A 16,000-square-foot distribution center is under construction in Farmers Branch, statewide employment is on the rise, the W.T. Waggoner Building will be converted into a hotel, and squatters are taking over iBuyer self-tours, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

A 16,000-square-foot distribution center is under construction in Farmers Branch, statewide employment is on the rise, the W.T. Waggoner Building will be converted into a hotel, and squatters are taking over iBuyer self-tours, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.



The Dallas-Fort Worth metro came in fifth in a ranking of best travel destinations in the U.S. (Courtesy WalletHub)

Texas will add almost 300,000 jobs this year according to the Dallas Fed, the Offices Two at Frisco Station topped out recently, and DFW ranked fifth overall in a recent ranking of best summer travel destinations. We have details in this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Texas Will Add 294,100 Jobs In 2019, Dallas Fed Says

Texas will add 294,100 jobs in 2019, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas forecast recently. Texas employment will jump by 2.3 percent, reaching 12.9 million by December 2019. (more…)

home vacanciesDallas has fewer home vacancies than the national average, the Dallas Fed announced a new hire, and the Inclusive Communities Project is hosting a Latino Urbanism discussion.

We have the details in this week’s roundup of real estate news. (more…)

Dallas FedThe Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas issued its report on the Dallas-Fort Worth economy, The Real Estate Council named its new leaders for 2019, and the Zweig Group tapped a new COO, all in this week’s roundup of real estate news.


The Dallas-Fort Worth economy expanded at a modest pace, while jobs growth was subdued in November, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reported on New Year’s Eve.

“Overall, the DFW economy remains solid, with 2 percent annualized job growth year to date (nearly 68,000 jobs),” the report said. “Home sales fell for the second straight month in November, and inventory ticked up but remains tight. House price appreciation has moderated, particularly in Dallas.” (more…)

Here’s the good news: Foreclosures are declining in North Texas. Steve Brown (sub. required) reports today that lenders foreclosed on more than 7,800 D-FW homes during the first half of 2011, using figures from the folks in the know, Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. Looking over the past three years of hell we have experienced, that’s more than a 10 percent drop in foreclosures from the first half of 2010 and even better, a 25 percent drop from the same period in 2008, says Steve: And here are the words that make my day:

 “It was the lowest total for the first six months in more than four years.”

Then D’Ann Petersen, a business economist over at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said “The housing market is still wobbly, but it does appear to have reached a bottom.”

Those of us who live “in the bubble” always wonder where are these foreclosures concentrated? The answer is the far-out suburban areas. Foreclosure rates are highest in  Collin County suburb cities like Celina, Anna, Princeton, Lavon and Little Elm in Denton County. Rates are also higher in the south side suburbs of Lancaster, Glenn Heights and Forest Hill southeast of Fort Worth, plus Blue Mound and, ironically, Fate in Rockwall County.

I recall writing a story about how great life was in Fate not that long ago. But a recent story in The Huffington Post reports that suburbs are catching up to the major cities when it comes to poverty. Though cities still have nearly double the rate of poverty as suburban areas, the number of people living in poverty in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas increased by 53 percent between 2000 and 2010, as compared to an increase of 23 percent among city-dwellers, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of recently released census data. In 16 metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Dallas and Milwaukee, the suburban poor has more than doubled over the last decade.

Steve Brown reports that, in the first part of 2011, the loans that ended up in foreclosure averaged 6 years old on homes valued at about $122,581. The average tax assessment value was $141,199 for the properties sold at foreclosure auction. The houses were about 1900 square feet in size. All this jives with what I said last show on KXAS-Nonstop Nightly: most of the homes in foreclosure are at $200,000 and under.

Could the worst be behind us? We know some lenders have delayed home foreclosures this year, so it may not be Miller Time just yet. Some experts predict that foreclosure volumes could rise later this year and into 2012.

But the guru of real estate in Texas, that being my hero Dr. James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, does think the worst may be behind us. Still, Jim Saccacio, president of the nationwide foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac, doesn’t think Texans are out of the woods YET. Thank God we live in Texas. Experts here think the impact of foreclosures here will be far less severe than elsewhere. In affluent neighborhoods, home sales and prices are stabilizing and I know of at least one home that appraised for more than asking price! At least three homes written about on this blog are under contract or have sold. The only truly slow go area I know of in Dallas is the Turtle Creek condos. I’m chasing a rumor that a man from China bought an entire floor at the new Museum Tower.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will be briefed on a proposed map that the city’s redistricting commission approved. And there is going to  be a you-know-what show, I am sure.

The plan essentially adds a Hispanic district, giving Hispanics a total of four, plus the potential of winning one more district in which a Hispanic candidate could win a seat.

Naturally, our Hispanic community leaders think the compromise is great and accurately reflects what the new Dallas will look like for the next decade. And it may accurately reflect what the city looks like now. From the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: “Hispanics are by far the fastest growing segment of the population. During the 1990s, Texas’ Hispanic population grew at a pace of 54 percent, adding more than 2.3 million people. As a result, Hispanics now make up 35 percent of the state’s population, compared with roughly 14 percent at the national level.[4] Among states, Texas has the country’s second- highest Hispanic population, behind only California.” Acccording to the Fed, the foreign-born population share in Dallas has increased 150%. Hispanic leaders, including Elba Garcia, whose darling home is pictured here, voted against the last redistricting plan, complaining it did not do enough to reflect those population spikes. That plan created only three districts where Hispanics were a clear majority. That’s the map we live with today: six districts where whites are predominant and four in which blacks are predominant. And that’s where the trouble will start: the new map’s turns parts of  Pleasant Grove into a Hispanic district. And it melds council members and political arch enemies Dwaine Caraway and Vonciel Jones Hill into the same Oak Cliff district.

The city has to redraw district lines every 10 years to reflect demographic changes in the city. The U.S. Department of Justice has final approval. And thank GOD for that.

This is the same city council that brought us a property tax increase last year, and remains, in my opinion, divisive and a bunch of adversaries who tend to focus on what they can do for themselves, not the city. All they want to do is grab as much as they can from the city budget and let the “rich” — that is, anyone north of Highland Park, pay for it.

As I said on DallasDirt last year when I opposed the tax increase: keep that up, and soon you will lose your rich. They will leave, pack up and move as much as possible to Park Cities with lower taxes and quality schools, lower crime, or north to Plano, Richardson and McKinney.

Apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but in fact, I hate our 14-1 system and find it basically dysfunctional. It converted the city council from 15 people working together for the good of the city and being forward-focused towards solutions and growth to what we have now: gridlock. Or Washington, D.C. As a reader put it to me recently in an email, “the Dallas City Council became the world’s worst micromanagers, meddling in microscopic details in the Departments’ operations and seeking to get relatives and constituents jobs and contracts for the same.”


“Instead of only reporting to the city manager, each Department head now had 16 bosses, an impossible situation,” he wrote.

“The Departments turned a deaf ear to residents, responding only to inquiries from city council persons, whose job went from looking ten to twenty years in the future for the collective good of the city into replicating the job of an administrative assistant. ”

We manage this city by crisis mode, hence our high property taxes. So the initial question: how will this redistricting plan affect Dallas real estate values? If this new plan brings on a spirit of cooperation on the council and abolishes turf wars, erases the notion that every deficit must be paid for by North Dallas with increased taxes, I think it will help. If not, well, we sure don’t need anything else to HURT with property values. Washington, D.C is doing it’s own number on that one.

Welcome your thoughts, and tell me if you disagree!