For the second year in a row, Texas home sales hit an all-time high. According to the 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report released by the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR), both home sales and home prices reached record highs last year.

In a statement released by the TAR, Chairman Vicki Fullerton said, “Last year’s record home sales activity was fueled from the momentum of multiple years’ strong job and population growth across the state, despite the fact that Texas job and economic growth began to slow in 2016.”

According to the report (available in full here), median home prices rose 7.7 percent in 2016, to $210,000. Home sales volume increased 4.6 percent, to 324,924 homes sold. Average days on market held steady from 2015 at 58 days. Active listings grew six percent last year.


Klyde Warren

Thanks to Texas’ mild fall and winter and relatively low cost of living, there’s plenty of room outside for first date spots with access to food trucks, which is good news for singles on a budget.

Texas is for singles? It may be cold comfort if you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone this year, but when it comes to being single, there are worse places to live than Texas. Forty-four worse places, in fact!

A recent report by WalletHub ranked Texas the No. 6 ‘dating-friendly’ state to live. Lends a whole new twist to the Lone Star State, right?


Magnolia Texas mansion

37307 Diamond Oaks Drive Magnolia, TX 77355 $ 18,750,000 Price change 23.47%

Is the economic slump from low oil prices finally catching up with the Houston real estate market?

The Houston Association of Realtors said that buyers closed on 7,204 single family homes in July, median prices were at $230,000, and volume slumped to the lowest since January.

Houston Chronicle Editor Nancy Sarnoff  says no one is pinning one thing for the decline in home sales, and HAR claims the market in Texas’s largest city is still healthy. Like Dallas, Houston real estate is hurting at the highest end of the market. Unlike Dallas, it is also hurting at the lowest:

Sales were off in all price categories, with the worst declines in the lowest and highest ends of the market, according to the data, which is based on sales handled through the multiple listing service throughout throughout primarily Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

Inventory, while still low by historical standards, reached 4 months in July, the highest it’s been since the fall of 2012.

Interesting: Townhome and condominium sales fell 7.4 percent in July and inventory bumped up 3.5 months, up from 3 months last year.

Leasing is on the rise: single-family leases were up 2.3 percent, while townhome/condominium leases jumped 10.6 percent. The average rent for a single-family Houston home was $1,879 per month, average rent for townhomes/condominiums $1,630.

“We never like to see a decline in home sales, but it’s helpful to remember that our comparisons each month are to a record year in 2015,” Arriaga said in a statement. “July was the first time in several months when even mid-range housing saw declines.”

Yeah, we know. Saying the same thing in Dallas. To be honest, I spoke to a Realtor today who is finding a home for a Houston family in the Dallas area, Ty Vaughn with Robert Elliot & Associates. He told me they sold their $1,000,000 Houston home in two weeks. Not bad at all. Like most reporting, it probably depends on neighborhood, location, schools, etc.

River Oaks Mansion Houston

3465 Overbrook Ln Houston, TX 77027 $ 7,775,000 Price change 2.20%

But look at the sales activity down there, fascinating:  (more…)

This is what affordable housing looks like in Waco. Will it be coming to Dallas?

Lately it seems like there is nothing but bad news when it comes to affordable housing solutions in Dallas. There is a lot more demand than availability with no viable solutions in sight.

It’s an entirely different story in Waco — groups like Next Step Network and NeighborWorks Waco have come up with some smart affordable solutions to bring new homes to vacant lots in and around Waco as they provide hope and housing to hard-working families at a cost they can afford. (more…)


By Marcus McCue
Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer
Guardian Mortgage Company

The national housing market remains strong, and Texas, in many respects, is leading the way with record existing-home sales in Dallas and robust price growth.

Some housing experts were surprised at just how vigorous the Texas housing market was last year. Sales and prices set records in Dallas, and new home construction in the state was the most robust it’s been in several years.

The global oil price slump presents some headwinds, however, and will challenge housing markets in some Texas regions this year. Houston, South Texas and Midland-Odessa already have felt the pinch from low oil prices, and layoffs in the energy sector have begun to ripple through other business sectors.

James Gaines, chief economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, noted in a recent report that job losses in the energy industry haven’t stopped and likely will pick up this year. But growth in other industries such as healthcare, technology, business services, construction, and hospitality should help buoy the state’s economy.


On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller's Office over the state's ad-valorem tax system.

On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller’s Office over the state’s ad-valorem tax system.

The end of sales price non-disclosure might be near, if the suit filed by the City of Austin against the Texas comptroller’s office is any indication. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who submitted the 10-page suit on Monday, argued that the ad-valorem taxation system is unconstitutional because it isn’t “equal and uniform.”

Texas is one of the few states that, instead of relying for sales figures for tax purposes, employs an appraisal system. However, with skyrocketing values for residential properties in Travis County, commercial valuations haven’t grown nearly so much. It’s becoming a big problem, the suit suggests.

“The lack of sales disclosures has made it nearly impossible for appraisal districts to comply with their statutory and constitutional duty to assess all properties at market value so that taxation is equal and uniform,” the lawsuit states.


Shakemap 1-6-2015

Update 9:50 pm:  The neighbor who took the video you are seeing tells me: “I think it is related (to the earthquake), it happened right after the first earthquake, not 2 hours like the city told Robert Wilonsky, it is at the intersection of Hughes and Dykes Way.” He also tells me that whatever caused this break, “the city water and ATOMS gas crews are out there right now, it is still gushing”. I may go up and grab some pics. Stay tuned.

Update: that water main break is near Preston and Churchill Road.

Did you feel those two three tremors today?

Two of them were widely felt, with the first affecting just Irving. The second quake, which was around 3:10 p.m. and centered around the former site of Texas Stadium, was a 3.6 magnitude quake that was felt from East Fort Worth to East Dallas. The third, which happened at around 6:52 p.m., was a 3.6 magnitude aftershock with an epicenter just northeast of Irving. Some homeowners have reported minor damage, including cracks in drywall and gaps in moulding, while 33 City of Dallas water mains are flooding streets.

While some people will claim that these quakes could be naturally occurring due to their proximity to the Balcones Fault, there is a growing body of evidence that human-induced changes to the structure of the earth’s crust is causing these seismic shake-ups in North Texas. We’ve talked previously about fracking and disposal wells, and whether it can affect home values, but with today’s strong quakes, we’re hoping to find out whether or not this phenomenon is a lasting one.

Just this week, researchers from SMU have started placing sensors in the ground in Irving, hoping to root out the cause of the frequent earthquakes that seem centered in the Dallas suburb. According to this report, there have been 18 earthquakes in the Irving area since Nov. 1. The question is, if the cause is found to be manmade, will homeowners insurance cover the damage? And should we all invest in additional earthquake coverage now that I can feel the tremors all the way over in Casa Linda?

Welcome_to_Texas Sign

This will surprise absolutely no one in Texas. We’ve been saying it until we’re blue in the face, really. But it’s nice to hear someone else tell us that Texas is a hot commodity, and that’s what we gleaned from Allied Van Lines‘ 2014 Magnet State Report, which puts Texas in the No. 1 spot for the 10th year running. The report, which uses internal data from the nationwide moving company, showed a net relocation gain of 1,973 families in 2014.

“Texas has also demonstrated strong population growth (adding 1.3 million new residents since April 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau) and has increased non-government jobs by 12 percent since 2007, according to the American Enterprise Institute,” the company’s report said.

We know that demand is far outstripping supply in the Permian Basin area, and in Houston, home values are at record-breaking levels. Here in Dallas, our existing home supply is seeing demand that is higher than pre-recession levels, and homebuilders are working to construct new homes at a break-neck pace. Add to that, distressed sales are extremely low. It’s good to be a Texan right now, that’s for sure!

Jump for the full infographic to see the runners up and how other states performed: