The Beat Condos Ext

Modern and affordable, Buzz Lofts in the southern Dallas neighborhood of The Cedars are a popular choice for those who want loft living south of downtown Dallas.

Condos are hot and getting hotter, according to the Texas Condominium Mid-Year Sales Report from the Texas Association of Realtors. Statewide, condo sales rose an average of 10.5 percent year-over-year between the months of January and May of 2014. In San Antonio condo sales were up 18 percent, followed by Austin at 14 percent, Houston at 6 percent and Dallas at 4 percent.


Kings Road Demolition(Photo: Dallas Morning News)

We published an unedited statement from Dallas Housing Authority President and CEO MaryAnn Russ on Friday, in which she said that DHA clients have just as much right as nearby residents to live in an upscale neighborhood, and that the property on Kings Road must be affordable housing because of federal laws.

OK, that makes sense, but the main gripe of community advocates isn’t having low-income housing, it’s how much of it is planned for the site. Before it was demolished last year, many nearby residents said that the Kings Quarters development, a 70-year-old 200-unit public housing project, was rife with drugs and crime. DHA plans include more than doubling the number of units and decreasing parking. It’s a recipe for disaster, says a former neighbor to the DHA development that was razed.

I think that this would seriously impact the surrounding projects.  Having lived there I know first-hand what this can do to a community and unfortunately the bad element that can come along with this.  I think making it more dense will hurt resales nearby and increase crime.  I have watched SWAT teams bust down doors on busts at apartments across the street from these homes, and even personally wound up on an episode of a crime show that profiled our landlady, who carried a shotgun with her when she walked the property and stopped a break in one night.  It was a rough area and I for one don’t miss it.

But Russ says in her letter that DHA has owned the property longer than anyone aggrieved by the new development, and that improvements to the area started long before Kings Quarters was vacated and demolished. “We believe that by very careful screening of applicants and strict property management, we can retain the positive aspects of this fine area,” Russ added.

But that’s the rub for folks who saw how Kings Quarters descended into squalor due to lack of maintenance and upkeep. Advocates say DHA wouldn’t allow them to help tidy the property by planting flowers or helping with peeling paint.

“I hope when it is rebuilt that they will take better care of it because they sure didn’t the last time,” said a neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. “I would like to see it more mixed with some units at market rates and some subsidized. I think then the community would have a better chance of being a good neighbor and would help keep out some of the bad element that can come with these projects. It’s been public housing for years and I know we need it but I’d hate to see them make it so dense and reduce the parking. I don’t think that’s the right recipe for a good neighbor.”

I have a hard time disagreeing with that perspective. What about you?

6224 Aberdeen $1.65 ish multiple offers sold in 6 days in February


6238 Aberdeen listed for $1.79ish in March

Recent convo with an agent who is seeing a problem in the market with new listings right now. Because the first quarter of 2012 was brisk, he thinks maybe prices are goosing up. Quarter One was brisk because buyers and sellers had become more reasonable, not because prices were up. When that excitement is “improperly communicated”, sellers start “overpricing” their homes, because of the perception that the market is busy, he says.

“I think it is seller driven,” he says. “The seller hears chatter in the marketplace that the market is stronger so the SELLER gets a little too optimistic. I have gone into listing presentations where I show all the sales for the last 12 months. Dollars are flat, but transactions are up – I suggest a list price of say $600,000. The SELLER will respond, “But I hear from other people that the market is sooo hot right now, let’s list at $675,000 and see what happens.”

What happens is that you go 60 days with no action, and end up selling for less, say $530,000 and eating up all that time.

I sat through listing presentations last week where the seller just did not want to hear the market value of his home. “But I’d like to get XX,” he said, ” that is my comfortable number.” Well, comfort or not, the truth is the market sets pricing, not your comfort levels, just as it does in the stock market. My comfort level with my AOL stock (please pass the Tums) is $20 or $25 a share, ain’t happening.

But I have to ask: isn’t this just how a bull market begins? I know Robert Shiller keeps beating us with that wet noodle of “home prices falling” and he has an excellent point. Nationally, home sales fell in January to a new cycle low but even Shiller says it is not as bad as he even thought it was. However, it ain’t Miller time. Far from it. We just don’t know what the future could bring. As he says: prices could go up, prices could go down. Don’t expose yourself to too much real estate.  Like most of the problems in our business world, the uncertainty out of Washington is killing us. I recently tried to refinance our home: it was a disaster.  I can hardly wait to share the story. I will soon be knocking on Richard Fisher’s door to get in on the “Break Up The Big Banks” movement. Federal regulators are stifling lending because, of course, of all the bad lending that took place and got us in this mess. So it’s corporate punishment: a few screwed up, so now we just say no to almost everybody. Fannie and Freddie are a mess and really the only source of home financing for anything under $417,000. Jumbo money is starting to loosen up and there is promise of more on the horizon. Then, as Steve Brown wrote last week (paywall) about home appraisals: even though the market is picking up, the appraisals are not keeping up because often appraisers use sales from three months ago that might be lower. So a buyer comes in, makes an offer, only to have the appraisal come in and blow the deal.

Appraisers, in turn, say don’t stone us, we are just doing our jobs, and if a house can’t be valued at the proposed purchase price, that’s just what the market is telling us. (Who cares about your comfort level.) Lenders for sure don’t want to provide mortgages if properties are overvalued. That was part of the reason for the home market bust. Expect more of this friction in the year ahead as the North Texas housing market recovers.

As home prices rise — and they already are in some neighborhoods, and in San Antonio, see example above — appraisals will trail behind. Like I’ve said, a home may be priced at the greatest price in the world but if you cannot get financing, it’s not selling. And you aren’t going to get financing if the appraisal come in low. Mortgage companies are sticking with tough underwriting standards when it comes to appraisals and standards. The appraisal process is much, much tougher with new requirements, giving the perception that appraisers are holding values in check. In reality, they are taking marching orders from the feds.

Then there are the Z sales… don’t get me started.

So what our writer is saying is take heed. We’ve got a great spring market ahead, we’ve got multiple offers and the big properties are finally starting to turn. But let’s not get “irrationally exuberant”. Price those properties right, else they may get stuck in the constipation of the appraisal/financing system.










Trendmaker Homes named Bruce French vice president of land acquisition and development in its newest homebuilding division in Dallas-Fort Worth, the company announced.

Trendmaker is a member of the TRI Pointe Group family of regional homebuilders. French joined the company on May 6 and brings nearly four decades of experience to the job. (more…)

Dallas-Fort Worth

Illustration courtesy Flickr

Dallas-Fort Worth is at the top of a list ranking the best cities for science, technology, engineering, and math jobs, the new home market is percolating in DFW, and we find out where North Texas falls in a look at underwater mortgages and home equity, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Dallas-Fort Worth Tops List of Best Cities for STEM Jobs

Dallas-Fort Worth took the top spot nationally in a ranking of best cities for STEM jobs, AEI Housing Center announced last week. (more…)

new buyers

While the housing market might be lightly tapping the brakes as of late, a new report found that a wave of new buyers is coming — although how robustly they arrive will vary from city to city.

While there was an impressive wave of first-time home buyers over the last decade, Zillow did the math and found that in the next 10 years, an extra 3.11 million people will be at that prime first-time buyer age — 34.

“From 2019 through 2028, 44.9 million people will turn 34, the median age of current first-time home buyers,” Zillow said. “That’s an increase of 7.4 percent from the past 10 years, when 41.8 million people passed that threshold.”

Now, sure, not all of these prospective new buyers will actually be clamoring to buy homes when they hit their mid-thirties, that huge influx in potential buyers will definitely have an impact on the market.  The largest three-year generational group in the U.S. right now is only 24 to 26 years old — which means that the increased strength of their potential buying power has not been realized yet.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, it’s estimated the metro area will see about a 3.1 percent increase in potential homebuyers in that age range. Other major metros in Texas will also see increases — Austin and San Antonio well each see an estimated 14.2 percent increase, while Houston will see a 6.1 percent increase. (more…)


Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

How many people are coming — and leaving — Dallas County? Has there been a local shift to more affordable new homes? What local journalist has been tapped to be a keynote speaker at a financial services conference?

We have all this in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Dallas County Posts Some of the Highest In-and-Out Migration Numbers

Texas has the second-highest domestic in-and-out migration in the country — and Dallas County and Harris County have some of the biggest influxes of new residents, new U.S. Census data revealed last week.

The 2017 American Community Survey revealed that Dallas and Harris counties had some of the highest inbound migration numbers, with 117,129 moving to Dallas County and 175,286 moving to Harris County. (more…)

buyer-friendlyHow big of a shift to a more buyer-friendly housing market did DFW make? What locals were appointed to a TREC advisory committee? What is MetroTex up to?

We have all this and more with this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Market Shifts to Buyer-Friendly

As DOM and days of inventory begin to lengthen slightly, the housing market in North Texas has shifted — slightly — to a more buyer-friendly one, research by Trulia revealed.

“Beyond the pricey West Coast, markets including Denver and Dallas – both often destinations for those moving away from the West Coast – have also shifted in favor of buyers over the past year, though less dramatically,” the report said. (more…)