Dallas earned a gold star for green building! A new report by Abodo.com ranks the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex tops for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified residential building. In fact, Texas leads the nation with the most LEED-certified residential construction projects by a substantial margin. With 6,945 LEED-certified residential projects underway in Texas, more than half of them – 3,797, to be precise – are located in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington. California comes in second with 5,255. Nice work, Big D.

But before we get too excited about our achievements in sustainability, there are other statistics we ought to consider. Abodo cites data from the US Census Bureau showing that in July of 2017 alone, there were 1.16 million residential project starts. Of those, a measly 38,350 are designed to LEED standards.

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The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this. Photo courtesy Shoot2Sell.

The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this, also built by LRO Residential Development.

Spec homes are a sign of strong builder and bank confidence in a market, as they are created without any specific buyer in mind, just the belief that one will be interested once it is completed. The higher the price tag, the higher the stakes.

In our inventory-parched market, homebuilder Les Owens, President of LRO Residential Development, has that confidence in the Dallas market, even at multi-million-dollar levels. He’s starting two spec houses this month, one in Preston Hollow for $3.15 million, and another in Devonshire for $2.2 million.

Both houses are available for customization, but Owens is breaking ground now and says he will complete them in late summer/early fall this year.

As we reported earlier this month, luxury home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth skyrocketed in 2014—those with prices of $1 million and up grew 15 percent year-over-year, the second highest sales volume in Texas (bested only by Houston).

Luxury home sales in DFW represented 1.2 percent of the market, and top-performing luxury brands are seeing more multi million-dollar sales in areas that have strong resale value and high existing demand.

“Established neighborhoods and homes of significance in coveted areas such as Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Greenway Parks, and The Volk Estates are desperately pursued, and the quality of the design continues to be a driving factor,” said Caroline Summers, a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s agent. Jump to read about the houses and see photos!

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Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

If the last year is any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be another banner year for real estate development in Downtown Dallas.

This is according to downtown advocates, urban planners, and real estate and development experts, who gathered Friday to talk about city living in downtown at a panel, sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal.

Moderated by John Crawford, President and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., an advocacy group for Downtown Dallas, the panel shared candid insights into past successes, lessons learned, and where the area is headed in the future.

“There’s a pretty distinct spirit and energy in Downtown Dallas and we’ve reached a point of permanency, as far as what downtown has become,” said Crawford. “Residentially, we continue to be about 94 percent occupancy in all the buildings that have been converted and the new construction and depending on who you talk to, we have between 6,000 and 8,000 units under construction from 2015 to 2017. There’s an urban lifestyle that is continuing to catch on down here.”

Panelists included Theresa O’Donnell, Chief Planning Officer for the city of Dallas; Yogi Patil, an Associate at HKS Architects Inc.; Steve Shepherd of the Downtown Residents Council; and Michael Tregoning, President of Headington Company. Jump to read more!

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Cabana hotel full

A storied property near the Dallas Design District that fell from a swinging night spot and hotel for rock stars in the 1960s to housing for county prisoners and sex offenders in the 1980s and 1990s may be on the rise again.

According to this Dallas Morning News story first reported by Robert Wilonsky, the Dallas County Commissioners Court sold the old Cabana Motor Hotel / Decker Detention Center yesterday to Lincoln Property Company, the third largest residential property manager in the U.S. The property, located at 899 N. Stemmons Freeway, is 399,000 square feet sitting on 3.275 acres of prime real estate northwest of Downtown Dallas. Lincoln paid $8.7 million (half a million less than the county paid for the place in 1985).

While no one from Lincoln or the county will confirm plans for the property, rumor has it that Lincoln intends to create a residential tower and data center. (more…)

Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Home prices in North Texas are up year-over-year, though sales volume is sluggish.

Word comes that for the month of August, Dallas-area home prices posted a fantastic little bump at 7.3 percent year-over-year. Case-Shiller’s Home Price Index report shows enough of an increase in prices to warrant continued optimism among sellers in our burg, where a shortage of inventory and slow-to-catch-up new home builders has made the market for homes in most price ranges very competitive.

That’s one of the highest increases nationwide, and over the national average, too, which is 5.5 percent. According to the report, the median price of a pre-owned, single-family home in North Texas in August is up 7 percent from the same period last year.

But according to a recent report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, total sales are down 2 percent over a year ago. Of course, as sales volume decreases, it’s only natural for the competition over those homes on the market to heat up.

I guess, though, we’re in a fortuitous spot considering that our price increase puts us at 12 percent higher than pre-recession levels, and with inventory as short as it is and job growth still on pace for expansion, there’s no bubble in sight.

What’s your outlook on home prices and inventory?

Inventory Chart TAR q1 2014

Slow growing inventory is choking sales growth and driving prices up in the Dallas real estate market, with only 2.4 months of inventory in the Dallas market — an increase of 0.2 months from last quarter — according to the latest quarterly report from the Texas Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

As a result the median home price in Dallas is up 9.81 percent from the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 6.81 percent from the same time a year ago and the second consecutive quarter our city has seen an increase in home prices. Statewide, inventory grew for the first time in three years, up to 3.6 in the second quarter of 2014 from an all-time low of 3.4 months in the first quarter of this year. Still, inventory is tighter than a pair of skinny jeans after Thanksgiving and continues to pose problems for our market.

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