buyer-friendlyHow big of a shift to a more buyer-friendly housing market did DFW make? What locals were appointed to a TREC advisory committee? What is MetroTex up to?

We have all this and more with this week’s roundup of real estate news.

Market Shifts to Buyer-Friendly

As DOM and days of inventory begin to lengthen slightly, the housing market in North Texas has shifted — slightly — to a more buyer-friendly one, research by Trulia revealed.

“Beyond the pricey West Coast, markets including Denver and Dallas – both often destinations for those moving away from the West Coast – have also shifted in favor of buyers over the past year, though less dramatically,” the report said. (more…)

Even though housing sales in Texas fell 3.2 percent, demand is still strong, the Texas A&M Real Estate Center’s June Housing Insight revealed. The same report revealed that Dallas’ affordable housing problems aren’t anywhere close to abating.

The report said that the Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index reached its highest level since 2008 last month, largely thanks to construction employment and wages. The index measures current construction activity in the state.

Housing shortages seem to have spurred an increase in supply activity, as the inventory of vacant developed lots rose 3.3 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth. However, single-family housing construction fell 1.8 percent in the second quarter. Texas is still at the top of the market with 16 percent of the national total for permits, though, and Dallas-Fort worth comes in at a strong second to Houston’s permit activity with 3,295. (more…)

Even as the price of new-builds in Dallas remains largely stagnant, a report last month suggests that housing affordability will remain a primary concern for the foreseeable future. According to Metrostudy, the area’s low housing inventory streak continues unabated, and the median home price inches ever upward, reaching $320,600 last quarter. Resale prices of homes show no signs of slowing and new home starts in the $200,000 or under price range have become relics of the past.

“New homebuyers are stretched to the limit of what they can afford,” said Paige Shipp, Director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Ft Worth market. Tell us about it.

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Millennial-Homeownership-Affordability

Skyrocketing prices and appraisals are good news for Dallas homeowners who want to sell, but what about those who want to buy? According to data just released by Apartment List, 79 percent of Millennials who are renting would prefer to own a home, but cite high prices as the biggest barrier to homeownership.

The data, which comes from 30,000 Millennial renters surveyed by Apartment List, shows that those who want to own a home are putting off their purchase until at least 2018. But if housing prices continue to rise, could the affordability gap grow, too?

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Real Estate Story

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including our ability to build wealth.

That’s according to a new study by Bankrate that surveyed the the 18 largest metro areas in the U.S. according to how strong of an environment they provide for making and saving money. Houston ranked No. 1, and Dallas ranked No. 6.

The rankings were created after consulting with experts on which factors should be considered in a conversation about wealth. Here’s what the experts told them were the biggest contributors:

  • After-tax, savable income: This is what’s left over after taxes and necessary expenses. It’s what you could sock away in an interest-bearing account.
  • The job market: Can workers find jobs at competitive wages?
  • Human capital: Can residents find educational opportunities to help advance their careers and earn more money later?
  • Access to financial services: Do people have access to financial products that allow them to invest, save and borrow efficiently?
  • The local housing market: For better or for worse, homeownership is a key way Americans build wealth. If a local housing market is struggling, it can be harder for prospective homebuyers to get a mortgage and for homeowners to accumulate equity.

Other factors considered included participation rates for retirement plans like 401(k)s, a major wealth-building tool for middle-class households. As they noted, “whether or not an employer offers one has a lot to do with the city, both in terms of culture (whether employers think it’s the right thing to do) and supply and demand.”

“If you’re in an area where the unemployment rate is very low, then the employers have to compete for you, and part of how employers compete for you is they offer benefits and they offer retirement plans,” Christian Weller, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Boston, told Bankrate. “Employers do compete on a regional level, on a city level, for talent.”

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Photo courtesy of Ray Bodden

Photo courtesy of Ray Bodden through a Creative Commons license

Texas is the place to be for economic prosperity and job growth, which in turn has made our real estate market one of the best in the nation, according to the 2014 Texas Annual Housing Report, released this week by the Texas Association of Realtors.

Nearly every area of real estate in the Lone Star State continues to get bigger and better, some of it astoundingly so, the report shows. Most notably, growth has happened in luxury home sales, international home buying, relocation activity, condominium sales, and remodeling trends.

“It’s a great time to live in Texas. The high demand for Texas real estate is not being fueled by speculation and investment activity—it’s driven by the thousands of people who move to the Lone Star State daily,” said Dan Hatfield, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors. “People are moving to Texas from across America and around the world to take part in our state’s booming economy, business-friendly environment, and quality of life.” (more…)

VC Fireplace Web

Light Farms is a new home development in Celina that has been making waves for it’s community style and amenities. Still, many developers are slow to pull the trigger on new homes despite high demand.

Last week’s National Association of Real Estate Editors spring conference in Houston hosted a home building panel featuring Metrostudy’s Brad Hunter, David Weekley Homes CEO John Johnson, and Trendmaker Homes CEO Will Holder. While the panel was supposed to discuss the “boom” in homebuilding, the end result was a dissection of what fuels (or what’s not fueling, to be more precise) home building in America, and the takeaway was what trends and features consumers expect from home builders in the 21st century.

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Top 10 Markets for First Time Homebuyers

North Texas is a hot area for first-time homebuyers, says Realtor.com in a new ranking released today. The data, pulled from Realtor.com searches and U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, ranks the Fort Worth-Arlington MSA fourth and the Dallas MSA eighth in their list of top 10 markets for first-time homebuyers. Pittsburgh, Pa.; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.; and Philadelphia, Pa.; were the top three markets for first-timers to buy.

“As we head into home buying season, these markets show favorable conditions for first-time buyers, which is encouraging because these buyers are crucial to the housing market,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc. operator of Realtor.com. “First-time buyers have a widespread impact on the local housing markets. In transitioning from renters to owners, new buyers pay property taxes and other fees and taxes associated with homeownership that benefits local schools and services.” (more…)