how hard it was to find affordable housing in the ranges below $350,000. We were having to go farther out to find any new construction that was reasonable, such as Wylie or Melissa. Biggest takeaway from 2016 — dealing with multiple offer situations. Challenges involved managing sellers’ expectations, appraisal issues, and properties selling over list price. Planning for 2017, I am expecting higher interest rates and a deceleration of price growth. Managing my clients’ expectations is always the biggest challenge, and good communication is the key!”

— Cathy Browne, Ebby Halliday Realtors

Tom Cappello
“My View of the 2016 Market was a bit confusing. The market started out with a big bang in Dallas-Fort Worth as the price of homes kept rising until then they stabilized about June of 2016. The high-end, high-priced homes at $1 million and above started to take a considerable slow down, and I think it was due to the uncertain price of oil in Texas since this is a energy state, and affected the employment of some industries. I think the elections made the market uncertain and added a degree of caution to first-time buyers and even people who had bought in the past. I believe 2017 will start cautiously optimistic, but should be a stable year and not a blockbuster one. We still have a shortage of homes — the ones I call the Bread-and-Butter listings below $500K. I think this will make the rental market even more desirable for young professionals who are not ready to make long-term commitments to a mortgage.”

— Tom Cappello, Engel & Volkers

Seth Fowler
Seth Fowler’s Five Views on 2016 Fort Worth Real Estate Market

1) Quality homes under $400,000 didn’t last long at all on the market
2) Market started slowing down on higher priced homes ($600k+)
3) Older neighborhoods just outside the “hot” areas of Fort Worth are starting to get looked at by younger buyers and home flippers as areas of value and growth potential
4) New construction has stopped being option for Buyers under $400,000
5) Buyers have realized that there are a lot of bad flippers out there

Seth Fowler’s Five Predictions for 2017 Fort Worth Real Estate Market

1)Q1 and Q2 of 2017 will be very active as reality of interest rates increasing will spur Buyers to act
2) Higher priced homes ($600K+) will continue to take a while to sell
3) Rental market will remain strong as Buyers will continue to be frustrated with lack of quality and affordable inventory
4) The Tarrant Count Tuesday column will continue to amaze millions of readers worldwide
5) Flippers are going to run out of gray paint during 2017

— Seth Fowler, Williams Trew

Kelly Nyfeler
“I have seen growth and price increases in Midway Hollow, Oak Cliff, the new “East Village” in the Ross sector which is completely on fire and selling like crazy at average of $470,000 for a two- or three-bedroom condo/townhouse and in the north (Plano, Frisco, and beyond). So much growth in the East Village area, and I believe it is going to continue and with the proposed retail coming. This area is one to watch. I am noticing that Millennials are starting to drive this train as they want walkability and urban living — this trend will increase and continue in 2017. I think this was the thing that took me off guard — there is not a street between 75 and Ross, Henderson and Fitzhugh, that doesn’t have new construction. Talk about a gentrification! The process of reviving a deteriorated urban neighborhood with an influx of more affluent residents, which in turn increases property values, could not be more prevalent than in this area. My major take away from this year is that the luxury market — properties priced over $1 million — has softened and there are now five to six months of inventory and DOM have increased. I am preparing for 2017 by educating our luxury clients and letting them know that pricing will have to be adjusted for this turn, and embracing the Millennials that will be driving our urban market in Uptown and Downtown. With the continuous increase of people moving to D-FW, we will continue to have a strong market in 2017 with home prices increasing per analysts. This year we saw an 8 percent increase in home values and I am expecting homes under $1M to do the same in 2017, especially in new construction prices in North Dallas.”

— Kelly Nyfeler, Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

“Anywhere within commuting distance of Dallas under $500k was the hottest market for us in 2016 for sure, but it was followed closely by the luxury market over $950k being very strong the majority of the year with those listings moving quickly.

MetroTex Association of Realtors is now over 18,000 members, so there is a larger pool of agents and that has caused some trends. I have been surprised by the separation of the agents production overall with a certain group of agents taking a substantial lead over others with new agents leaving the business quicker if they don’t find success.

— Kevin Caskey, Nathan Grace Real Estate

Burton Rhodes
“Major take away this year for us is builder appetite for lots (or at least high lot prices) has reduced significantly. We sold a 70-foot lot on Hanover for $1.625M and 6 months later couldn’t sell a lot across the street for $1.55M (same size). Unless builders have a client in tow, they are less willing to take on new lots. In addition, there is a huge gap between the new construction price homes sitting on the market and the prices for sold homes. In other words, in many cases we are seeing a gap of $40+/sqft for homes that are active versus sold for new construction.

Our group thinks this coming year will be flat (much like this year). Not really expecting a huge dip. There could be a nice spurt of activity if/when mortgage rates start to tick up. The fed has hinted several times that this raise is coming. When it begins, that usually encourages buyers to get off the fence.

We do expect inventory to rise as it has this year for 2017. That should help buyers in their search and negotiation. Sellers will have to wake up that we are no longer in 2013-2014! 😉 That’s easier said than done as a listing agent, though.

The entrance of discount brokers (This is Door) is also interesting. There was huge buzz about these companies this year (again). When the market is hot, these discount guys seem to pop up. However, I think the new ones are late to the game. The market has already started to turn. So as the market normalizes (and become weighted towards the buyer), these companies tend to drop like flies. Sellers again realize the value of an agent who can “sell” a house — not just put a sign in the yard.”

— Burton Rhodes, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

Clay Stapp
“The 2016 spring market was on fire and it started early (February 1st). The North and North Dallas markets under $400K seemed to be the craziest. Inside the loop things went dead in the summer as everyone caught their collective breath. Fall 2016 was slow, but since the election buyers seem to have appeared out of no where. Spring 2017 will be the same as 2016. Market will heat up early and it will be a feverish melee once again. Inside the loop, as soon as the summertime temp gets above 100, the market will stop dead in its tracks (vacation anyone?). Fall 2017: agents will be using words like “tapered off” and “normalize inventory levels.” Overall, D-FW will be fine going forward but spring of 2017 will be our last hooray for a while.”

— Clay Stapp, Clay Stapp + Co.

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