trees

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, one of the gems of living in Oak Cliff.          Canine Model: Big Turkey

Oak Cliff covers about one third of Dallas, with a lot of variety throughout. You’re probably familiar with the small craftsman homes around Bishop Arts, the historic homesteads of Winnetka Heights, and the eclectic estates of the Kessler neighborhoods. A little further west near Hampton and south of Jefferson you’ll find many neighborhoods like the North Cliff Conservation District: adorable homes with classic architectural details and three key amenities close by.

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3725 Pageant Place

Interstate 635 is a 37-mile-long partial loop around Dallas, but for some Dallasites, it’s a magical dividing line only crossed with great protest. The area located “outside the loop” is considered a vast no man’s land full of scary things, like suburban malaise and way too many Olive Gardens.

For those who subscribe to that sentiment, today’s Tuesday Two Hundred won’t be frightening at all. The house at 3725 Pageant Pl. is a 4-2 located inside the loop near Marsh and Forest lanes, newly listed by Hanne Sagalowsky at Ebby Halliday’s Little White House office for $239,900.

This 1965 ranch is on a cul-de-sac and has 1,805 square feet, a good-sized backyard with mature trees, and a stone patio covered by a large pergola and a spa hot tub.

3725 Pageant Place

The interior has lots of bright, open living spaces, a wood-burning fireplace, and big bedrooms, as well as blonde hardwood floors in living room, dining room, hall, master bedroom, one other bedroom.

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Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Dallas is one of 15 top markets poised to attract baby boomer homebuyers because of an affordable cost of living, sunny weather, and friendly business climate, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR looked at 100 metro areas with lower state taxes (or none at all, as is the case in Texas), stable job market conditions, and strong migration patterns of “leading-edge baby boomers” (those 60-69) moving to that area. By doing this, they predicted which housing markets are likely to see a boost from baby boomers. Cost of living, housing affordability, and housing inventory availability were also factors in their rankings.

For these reasons, Dallas was identified as one of five markets with strong potential for attracting baby boomer homebuyers.

“It comes down to housing affordability, and lower tax rates in the Dallas area and the state as a whole,” said Adam DeSanctis, NAR economic issues media manager. “More boomers after 65 are working, some because they have to, or feel like they have to, but also those that are healthier and want to maintain an active lifestyle. Those [baby boomer] business owners come to Dallas for its dynamic local economy.”

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Dallas Sign Business Insider

 

Photo: Business Insider

We’ve got a low cost of living, a relatively stable job market, affordable real estate (when you can find it!) and an average commute time of just 12 minutes!

Wait … WHAT?

According to Business Insider‘s list extolling all the reasons Dallas is easy on the wallet, most Dallasites have an average commute time that is just a quarter of an hour. Hmmmm…. looks like somebody didn’t check their math, because I’m sure all of the lovely folks parked on North Central Expressway between 7 and 9:30 a.m. and 3 and 6 p.m. would beg to differ.

NORTHCENTRALEXPRESSWAY

 

Photo: Dallas Morning News Transportation Blog

Other than that, BI says our annual personal income is more than $43,000, we rank a 4.8 out of 10 on the “stress scale” (again, they should’ve talked to the folks on North Central!), and our annual job growth is at 2.28 percent.

Dallas came out behind Houston (No. 2) and Minneapolis, Minn., (No. 3). We beat Pittsburgh and St. Lousis to round out the top five. Want to see the whole list? Check it out here.

9829 Coldwater Front

What does $174,000 get you in the Alger Park/Ash Creek area? More than you’d expect!

Marketed by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Justin Easterling, 9829 Coldwater Circle is an amazing value. You get three bedrooms, two full baths, a cool backyard, and you’re super close to White Rock Lake. In case you missed it, this area is on the way up!

9829 Coldwater Living

This home, built in 1955, has 1,560 square feet and has a great open floor plan. Of course, the paint is a little bold for my taste, so I’d probably hire someone to prime and repaint much of the house to help play up the gorgeous hardwood floors.

9829 Coldwater Kitchen

The kitchen has been completely redone with an eat-in island and all-new tile and cabinets. There are stainless steel appliances, too, including that great vent hood that adds a little flair. I also love that there are French doors leading outside the kitchen, and two large windows that let plenty of light into the area.

9829 Coldwater master

The master bedroom is, well, pretty basic. You can’t expect a whole lot from a post-war traditional, but it’s clean and the paint is neutral. There’s plenty of room for an oversized bed, too.

9829 Coldwater bath

Both bathrooms have been remodeled with contemporary fixtures and tile — a great improvement if you have never seen the hideous Dal-Tile that many of these homes were burdened with. Often properties in this area have one full and one half baths, so it’s great to find a home with two full baths that look completely new inside.

9829 Coldwater Backyard

The backyard, which is slightly terraced, has a great little patio and covered area. A creative gardener could do wonders for the landscaping!

Do you know of a home in the $100K price range that is an excellent value? Send them to me at jo@candysdirt.com!

 

9829 Coldwater Front

What does $174,000 get you in the Alger Park/Ash Creek area? More than you’d expect!

Marketed by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s Justin Easterling, 9829 Coldwater Circle is an amazing value. You get three bedrooms, two full baths, a cool backyard, and you’re super close to White Rock Lake. In case you missed it, this area is on the way up!

9829 Coldwater Living

This home, built in 1955, has 1,560 square feet and has a great open floor plan. Of course, the paint is a little bold for my taste, so I’d probably hire someone to prime and repaint much of the house to help play up the gorgeous hardwood floors.

9829 Coldwater Kitchen

The kitchen has been completely redone with an eat-in island and all-new tile and cabinets. There are stainless steel appliances, too, including that great vent hood that adds a little flair. I also love that there are French doors leading outside the kitchen, and two large windows that let plenty of light into the area.

9829 Coldwater master

The master bedroom is, well, pretty basic. You can’t expect a whole lot from a post-war traditional, but it’s clean and the paint is neutral. There’s plenty of room for an oversized bed, too.

9829 Coldwater bath

Both bathrooms have been remodeled with contemporary fixtures and tile — a great improvement if you have never seen the hideous Dal-Tile that many of these homes were burdened with. Often properties in this area have one full and one half baths, so it’s great to find a home with two full baths that look completely new inside.

9829 Coldwater Backyard

The backyard, which is slightly terraced, has a great little patio and covered area. A creative gardener could do wonders for the landscaping!

Do you know of a home in the $100K price range that is an excellent value? Send them to me at jo@candysdirt.com!

 

That’s what I’m hearing about Dallas Real Estate and working to confirm. Washington D.C., and I guess President Obama, are getting their wish. The U.S. is turning into a nation of renters.

Home leasing is up in Dallas by 13%. I WAS TOLD that 2000 of 6000 RE transactions in the first quarter were leases, or about one third, working to confirm with North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. If so, that’s huge for an affordable real estate market like Dallas. Betty Misko at Ebby Halliday says many buyers rent because have no choice: they transfer in to Dallas with homes languishing on the market in other cities, begging for buyers.

And Steve Brown is on this, too. He reports (sub required) that real estate agents are even reporting a shortage of quality lease homes. I am also told by agents there is an overall shortage of inventory — Lakewood’s Scott Carlson is asking for listings. This is gettng to be the story: one M streets-area home was on the home for about a year, which is twice as long as the normal 6 months. But as soon as the “for lease” sign went up out front,  the agent says showings almost tripled.

“There is definitely a shortage of good, quality lease homes,” (real estate agent Darren) Dattalo said. “People that should be buying are leasing instead, but they still want something nice and in the location they would eventually buy in.”

While home sales in North Texas are down about 10 percent so far this year, prices off by 1%, the number of home rentals is up 13 percent, according to statistics from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and NTREIS (North Texas Real Estate Information Systems).

There are only about 4,000 rentals listed with property agents — 10 percent fewer than a year ago, another sign of dwindling inventory.

It is hard to lease a home in Dallas, and getting harder. As one reader emailed recently, why is there not a central site for leases? (One is coming, stay tuned.) Brown says “it takes six weeks to rent a house in North Texas, compared with almost three months to find a buyer.”

I don’t know where he’s getting that three months figure — a healthy market takes six months to move a listing, and we are slightly above that benchmark in Dallas.

It’s true: more high-end properties are now accepting tenants over buyers, since buyers are few and far-between. Many have multiple offers and some are over asking price:

“We had three lease offers on one house in 48 hours,” said Player, who is with Virginia Cook Realtors. “In the past month, I’ve leased three high-end properties.

Experts blame the economy. There’s a lot of uncertainty, says Misko, and with uncertainty comes a lack of desire to commit. Besides, says she, many young people who would be buying first time homes now as they did in 2006 or 2007 don’t have jobs and may be living with their parents. Because of these changes, Misko says all Ebby agents are being trained to handle leases, a less profitable transaction for them than selling a home. Typically,  a lease commission is equal to about one month of the rent, and split between the agents. So even a $9000 lease would net each agent $4500, far less than the 1.5% commission split on the sale of a $1,00,000 home. In California, for example, few real estate agents handle leases. In New York City, apartment leasing agents are considered the dregs of the real estate hierarchy.

Even more shocking: some renters are finding it more expensive to lease than it would cost in mortgage payments to buy a house. But here, too, they are stuck, so they do it.

“If their home has not sold in the city they just came from, they have nothing for a down payment,” says Misko. “And the down payment requirements in general are much larger.”

Stiffer down payment requirements and appraisals — the whole process is so much more cumbersome than it once was. Often getting into a lease home for a couple years is faster than buying.

Here’s the irony: the cost of buying a home in North Texas is at the lowest point in almost a decade, and mortgage rates are so cheap they are practically free. Trulia recently lauded Dallas as one of the cheapest U.S, cities for homes. It costs significantly less to buy a house here than to rent, says Trulia, which, duh, most of us have known for a long time. Remember the guy who bought a home in East Dallas for $12,500? In fact, Trulia found that buying is cheaper than leasing in almost three quarters of the largest U.S. cities. Renters always think that they are free from taxes and home maintenance when they lease, not realizing those costs are covered in their rent and if they increase, so will their monthly rental output. Few landlords are in the business of losing money.

In fact, in a recent Wall Street Journal report, a Sacremento real estate agent spent $500,000 buying four foreclosed homes in California that he has turned to rentals. Investors can cover their monthly costs and are making an average of 8% to 12% profit. I’ll take that over the stock market any day. This has also given rise to real estate investment advisory companies like Cash Cow Investments, which I need to write up one of these days.

Trulia’s Ken Shuman says that homeowners remain on the fence today about renting and buying. For many, there is no choice: home financing is difficult to obtain despite the lowest interest rates in history, larger down payments are demanded, and the nation is in a fog about the housing market. Will prices fall even more? Will the economy ever stabilize? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Mark Dotzour at Texas A&M’s Real Estate Center needs to run for the Oval office, or at least advice the next pres. Here’s his recipe for getting the economy moving:

We are creating such a hostile environment for businesses that we could be in for a long period of economic stagnation in America. What would a business-friendly agenda look like? Well here it is.

Imagine if the President and Congress came out with a bi-partisan plan to:

  1. Repeal the health-care nightmare.
  2. Repeal Dodd-Frank, and come up with 15 pages of meaningful bank reforms.
  3. Tell China to stop manipulating their currency and buy something produced by Americans.
  4. Roll back EPA regulations to 1999 levels.
  5. Roll back all other business regulations to 1999 levels.
  6. Announce an airtight plan to reduce the deficit to zero in seven years.
  7. Lower corporate tax rates to stop companies from fleeing America.
  8. Foreclose on four million homes and sell them to private sector investors.

Dodd-Frank is only going to get worse as regulators come up with 400 new rules. Foreclosures are being held up by fearful banks who do not want to cut the umbilical cord. Those properties could be sold to create much-needed housing for our new renter nation.