By Lisa Ferguson
Special Contributor

The 2019 Celina Garden Tour, an exclusive showcase of eight private home gardens and area wineries, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

This popular biennial event, hosted by the Celina Garden Club, drew hundreds of attendees from throughout North Texas in 2017. The self-guided tour will be presented rain or shine.

“Our tour homes are full of gardening glory,” Celina Garden Club President Lynn Balint said. “This year, we have a couple of repeat venues because they were so much fun and their gardens were spectacular.  We have also recruited some outstanding new venues.”

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McKinneyTo say the W.D. Smith home in McKinney, built in 1902, has been around for a great deal of North Texas history is an understatement — from its early beginnings as a farmhouse to its life as an abode for an alleged bootlegger and later as home to a McKinney mayor, the quintessential Victorian farmhouse has stood on College Street for seemingly forever.

And now the home where even the trees are historic (no lie — they were planted in 1908 and are recognized by the Texas Historical Tree Coalition) is on the market, listed just three days ago by Leah Graybeal Ashley with the Browne + Douglas Group.

“It was erected in 1905 by W. D. Smith, who was a well-known businessman, rancher, cattle trader, farmer and large landowner in Collin County,” Cathy Browne (the Browne in Browne + Douglas) told us last week. “At one time, the Mayor of McKinney lived there and there is also a story involving this house and the notorious gangsters, Bonnie and Clyde.” (more…)

Browne + DouglasWhen the dynamic duo of Cathy Browne and Beth Douglas joined forces as Browne + Douglas Group last year, it was expected that the two — long known for being top-producing Ebby Halliday agents — would do big things from their home base at the company’s state-of-the-art offices in Allen.

Between the two, they have 25 years of combined experience in a busy North Texas real estate market. But recently, they added two more agents — Leah Graybeal Ashley and Howard R. Roth.

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If you picture a 6,000-square-foot home on a sprawling ranch with a barn and chicken coop to boot, you probably aren’t thinking Plano. However, the recently updated home at 3745 Morton Vale Road is exactly that — an immense, rustic retreat in the middle of one of North Texas’s fastest growing areas.

The gated 12-acre farm is just off Parker Road, a mere six minutes from Central Expressway. It is neighbored by Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve, home of the annual Plano Balloon Festival. The popular park features over 800 acres of open space, hiking and riding trails, and a small amphitheater. There’s even a zip-line park hidden under the treetop canopy.

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relocationTexas welcomed 524,511 new residents in 2017, and 230,118 of them found homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area, the latest Texas Relocation Report from Texas REALTORS® revealed.

The report, which was released on Valentine’s Day, analyzed migration data from the U.S. Census Bureau and U-Haul, found that Texas ranked second in the nation for relocation activity in 2017, and the DFW area was the spot most people relocated to.

“Texas remained a hotbed of relocation activity in 2017 due in part to our diverse job opportunities, record-breaking housing market and booming economy,” Tray Bates, 2019 chairman of Texas REALTORS®, said in a statement. “This is the fifth year in a row that Texas has gained more than 500,000 new residents from out of state and we anticipate that trend will continue in the coming years.” (more…)

ALICE

More than 40 percent of Texans are one even minor catastrophe away from being unable to afford even the most basic needs, the United Way’s report on asset limited, income constrained, employed (or, ALICE) households revealed last week.

The most recent ALICE report looks at how many in each state and county lived below its threshold in 2016.

“The ALICE Threshold is the bare-minimum economic survival level that is based on the local cost of living in each area,” the United Way said. The average person that falls under that threshold earns above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford even the most bare-bones of budgets that account for housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and necessary technology.

Statewide, about 42.1 percent have a hard time making ends meet, the report revealed, which is a much larger number than the state’s 14 percent poverty rate. (more…)

median home prices

From staff reports

While Dallas County’s median home value was lower than the national average, two other North Texas counties had median home prices that were much higher, new data visualizations from the National Association of Realtors revealed.

The report applied data from the American Community Survey and the FHFA’s House Price Index growth to calculate the median home prices for 3,119 counties in the United States.

“Nationwide, we estimated that the price of a typical home was $235,000 in the third quarter of 2018,” the NAR report said. “Based on our estimates, 87 percent of counties had a lower median home value than the national level.” (more…)

Christmas lights

As Christmas creeps closer, and the nights get longer, you can ask just about any North Texan — checking out the homegrown light displays in various neighborhoods is as much a tradition as tamales and NorthPark Santa.

But do you worry you’re missing out on a great neighborhood? Or are you new to the area, and don’t have the skinny on the great displays? Fear not — CandysDirt.com staffers have been quizzing readers, scouring the Internet, and strapping jingle bells on our gumshoes to find some of the best neighborhood and city-led decoration displays in Dallas-Fort Worth.

And thanks to one of our favorite luxury Realtors, Christy Berry with Compass, and CandysDirt.com, you can check out our list of great cruising spots this holiday season. Think you might want to find a house in a neighborhood that embraces their inner Clark Griswold, or maybe something a little uh, more Martha Stewart? Stay tuned, because Christy has a listing to share that could get you right in the middle of Christmas central. (more…)