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…)

From Staff Reports

With lumber tariffs already adding more than $6,000 to the price of every new home in Dallas, President Trump’s decision this month to escalate the trade conflict with China has builders bracing for more challenges to housing affordability. This decision could wind up imposing a $2.5 billion tax increase on residential construction, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Trump announced he is moving immediately to impose 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, including $10 billion of goods used by the home building industry. This 10 percent levy represents a $1 billion tax increase on residential construction. Making matters even worse, the tax hike will rise to $2.5 billion on Jan. 1 when the president said the tariff rate will jump to 25 percent if the two nations have not resolved their differences by year end. If China retaliates, Trump has vowed to place tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of imports. The NAHB has strongly opposed this move.

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Dallas does everything big — including commutes.

According to a new Apartment List study, examining commuter data from 2005 and 2016, one in 45 commuters in the Dallas metro are “super commuters,” traveling 90 or more minutes to work each day, and the prevalence of super commuting is on the rise. The share of Dallas commuters who are making super commutes increased from 1.8 percent in 2005 to 2.2 percent in 2016, a 22.3 percent increase.

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While overall homeownership rates are shrinking, the decrease is far more pronounced for some minorities, especially black Americans. That’s the takeaway from a recent report from ApartmentList.

This racial divide underscores the increasing inequality that plagues the United States. By building equity, homeowners accumulate wealth, leading to the striking fact that the net worth of the average homeowner is 36 times more than that of the average renter. This makes it all the more troubling that minorities are less likely to own homes, particularly as their share of the population grows. The share of white households in the U.S. is currently 61.8 percent, down from 80.5 percent in 1980, and the Census Bureau projects that more than half of the American population will belong to a minority group by 2044.

In Dallas, one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in Dallas, the homeownership gap for minorities has decreased by 1.8 percent, but black Americans are still worse off than fellow ethnic minorities.

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The picture of a Texas homebuyer has changed distinctly over the last year. According to a report released last week by the Texas Association of Realtors, Texan households are more diverse than ever, representing a growing array of ethnic backgrounds, ages, family statuses, and socioeconomic groups.

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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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Homes-sold-home-for-sale-report

For the second year in a row, Texas home sales hit an all-time high. According to the 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report released by the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR), both home sales and home prices reached record highs last year.

In a statement released by the TAR, Chairman Vicki Fullerton said, “Last year’s record home sales activity was fueled from the momentum of multiple years’ strong job and population growth across the state, despite the fact that Texas job and economic growth began to slow in 2016.”

According to the report (available in full here), median home prices rose 7.7 percent in 2016, to $210,000. Home sales volume increased 4.6 percent, to 324,924 homes sold. Average days on market held steady from 2015 at 58 days. Active listings grew six percent last year.

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