Manufacturing jobs posted higher numbers, and wages increases provided high points in the June 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When it comes to buying a home in hot North Texas markets, what’s holding a lot of buyers back — besides inventory — is income. With so much of a recent graduate’s paycheck going toward exorbitant student loans, and with many families making the tough choice of forgoing homeownership so one parent can stay home with young children, income stagnation is a huge issue. 

So it was heartening to hear that after months of slow-to-zero wage growth in the US, now nine years removed from the Great Recession, that non-farm payroll got a significant boost. Tempering the good news was a contraction in the retail industry, driving up employment to 4 percent.

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There’s been a pretty steady drumbeat from leading economists — a recession is coming. In fact, at this month’s National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism convention, all three economists on a dais one Friday found themselves agreeing on two things: a recession is coming, and real estate won’t be the impetus this time.

Frank Nothaft (Corelogic chief economist), Danielle Hale (economist with Realtor.com), George Ratiu (research director with the National Association of Realtors), and Aaron Terrazas (senior economist with Zillow) all agreed that other factors — like tariffs, rising mortgage rates, and even a correction in the stock market — will likely be the cause or causes for a recession. (more…)

Confidence among home improvement professionals is booming. After a quarterly survey of thousands of remodelers, carpenters, painters, plumbers and roofers, the HomeAdvisor Farnsworth Index reports that over three-quarters of those home improvement professionals feel highly confident in their business prospects over the coming year. The survey was administered between May 11 and May 26 to professionals in 13 categories. According to the survey, 77.5 percent of professionals expressed confidence that their businesses will grow in the next 12 months. Landscaping and mechanical companies foresee the most revenue growth.

The report tells us what we already know about this time of year. The number of home improvement projects rose this quarter, and professionals are busier than ever for spring and summer. According to HomeAdvisor, both the number and size of projects has increased in the first half of 2017. (more…)

Immigrant

Second only to California, Texas hosts largest immigrant population in the United States. And in Dallas-Fort Worth alone, more than 1.2 million immigrants make their homes, hold jobs, attend schools, and participate in local communities. An integral part of the DFW economy, immigrants contributed $8.4 billion in taxes and over $25 billion in spending power in 2014 alone, according to a recent study.

But action of late by the Trump Administration, including discriminatory travel bans, ramped-up deportation raids, and even wall-related rhetoric are forcing many to reassess their places here, particularly when it comes to buying property.

An article published last month in The Guardian cited a 2013 study which put, in stark terms, the potential national impact anti-immigrant action could have on real estate.

[Dowell Myers, director of the Population Dynamics Research Group at the University of California] estimated that in this decade, immigrants nationwide will account for 32.2% of the growth in all households, 35.7% of growth in homeowners and 26.4% of growth in renter households.

The study found that the volume of growth in foreign-born homeowners has increased each decade, rising from 0.8 million added immigrant homeowners in the United States during the period from 1980–1990 to 2.8 million in the current decade.

“It’s pretty clear what will happen,” warns Myers. “One way that people afford houses is by pooling incomes. So if you were to deport one of the three mortgage payers, that can destabilize the whole rest of the household. Immigrants are so interwoven into many communities that when you unravel one thread, you can destabilize it entirely.”

Could DFW experience that kind of destabilization? Possibly.

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If you feel like everyone you know has gotten into the flipping game, your instincts are correct. According to 2016 Year-End U.S. Home Flipping Report by ATTOM Data Solutions, the number of folks making a living from house flipping reached a nine-year high last year. Data shows that in 2016, 126,256 individuals and corporate entities flipped homes — the highest number since 2007.

Low housing inventory and an influx of capital meant the number of properties flipped in 2016 reached peaks not seen since 2006. And the report shows profits from house flipping are also at an all-time high, with the average return on investment hovering at 49.2 percent.

Interestingly, the study lists 39 zip codes where at least 20 percent of all home sales during the year were home flips – including zip codes in Texas.

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Courtesy: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Baby Boomers dominate renovation spending. Courtesy: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Don’t be misguided by what you see on HGTV. The renovation market is not being driven by young couples out to feather their first nests. According to a report released by Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Baby Boomers, motivated by changing accessibility needs, currently spend more money than any other generation on housing renovations – and will continue to do so over the next several years.

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Their clothing and shoes (and jewelry! yes jewelry!) make us happy, but a little doom and gloom is hanging over Neiman Marcus after the retailer’s Tuesday morning earnings call this week. And if you are in the business of pushing luxury products, like million dollar homes or vacation homes, you pay attention. The take-aways: it’s been a challenging Q2, lowest oil prices in a decade definitely impacted Texas, home to Neiman’s largest volume stores, and more of their customers are turning to the internet to shop. Other factors that kept people from spending and challenged holidays sales were the skiddish stock market and strong U.S. dollar limiting international tourists in key store markets.

First of all, Neiman’s fiscal year ends in July. The company has been struggling. In October, Neimans announced layoffs for 500 employees, or 3 percent of its workforce.

Also in October, Neimans said it would delay the initial public offering it filed for in August, 2015.

For the all important 13 week period that ended Jan. 30, which includes the shop-rich cha-ching Christmas shopping season, Neimans experienced a 2.3 percent dip in revenue. Cyber Monday shopping on November 30, their highest volume day, was 9% higher than 2014. And when comparing fiscal 2015 to recent sales for the first half of this fiscal year, things are looking down. The company reported total revenues of $2.65 billion for the 26 weeks ended Jan. 30,  a 2.1 percent decrease over fiscal 2015. Clearly, low oil prices are taking their toll on the luxury shopper’s paradise. (more…)

Chinese investment firm Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. is spending $1.3 billion to buy massive oil fields in the Permian Basin area of Texas. Photo: Paul Lowry via Creative Commons

Chinese investment firm Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. is spending $1.3 billion to buy massive oil fields in the Permian Basin area of Texas. Photo: Paul Lowry via Creative Commons

A Chinese investment firm has its sights set on West Texas as they declare their intent to spend $1.3 billion (8.3 billion yuan) to buy massive oil fields in Howard and Borden counties. This purchase is part of a trend of Chinese interest in U.S. energy resources.

Read the whole story over on MidlandDirt.com!