If you’re looking for a small-town feel with reasonable access to the Metroplex, head north — and then north a little more — and be sure to tap the breaks when you see the sign that says, “Welcome to Providence Village.”

It’s a bikes-on-the-lawn community where the residents did the heavy lifting to become a town. They pulled together and made it happen in 2010, and your key takeaway from this endeavor? Men and women who care enough about their community and come together to make it better.

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It’s not every day you come across a dreamy, peaceful estate ideally located near sumptuous shopping and dining. Situated on 1.5 acres, this beautiful house in the heart of Southlake is that rare find. But, shhhh … it’s off-market, so not everyone knows it’s up for grabs. Once you see the sprawling green lawn, airy open floor plan, and chic gourmet kitchen, you’ll want to be the one to call it home next.

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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…)

Britannia GroupWhen two Brits get together — each with impressive track records in the real estate market — you can rest assured that their combined market knowledge is a powerful force.

That is very much the case now that Mark Godson and Catherine Thorpe-Lambert have joined forces with Compass Real Estate to form The Britannia Group, combining their decades of experience with what they felt was Compass’ unparalleled Realtor support system.

“We each bring different things, different strengths, and together we are an encyclopedia of knowledge,” Godson said. “I know Dallas and I know the Park Cities  customers like the palm of my hand.”

“I’m up in Argyle, which is semi-rural, and I think people tend to move out here for a little bit more land, a little bit more space, and obviously it’s completely different from the high rises and the close quarters in Highland Park,” said Thorpe-Lambert. “But it’s a really exciting time in Argyle because, in addition to our famous estate and horse properties, we now do have several new subdivisions being developed.”

Together, The Britannia Group is focusing attention on what they call the “Town and Country” properties — properties in uptown, downtown, Turtle Creek and Park Cities, but also those estates and horse properties in Argyle and semi-rural Denton County.

In addition to a network that stretches from the U.K. to Palm Springs, the two agents cumulatively have years of design and remodeling experience as well, which means they can help sellers with every aspect of selling a home, including staging and marketing.

Originally from London, Godson is licensed in both California and in Dallas, where he’s had seven years and 26 years of experience, respectively. He’s worked with some of the top brokerage firms in Dallas, and has sold some of the best, and priciest,  dirt in the Park Cities: two mansions on Rheims Place, including the Worthington Estate, and one on University Boulevard he sold to a prominent Dallas family the first day he listed it. He has sold several homes in Greenway Parks, Uptown, Preston Hollow and even downtown Dallas.

He’s lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years, primarily in Palm Springs and Newport Beach, California, and in Dallas. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design from Chelsea School of Art, is a Grade II UK-approved remodeler in England, and the recipient of several awards, including a Restoration Award.

“My background is in interior design and restoration and that’s what got me to the U.S. many, many years ago,” Godson said. “I was brought in to consult on an estate in Highland Park.”

“I’ve done some amazing houses in the Park Cities — taken older homes and painstakingly and lovingly restored them. A lot of them are still standing, which is kind of cool that what we did probably kept them from being bulldozed down. Homes are the historical footprints of a society.”

Godson said that the duo’s background in restoration has been most attractive to sellers, too.

“I think also my knowledge of restoration and reviving older homes makes me a more in-demand agent. We’ve got a fantastic 1930s Spanish house coming up sometime this year which is incredible, by the way — that’s been restored to the max,” he says. ”I think that’s why owners choose to use us, because they know that we understand restoration. I think that gives them a better feel, our knowing what goes into restoring a home both from a pricing perspective as well as purchase. Because in England we don’t tear down houses, we restore them.”

That mutual love of restoration and real estate actually brought the two agents together in the first place.

“So my background is in restoration, and I used to buy a house, redo it, and then sell it. And that’s how we met — I built a house, and Catherine bought it,” he added.

Thorpe-Lambert has three decades of experience buying, selling, and renovating homes in Park Cities, Lakewood, Argyle, Bartonville, and even along the coast of Maine.  She decided to become a Realtor, and then partner with Godson.

Born in England, she was trained as a podiatrist, graduating from the University of Huddersfield, School of Podiatry. The U.S. has been home for almost 30 years now, and Thorpe-Lambert currently lives in Argyle with her family.

A lifetime equestrian who rides through Grand Prix Dressage, she is also well versed in what horse owners (or potential horse owners) are looking for when they desire equestrian-friendly properties.

“Well that’s primarily why I moved out there, because I’ve been around horses my entire life, and have ridden for years and years,” Thorpe-Lambert told us. “For a while, I owned my own boarding, training, and dressage facility.  And I did training as well. And with its sandy loam soil, Argyle was the perfect place to call home for my family and my horses.”

Sandy loam soil? Godson and Thorpe-Lambert know their inventory from the dirt up, quite literally. Both believe potential clients will see the combined British force as an asset when it comes to buying and selling homes.

“We have a great history together, we work well together, we bring a lot of knowledge to the table,” Godson said. “That’s why we’re the Britannia Group.”

Each partner has worked with numerous brokerages over the years, so why choose Compass for their new partnership? (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…)

voting

Issues with electronic voting systems statewide has some comparing the situation to a plotline from the ABC series “Scandal.”

As record numbers of voters hit the polls during early voting, reports statewide and locally have begun to trickle in regarding malfunctions in electronic voting machines.

In some areas, like Harris County, voters have reported that their votes for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke were changed to incumbent Ted Cruz when they voted straight party ticket.

Writer Leah McElrath, who voted in Harris County, detailed what she saw in a series of tweets.

 

Martha Merino told me that she voted at the Friendswood City Hall, and experienced the same thing.

“I voted straight ticket and it did that to me. I then found checked, triple checked before I cast my ballot,” she said.

Another reader told me her husband attempted to vote straight Democrat Tuesday morning in Richardson, and it switched to straight Republican. They alerted an elections judge, she said. Collin and Dallas counties do not use the same system that has been blamed for many of the issues. (more…)