Sources tell me that the California-based mega high end appliance and “try before you buy” plumbing showroom Pirch at NorthPark Center will be shutting its doors at the end of this month. Due to a massive corporate re-structuring, all six Pirch locations outside of California will close. The four California locations will remain open for business as usual with the full support of L. Catterton, their private equity firm, who seeded the company’s rapid expansion into ten other locations, four outside of the Golden state. 

Pirch has been named on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies twice, dipping down to number 32 the year they opened in Dallas. The company has also cleaned house on awards for visual presentation and in-store communications from the Association of Retail Environments.

Their homilies — “Live joyfully,” “Your first decision of the day is the most important,” “Choose happiness” — have been the “the soul of Pirch,” as Connie Dufner reported when the Dallas store first opened: 

A washer-dryer isn’t just a washer-dryer,” says (CEO Jeffery) Sears. “It’s the caretaker of a child’s first blanket. That tub represents 45 minutes of sanity for a working mom. That oven baked the chocolate chip cookie with a gooey smear on a baby’s face.” (Oh stop, Mr. Sears! You had us at “Hello, may we get you a beverage?”) Have a great experience, try before you buy and eventually you will buy…

Well, maybe not.

In a meeting this morning, Dallas PIRCH employees were informed that the company is closing its Dallas showroom. The company’s warehouse north of LBJ will close in November. And the newly opened Austin store at the Domain, unveiled in May, is also closing.

It will be interesting to know what NorthPark Mall will do to fill the huge 35,000 square foot space the high end appliance showroom has occupied since August of 2014.

There is no word, however, on whether the company will be changing any of those perky slogans, as they exit six markets.

PIRCH Dallas Opening
Dallas, TX
©2014 Darin Fong Photography

 

[Editor’s Note: This column reflects the opinion of the writer. It is not to be interpreted as the editorial position of CandysDirt.com]

The recent brouhaha surrounding Confederate monuments is a furtherance of the elimination of the Confederate flag that has gained steam in reaction to the white-supremacist leanings of our president and his supporters. It’s a pretty easy series of events to break down, made easier when our sitting president has David Duke stumping for him.  Ahh, David Duke, whose Wikipedia page opens with, “David Ernest Duke is an American white nationalist, politician, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”
(Every parent’s dream.)

Prior to a few months ago, when you didn’t think about Confederate monuments at all, you may have thought these statues were the last remnants of a bygone and painful era never to be repeated again.  You’d be wrong.  Humanity habitually repeats history by changing the lyrics to the same tune.

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Even amid growing concerns over affordability and inventory, Dallas-area small- and mid-sized cities remain some of the hottest in the country for first-time buyers. Just this week, McKinney, Frisco, and Allen took top honors in a new study by WalletHub, making them the three best housing markets in the United States for new homebuyers. Richardson came in not too far down the list at No. 7. Not too shabby!

As for large cities (populations over 300,000), Dallas itself didn’t quite crack the top 20 (it’s still a respectable number 26). But Forth Worth represents at No. 5. Stick around after the jump to see what criteria makes a city most appealing. Visit here to see if your city made the list.

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Another day, another article about what Millennials are — or are not — up to. With housing affordability looming as a constant concern, it comes as no surprise that Millennials find themselves profoundly affected. They’re feeling the pinch, even in Dallas where housing remains more within reach than in many areas of the country.

A recent report on Millennial home buying power by ABODO.com looks at the shrinking number of 18  to 35 year olds able to afford homes. It also analyzes where Millennials have the best chances of buying a home, and the kinds of homes they can afford.

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avocado toast

Is this avocado toast the only thing standing between you and homeownership? (Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons)

It was the sternly worded lecture heard ‘round the Millennial world — give up avocado toast if you want to buy a house.

And almost as soon as Australian real estate developer Tim Gurner’s words trilled over the airwaves, the debate began: Was it really a matter of just not being frugal and smart, or was Gurner being dismissive of a larger problem because, well, he’s rich and out of touch?

Many felt insulted, and some skewered the claim in humorous fashion (just check Twitter, where people are still clapping back). An article fact-checking the claim also revealed that no, it’s not as easy as just not buying coffee and avocados, too.

“In fact, research suggests that people from 18-to-34, a group often referred to as Millennials, are no more freewheeling with their spending on travel and dining than other generations,” the article on CNBC.com revealed. “And it would take a lot of skipped avocados to put a dent in the heavy costs of homeownership, which is not always a prudent financial goal.”

The same article found that Millennials spend about $305 more than Baby Boomers per year on eating out. “The truth is, even if Millennials assumed the eating-out habits of Baby Boomers, it would take around 113 years before they could afford a down payment on a home,” the article added.

“If you gave up every healthy smashed avocado sprinkled with creamy Feta, it would save you a mere $176 per month,” another piece at CBS News’ Moneywatch found. “At today’s paltry interest rates, that’s likely to net you just $11,000 in five years, which isn’t enough for a car, much less a house.”

So with all that in mind, we found the perfect couple to weigh in. Bob and Kimberly Sinnott. Bob owns Toasted, a restaurant in Dallas that sells (among other things) avocado toast. Kimberly is a local Realtor.

I mean, really — how many other couples do you know that would combine to be the perfect source for a story about avocado toast and homebuying? None. The answer is none.

Because the two are busy (they are also brave souls who moderate a bustling and sometimes fractious Facebook group for Lakewood and Lakewood-adjacent residents), we shot them some questions via email, and they responded.

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On average, the North Texas labor shortage is adding two months and $4,000 to the cost of every home.

By Phil Crone
Executive Officer, Dallas Builders Association

“The guest worker program unnecessarily lowers construction worker wages.”

“Put simply, there is no construction labor shortage.”

“It’s five o’clock somewhere. And maybe there’s a construction worker shortage, too, somewhere. But it’s not significant in the U.S., and it’s not very widespread.”

Would you believe that all of these are recent quotes from organizations involved in the construction industry? Believe it or not, they were recently published in Illinois and Michigan. I share them because I want to illustrate the labor demand difference between the laggers and leaders of our nation’s economy. It also demonstrates the uphill battle that looms for any type of legislative fix for immigration and long-term cure to our labor shortage.

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Immigrant

Second only to California, Texas hosts largest immigrant population in the United States. And in Dallas-Fort Worth alone, more than 1.2 million immigrants make their homes, hold jobs, attend schools, and participate in local communities. An integral part of the DFW economy, immigrants contributed $8.4 billion in taxes and over $25 billion in spending power in 2014 alone, according to a recent study.

But action of late by the Trump Administration, including discriminatory travel bans, ramped-up deportation raids, and even wall-related rhetoric are forcing many to reassess their places here, particularly when it comes to buying property.

An article published last month in The Guardian cited a 2013 study which put, in stark terms, the potential national impact anti-immigrant action could have on real estate.

[Dowell Myers, director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of California] estimated that in this decade, immigrants nationwide will account for 32.2% of the growth in all households, 35.7% of growth in homeowners and 26.4% of growth in renter households.

The study found that the volume of growth in foreign-born homeowners has increased each decade, rising from 0.8 million added immigrant homeowners in the United States during the period from 1980–1990 to 2.8 million in the current decade.

“It’s pretty clear what will happen,” warns Myers. “One way that people afford houses is by pooling incomes. So if you were to deport one of the three mortgage payers, that can destabilize the whole rest of the household. Immigrants are so interwoven into many communities that when you unravel one thread, you can destabilize it entirely.”

Could DFW experience that kind of destabilization? Possibly.

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dallas-fortworth-cities-map

We talk about the impact of rising home prices all the time, but that’s only half the affordable housing story. Across the country, rents in suburban areas also show dramatic increases over the last year, with no signs of stopping.

A recent study from RentCafe shows that while urban Dallas continued to post fairly consistent rent increases in 2016 (5.9 percent), the farther you travel away from the city, the greater the hikes renters experienced. In Dallas proper, rental housing remains relatively affordable when compared to the rest of the Metroplex (and the country, as a whole). We have all that apartment construction to thank for that. More than 6,000 new apartment units became available in 2016, alone.

But in Fort Worth, where apartment inventory has stagnated, rents grew 6.3 percent over 12 months. And that’s nothing compared to areas like Weatherford and Midlothian where rent skyrocketed over 10 percent in 2016.

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