Amazon’s announcement that it would hike its minimum wage to $15 company-wide came on the heels of a Dallas-related announcement (no, not THAT one) last week that will add about 1,500 new jobs in west Dallas (photo courtesy Flickr).

Wednesday, Amazon announced that it would adopt a $15 minimum wage company-wide, and the news couldn’t have been more welcome for Dallas city councilman Omar Narvaez, who had a prime Amazon announcement of his own last week.

“Breaking District 6 News,” he wrote on Facebook. “Thank you to my colleagues for unanimously approving the following economic development deal for D6.”

That deal? A new Amazon distribution warehouse at Chalk Hill Road and I-30, bringing 1,500 full-time jobs to the area. (more…)

As our most-trusted mortgage expert told us in last week’s Mortgage Report, there was news on the way that could definitely influence the bond market. Those indicators were the PCE, one of the Fed’s favorite measures of inflation, and of course Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s comments. 

As expected, the bond market had a bit of a run up, says Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage), the senior mortgage adviser at the nation’s oldest private lender, Wallick & Volk. What does that mean for you? Find out in this week’s episode — the 75th! — of the Mortgage Report with BobMortgage.

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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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Dashboard 1

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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