UNT Team

Michael Garza, Jacob Flores, Esther Valero, Bobbie M. Daniels, Dawson Guerrettaz, and Juan Lopez will represent the University of North Texas at the Race to Zero competition.

Green building and design is one of the fastest growing segments of today’s homebuilding market as more and more homebuyers looking to avoid the high energy bills summer’s blazing temperatures often bring.

To train and encourage the green building professionals of tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Energy is hosting 40 teams from 34 schools across the United states, Canada, Norway, and China for its Race to Zero Student Design Competition. And with the guidance and encouragement of the Dallas Builders Association, the University of North Texas’ Association of Construction Engineering Technology will send its very own team to the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo., this weekend.


ARC Logo 2

Previously, I wrote about the winners of the Dallas Builders Association’s annual ARC awards in the kitchen categories.  Now that we’ve had a little nosh, let’s see the winners in the rest of the house. Missed part 1?  Click here!

While there were nine categories dedicated to kitchens, bathrooms didn’t fare so generously with just four categories.  But no fear, that leaves us some space to highlight other winners!

Award Winning $35,000 - $50,000 Bathroom from Kasper Custom Remodeling

Award-winning $35,000 – $50,000 Bathroom from Kasper Custom Remodeling


Tom Greico home AdvocateOur own Tom Greico, one of our select CandysDirt-approved homebuilders — we are kind of picky about these guys, and we interview folks they have built homes for — has a home that was recently featured in the Lakewood/East Dallas Advocate. It belongs to Mike and Donna Webster. And since April is Home Tour month in Dallas, we thought you might want to know their gorgeous Tom Greico home was also inspired by the Dallas Modern Home Tour:




Investing in a home’s curb appeal is a worthwhile investment according to data from the Texas Association of Realtors

Stager Karen Eubank said it best when she told me why some homes were flying off the market and others weren’t: If you’ve upgraded and invested in your home before listing, you’re almost certain to sell. If you haven’t, good luck.

Apparently that’s the advice a lot of Texas homeowners are getting from their Realtors and stagers, because remodeling projects are growing not only more profitable for sellers this year, but more and more Texans are sprucing up their homes and taking on more projects. (more…)

I bet big builders like Lennar Corp., Fort Worth-based D.R. Horton, and Pulte Homes are breathing a collective sigh of relief. According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing starts are up — way up, as a matter of fact — from November 2011.

According to the report, privately owned housing starts are up 21.6 percent year-over-year for November 2012. Housing completions for November are up 16.1 percent over last year, too.

Pair that with a very optimistic column from Dallas Morning News business writer Will Deener. Housing stocks for some of the nation’s largest builders have grown by leaps and bounds over 2012.

“Shares of D.R. Horton, Toll Brothers Inc., Lennar Corp. and other housing stocks are now up more than 50 percent since the year began,” Deener writes in his Dec. 16 column. “These stocks rallied in anticipation of better times in the sector, and that time has apparently arrived. By almost every measure, the housing sector is finally returning to the land of the living.”

We’re hearing that sales of pre-owned homes in many areas of Dallas are up, and that several enclaves are actually seeing home sell for over list price!

So what do you think, is it finally time to tip a glass and celebrate a recovering housing market?

During the Real Estate bubble, Dallas Realtor extraordinaire Della Lively told me every home builder in town was drinking champagne. Then the bubble burst, and now, with the exception of a very few, they can barely afford beer. The real estate downturn sliced and diced home starts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by more than 70 percent. The Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas lost more than a third of it’s members. We don’t know if thinning of the ranks had anything to do with it, but the HBA of Greater Dallas is  even changing their name to a simple, streamlined “Dallas Builders Association.”

I like it! Also note where most of this building took place: Denton County, in-town Dallas (inside LBJ!!), McKinney, Southeast Arlington, Trophy Club, Little Elm and North Fort Worth.

Can you say rebound? Home starts in the D/FW area rose 22 percent in the second quarter of this year from the same period last year, according to Metrostudy Inc. In fact, sales of new homes were up 15 percent from a year ago, they said. In fact, they just may have to tweak forecasts: David Brown, who leads the consulting firms’ Dallas office, says this is the first time in over five years that he has actually had to increase MetroStudy’s forecast for homebuilding activity.

“We expect to see closings continue to increase throughout 2012 given the strong sales during the first half of the year and significant jump in starts during the second quarter, says David.”

They are even happy for once over in Fort Worth: Mitchell Schnurman boasts that last week’s S&P/Case-Shiller Index reported that Dallas-area prices rose in April, the second straight month of solid gains. Prices were 2.8 percent higher than a year ago and are now just 7.9 percent shy of their pre-bust peak. Yeah, we are looking a lot prettier these days. Schnurman says prices have recovered in Dallas more than in any other metro area, and the index for all 20 major cities is still 34 percent off the all-time high. All this is more evidence that the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate market is clawing back faster than most of the country and that it wasn’t hit as hard initially, either.

Still, anything could happen: we have a November election, we have some major tax changes coming in to roost at the end of this year. And don’t get me started on what they are talking about doing in California — that’s for another post!

I’m not ready to call it a Seller’s market. Credit markets are loosening, but still tight. The cost of borrowing is going up. Sure, we are getting multiple offers, but I have not heard of any offers over asking, have you? If you have, please let us know. I do hear of buyers still getting deals, like a $4.2 house for $3.8, stuff like that. But let’s keep open on this because we in Dallas are definitely in the drivers seat!

Here is MetroStudy’s release:

(Dallas, TX – July 5, 2012)


Dallas-Fort Worth New Home Starts and Closings

 Metrostudy reports the Dallas-Fort Worth new home market strengthened during the second quarter. “New home starts and closings were up significantly during the second quarter as a result of strong sales through the spring selling season”, said David Brown, Director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth office. Homebuilders reported strong buyer traffic and sales throughout the first half of 2012. “This was the fourth quarter in a row that starts increased year-over-year and the market gained momentum during the last three months. We are expecting starts and closings to be up substantially again in the third quarter”, said Brown.

Starts were up 22% over the same period a year ago and up 41% over the first quarter. Closings also gained momentum during the second quarter, as the new homes that were sold and started over the last six months were completed. Closings during the second quarter were 15% higher than a year ago and 22% higher than the first quarter. “We expect to see closings continue to increase throughout 2012 given the strong sales during the first half of the year and significant jump in starts during the second quarter. This is the first time in over five years that we may have to increase our forecast for homebuilding activity”, said Brown.

The annual starts pace has now risen to 15,123 homes, 12% higher than bottom of the market in 2009. The starts pace, however, is still 71% below the peak of the market in 2006. Although starts have increased substantially, it is likely to take several years for the homebuilding market to fully recover to a level more typical for the region. “The market is just beginning to recover”, said Brown.

The submarkets with the largest increase in starts during the quarter include the unincorporated areas of Denton County, In-town Dallas (inside LBJ), McKinney, Southeast Arlington, Trophy Club, Little Elm and North Fort Worth.

Even though home starts were up substantially during the quarter, finished new home inventory fell another 15%. There are currently only 2,683 finished vacant homes in Dallas-Fort Worth. “New home inventory is the lowest it has been since the early 1990s, yet the region has about 1.5 million more people”, said Brown. As long as new sales continue in their current trend, starts will continue to grow because inventory is so low.

With both new home inventory and resale inventory low for the region, home prices are expected to increase during the second half of 2012. “We have recorded more price increases on new home floor plan offerings during the last two quarters than any time in the last five years”, said Brown.

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing industry and related industries nationwide. In addition to providing information, the company is recognized for its consulting expertise on development, marketing and economic issues, and is a key source of research studies evaluating the marketability of residential and commercial real estate projects. Services are offered through an extensive network of offices strategically located in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.