Mary Lee Apartment 1

I’ve tried time and again to find tiny, cute apartments in Dallas. Let’s just say that our fair burg hasn’t jumped on the “living small” trend nearly as eagerly as Austin, where home prices and rents are sky high.

But young folks are finding a way to live close to downtown, and it’s tiny. Micro, even, according to this piece by KEYE TV Austin. It features an apartment renovated by Mary Lee, previously featured on Apartment Therapy. It’s a humble 300 square feet and is super stylish without being huge.

Mary Lee Apartment 3

This is a fantastic example of a well-curated small living space that doesn’t feel small. There’s room to live, work, and even a bathtub. You really don’t sacrifice anything in this space, which has a gas range and a refrigerator, with tons of storage. The only thing the kitchen lacks is a dishwasher, but really, do you need  a dishwasher? You’ve got hands, right?

Mary Lee Apartment 5

People who choose to live small ask themselves this question all the time. “Do I really need a dining table? Or does a breakfast bar work just fine?” “Do I really need a bed? Or will a cool futon or convertible couch do the job?”

Mary Lee Apartment 4

Stay tuned for more features on living small in Dallas, including a tour of “A Bed Over My Head” blogger B.A. Norrgard’s tiny home on wheels!

(All photos: Mary Lee/Apartment Therapy)

Hottest-neighborhoods_1280x960

I’m going to be honest: I hadn’t even heard of Barrington Oaks until Redfin published this list of hottest neighborhoods. As it turns out, this subdivision, which is just south of Balcones Country Club, is full of great homes in the $200s to $400s with a median list price of around $364,000, ranging in age from the late 1960s to some recent construction. So, why is this neighborhood such a hot commodity with homebuyers? Here’s the consensus from boots-on-the-ground Redfin agents:

Redfin agents have found that the real trend in 2014 neighborhood popularity is a short commute at an affordable price. The trending neighborhoods offer a short drive to or easy access to a commuter rail line at prices that are not the most expensive in the city.

Yes, this location is great, considering it’s just of 183 in the northeast area of Austin. It has some gorgeous houses, too. I’m especially smitten with this renovated 1980s soft contemporary at 11310 Yucca. It has four bedrooms, two baths, and a fantastic backyard with pool, which you will definitely want come summer. Redfin agent Cyndy Stewart says the location will mean a short commute to many Austin employers with great shopping nearby. “Another perk of this up-and-coming neighborhood is the sought-after school district,” Stewart said.

11310 Yucca Austin

Other hot neighborhoods in Austin, according to Redfin research, include Millwood, Stone Canyon, Fern Bluff, and North Austin (which has a totally boring name, amiright?). I am kind of bummed that North Texas didn’t make the list at all, which is crazy considering that half of Dallas is trying to find the perfect home in Lake Highlands right now.

We asked our Facebook followers what their favorite neighborhoods in Dallas were, and tons said Lake Highlands, Midway Hollow, Preston Hollow, and so many more. Tell us, what do you think is North Texas’ hottest ‘hood?

 

Hottest-neighborhoods_1280x960

I’m going to be honest: I hadn’t even heard of Barrington Oaks until Redfin published this list of hottest neighborhoods. As it turns out, this subdivision, which is just south of Balcones Country Club, is full of great homes in the $200s to $400s with a median list price of around $364,000, ranging in age from the late 1960s to some recent construction. So, why is this neighborhood such a hot commodity with homebuyers? Here’s the consensus from boots-on-the-ground Redfin agents:

Redfin agents have found that the real trend in 2014 neighborhood popularity is a short commute at an affordable price. The trending neighborhoods offer a short drive to or easy access to a commuter rail line at prices that are not the most expensive in the city.

Yes, this location is great, considering it’s just of 183 in the northeast area of Austin. It has some gorgeous houses, too. I’m especially smitten with this renovated 1980s soft contemporary at 11310 Yucca. It has four bedrooms, two baths, and a fantastic backyard with pool, which you will definitely want come summer. Redfin agent Cyndy Stewart says the location will mean a short commute to many Austin employers with great shopping nearby. “Another perk of this up-and-coming neighborhood is the sought-after school district,” Stewart said.

11310 Yucca Austin

Other hot neighborhoods in Austin, according to Redfin research, include Millwood, Stone Canyon, Fern Bluff, and North Austin (which has a totally boring name, amiright?). I am kind of bummed that North Texas didn’t make the list at all, which is crazy considering that half of Dallas is trying to find the perfect home in Lake Highlands right now.

We asked our Facebook followers what their favorite neighborhoods in Dallas were, and tons said Lake Highlands, Midway Hollow, Preston Hollow, and so many more. Tell us, what do you think is North Texas’ hottest ‘hood?

 

Swananoah Front

Homes priced at $1 million or more are moving like hotcakes in Texas, according to the 2014 Texas Luxury Home Sales Report from the Texas Association of Realtors. The figures, assembled using data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, show that every Texas metro area posted double-digit growth in luxury price ranges.

Dallas posted a 22 percent increase in luxury home sales for the period between January and October 2013, the report shows, with Austin posting a whopping 55 percent increase (no wonder Trulia is calling our capital city way overvalued). Houston came in second with a 46 percent increase in luxury home sales, and San Antonio posted an 18 percent increase.

“Data from the Texas Luxury Home Sales Report shows that million-dollar homes are playing an increasingly important role in the Texas housing market,” said Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “The housing slump is behind us and as Texas’ economy and population continue to accelerate, we’re going to see increasing development and demand in larger, higher-priced homes with luxury amenities.”

So, what’s driving the increase? It’s mostly thanks to the influx of high-paying tech jobs in Austin, and in Houston it’s likely due to oil and gas wealth moving into the area. For Dallas, a brisk job market driven by a healthy financial sector, as well as oil and gas wealth, could be fueling the luxury real estate market. The increase in sales definitely shows appreciation, though, and it makes you wonder just how many of these $1 million-plus properties are second homes or even investments.

“It’s common for luxury homes to have a significantly longer sell time and higher housing inventory than the average home simply because the pool of interested homebuyers is so much smaller,” said Jim Gaines Ph. D., and economist with the Real Estate Center. “However, this data still indicates strong demand, particularly in Austin, where homes of $1 million or higher are close to 10 percent of all active listings and are selling in less than six months, and in Houston, where housing inventory is only 7.4 months.”

Here’s the Dallas-Fort Worth market breakdown from the report:

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 809 luxury homes were sold between January and October 2013. Luxury home sales made up 1.1 percent of the total housing market and experienced a 22 percent increase in sales compared to the same period in 2012. This is slightly higher than the 19 percent year-over-year increase of the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market as a whole. As of October 2013, there were 922 active luxury home listings, 4.1 percent of all active listings on the market. The housing inventory for a luxury home was 11.4 months, 8.4 additional months than that of the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market at large.

 

 

 

Top 10 Best Performing MSAs

It’s definitely an improvement over last year’s ranking of 14th, with Dallas coming in 7th in this year’s Best-Performing Cities poll from the Milken Institute. The Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA beat Houston-Sugarland-Baytown (8th) but came in behind top-ranking Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos.

The poll tries to objectively measure job creation and retention, as well as the economic vitality of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas. Thanks to Austin’s booming technology sector and growth in high-paying jobs, put the Texas capital city ahead. Here’s what the authors attribute to Austin’s lead:

This year’s Best-Performing City, Austin, is a case study in concocting the proper recipe for economic vitality.  A rising technology center, it is creating high-quality jobs that improve the region’s overall wage structure.  Economic development officials rightly tout its business-friendly, low-tax, low-regulation climate when recruiting outside the state, particularly when soliciting California firms. They also herald the business startups of local  entrepreneurs, the spinouts from the University of Texas, Austin, and the number and quality of UT graduates.

Austin’s technology base is fairly diversified: hardware, chips and communication gear, computer system design, Internet-related services, and biomedical research. The metro has its share of homegrown tech companies — Dell, Freescale Semiconductor, Flextronics International, and National Instruments among them — and has been successful at attracting technology icons from elsewhere as well. The financial services sector is also adding jobs.

Dallas Milken Report chartDallas made big gains this year, though, moving up seven spots thanks to its active financial services market and the growth of technology-related companies. It has one of the most diverse economies, the report claims, and Dallas’ economic growth was one of the fastest in the past year.

What we noticed in the report that many Dallas homebuyers are noticing now, too, is the higher cost of living within the Dallas city limits, especially in middle-class neighborhoods. The Milken report cautions that this could push companies and wage-earners to move outside the area, a trend that Austin is seeing right now with families finding housing within the city of Austin to be overpriced. Still, wage growth helps buffer high housing costs, an area in which Dallas trails.

How do you think Dallas can become an even better-performing city?

Community First Village

 

(Photo: KUT)

The concept behind the Community First Village is revolutionary — rent a tiny home to someone who needs a reason to hold down a job for an affordable rate, and help the homeless turn their lives around.

The fact that it’s adorable doesn’t hurt, either.

Austin, home of the food truck trailer parks and high-priced housing, has made something that Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League calls, “the very first ‘yes, in my backyard’ project!’” according to this story from KUT:

Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Alan Graham, the man behind the project, says one reason many in the nearby community are on board is because there will also be a bed and breakfast in the village and an Alamo Drafthouse outdoor movie theater.

“We haven’t converted everybody, but when people come out here they go, ‘Oh!’ They see a chapel; they see medical and vocational services on site, and they learn that residents will not live there for free; they’ll pay a monthly rent.”

Graham adds that if 200 chronically homeless people get back on their feet, that could save Central Texas taxpayers about $10 million a year.

The village covers about 27 acres and features adorable micro homes like those on trendy blogs and websites, designed and built by University of Texas architecture students. Rent runs around $200 a month for some of the homes, which includes access to a community garden and social services. Mobile Loaves and Fishes is still in the middle of a fundraising campaign for the project, with a goal of $6 million. Find out more about the project here.

Considering the growing homeless population in Dallas, do you think there’s a space for this concept here? Where would you put a development like this? And if this was planned for your neighborhood, would you be a NIMBY or a YIMBY?

Lance Armstrong Lake Austin

I guess it’s good to be in the middle of the pack sometimes, especially when it comes to making lists that label cities and towns as “Most Expensive” or “Most Affordable” real estate markets. It’s a lot like dating, right? You don’t want to come off as too easy, or seem too prude, either, when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

Well, Dallas doesn’t have that problem, and neither does Austin, Houston, or San Antonio. In fact, no Texas towns made Coldwell Banker’s “apples-to-apples” comparison of more than 1,900 towns in their Home Listing Report. The report, which compares similarly sized four-bedroom, two-bath homes across the nation shows where potential homebuyers will pay the most, and the least, for what they get.

This year’s report has Malibu coming in first as the most expensive place to find a four-bedroom home at $2,155,900, not a shock to anyone familiar with the exclusive beach community that is practically littered with celebrities. What’s really interesting is that the top five most expensive cities are all in California — Newport Beach, Saratoga, Los Gatos, and San Francisco. In fact, only three towns outside of California managed to squeak into the top 10 — Stone Harbor, NJ, at No. 6; Orono, Minn., at No. 8; and Weston, Mass. at No. 9.

Coming in as the most affordable is Cleveland, Ohio, where you can find a good family home for just $63,729. The “Most Affordable” list is a bit more diverse than the “Most Expensive” list, with Ohio, Michigan, New York, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois, having more than one city on the list.

Are you shocked that this report skipped Texas altogether, with no mention of how pricey Austin is getting for single-family homes?

 

Proposition 6 Results by County

 

The results are in, and while many agreed that Proposition 6 was the best plan available to secure the future of Texas water, it garnered 73.37 percent of the statewide vote — a considerably safe margin.  Among constitutional amendment propositions on the statewide ballot, Proposition 6 garnered more votes that Propositions 3, 5, and 8.

What’s most interesting is the county-by-county reports from the Texas Tribune. While the Texas Hill Country and West Texas will likely be those most desperate for water, Proposition 6 didn’t pass muster in several counties throughout those regions. And many areas of East Texas shunned the proposed constitutional amendment that would tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund to secure more water resources. Find out more about Proposition 6 and its provisions here.

Check out more detailed results from last night here.