Did you know that Farmers Branch will actually pay you to tear down a home and rebuild?

When you are building a home, an extra $30,000 comes in handy, right? Very handy. That could cover carpet, extra landscaping, or your new decked-out refrigerator.

And $30,000 is about how much the City of Farmers Branch will pay — yes, I said PAY —  homeowners who buy the city’s aged housing stock, tear it down, and build anew through the city’s unique Demo/Rebuild program. The city offers a cash grant that is based on the value of the home you tear down; the grant edges higher for less expensive homes). Farmers Branch will also offer a discount on property taxes for a certain length of time, depending on how much the difference is between the two homes’ property tax appraisal. It’s really a taxpayer’s dream: an incentive program that actually puts taxpayer dollars back into the hands — and homes — of taxpayers. (more…)

Photo courtesy Flickr/Arul Irudayam

Thanks to a new interactive tool, we now know what opportunity looks like in all areas of Dallas. And that tool confirms what many who follow income disparity have known all along — it frequently is manifest most in geography, where decades of policy have wrought pockets of opportunity gaps throughout the city.

The Opportunity Atlas is the result of work done by economist Raj Chetty, his Harvard colleagues, and Census Bureau’s Sonya Porter and Maggie Jones. It uses tax and U.S. Census data to track people’s incomes from one generation to the next.

What it found is that opportunity and income go hand-in-hand, and that in most if not all areas, blocks and neighborhoods don’t magically and suddenly become low income and low opportunity hot spots — they’ve been that way for years.

And more discouraging, children who grew up in those neighborhoods frequently reach adulthood and have families of their own, and make the same low wages their parents did.

“We’re excited that the Census Bureau can provide the public with access to social mobility estimates for the first time through the Opportunity Atlas,” said Ron Jarmin, Deputy Director, and Performing the Non-Exclusive Functions and Duties of the Director of the Census Bureau. “The Atlas has great social significance because no one has ever had access to social mobility estimates at such a granular level.”

The Opportunity Atlas measured average outcomes of Americans by the neighborhood they grew up in. A sample of almost 21 million Americans born between 1978 and 1983 were tacked back to the neighborhoods they were born and raised in, and then income tax returns and census data were used to measure annual earnings.

As part of my research, I looked at the census tracts around three Dallas ISD schools that currently or have had the Improvement Required designation from the Texas Education Agency, meaning that they did not meet state standards. (more…)

north texas

(Photo courtesy VisitFrisco.com)

How did North Texas fare in a ranking of overall best housing markets in the U.S.? How far has the Dallas-Fort Worth apartment market come in recovering after the recession? How much of their income is the average Dallas-Fort Worth homeowner spending on housing? All this and more in this week’s review of real estate news. (more…)

Southlake-based Napali Capital acquired the Westwood apartments in Dallas last month, increasing its Texas portfolio to three properties (PRNewsfoto/Napali Capital, LLC).

In an area where more affordable housing is dear, it’s becoming more and more rare to get a press release announcing that someone is entering that market in Dallas. But Napali Capital, a Southlake-based investment firm, has done just that — twice.

Last month, the private investment firm announced the acquisition of the Westwood Apartments, a 187-unit property consisting of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. It’s adjacent to Briar Gate Park, and is near grocery stores, schools, and shopping.

It’s also not a luxury property. Neither is the Adira, the 164-unit property in Dallas Napali Capital acquired last November. Nor is the Monterrey, a property in Fort Worth the firm acquired in March 2017.

“I would say we’re more of a B class operator, and some C,” said Napali Capital co-founder and managing partner Dr. Thomas Black. “We’re not strictly affordable housing — I would say we’re more middle of the road.” (more…)

Even though housing sales in Texas fell 3.2 percent, demand is still strong, the Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s June Housing Insight revealed. The same report revealed that Dallas’ affordable housing problems aren’t anywhere close to abating.

The report said that the Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index reached its highest level since 2008 last month, largely thanks to construction employment and wages. The index measures current construction activity in the state.

Housing shortages seem to have spurred an increase in supply activity, as the inventory of vacant developed lots rose 3.3 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth. However, single-family housing construction fell 1.8 percent in the second quarter. Texas is still at the top of the market with 16 percent of the national total for permits, though, and Dallas-Fort worth comes in at a strong second to Houston’s permit activity with 3,295. (more…)

Saragosa

Builders of Hope CDC’s affordable condo project in the Bishop Arts District, the Saragosa (seen in the foreground), will make homeowners of Dallasites that might not otherwise be able to afford to enter the market (Photos courtesy 3D Immersion Tours).

As new construction of single-family homes continues to become more expensive, even existing homes in affordable price points can be as fine as hen’s teeth in high-demand areas like the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff. But one community development corporation is aiming to change that — starting with one condo development.

It’s been a steady refrain for almost a year among economists and builders — construction nationally isn’t getting any cheaper, with tariffs, skilled labor shortages, increases in land costs, and increased costs in construction materials. In February, it was almost certainly the consensus at an affordable housing conference at the Dallas Federal Reserve that one entire segment of new single-family home construction — homes priced less than $200,000 — had virtually disappeared from the market. A study in May of the area all but confirmed it. (more…)

Lake Highlands

Apartments like The Trellis (pictured) and others make one zip code in Lake Highlands one of the cheapest areas to live in Dallas, according to new research by Realtor.com.

We know rents are high in Dallas — we’ve written more than a couple of stories about how much it costs to live in the Big D. But where can you consistently find the cheapest rents? Turns out, one zip code in Lake Highlands, in particular, is exactly where you should start hunting.

Realtor.com decided to take a look at several large metros with higher rents and find the most affordable neighborhoods in each — with a few provisos.

The researchers said they began by analyzing median one-bedroom rents as of May by zip code, and then searched neighborhoods within a 45-minute commute to downtown during morning rush hour based on data from Google Maps.

Researchers said they also “made sure crime wasn’t over a certain threshold based on crime data provided by Sperling’s Best Places, a site that collects data on communities across the U.S.” (more…)

Dallas Center for Architecture is Now AD EX with Newly Expanded Vision, Location | CandysDirt.com

The Dallas Center for Architecture has changed its name and expanded its vision, moving to a new location in downtown Dallas and setting its sights on being an integral part of the community. 

DCFA is now AD EX, shorthand for The Architecture and Design Exchange. They are taking new roost in the historic midcentury architectural icon Republic Center with the goal of being both a physical space and mechanism for spurring conversation about walkability, mobility, historic preservation, affordable housing, economic development, and other civic challenges related to architecture and urban design that impact the city. 

“Building on the momentum created over the past ten years, we look forward to AD EX becoming a critical force in an ever-growing conversation on the design and livability of our cities,” says Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of The Architecture and Design Foundation and AIA Dallas. “We believe this storefront space in the middle of a new epicenter for downtown will give us opportunities to reach new audiences. Our hope is that AD EX will inspire our community to see its surroundings differently and imagine new possibilities for design as a solution.”

AD EX’s street-level location in the dense urban core of Dallas and adjacency to downtown’s next planned public park, Pacific Plaza, is intended to break down barriers and facilitate informal exchange of ideas about design and architecture. Its interior space, outside terrace, open floorplan, and floor-to-ceiling windows will showcase design-focused exhibitions, films, book and panel discussions, student workshops, policy symposia, and other programming. 

(more…)