Real Estate Story

At $230,000, the house at 9348 Highedge Cir. in Dallas costs about the average for a home here.

With home prices soaring in Dallas, many buyers wonder what it would cost to live in other cities. Turns out, inventory is tight around the nation, not just in North Texas.

In Dallas, the average home price is $230,500, a year-over-year increase of 9.76 percent, according to The means you need an annual salary of $53,824 to buy here—with a 20 percent down payment—and not end up house poor (with a mortgage rate average of 3.61 percent in Dallas, that’s a monthly payment of $1,256). With 10 percent down instead of 20, the required salary increases from $53,824 to $61,581.

What does it cost in 26 other cities around the country? Jump to find out!


Please note: I am curbing my use of the phrase “on fire” these days, when it pertains to homes. Should I slip, please catch me.

August home sales in North Texas surged by 27 percent last month, the biggest gain in more than a year. According to NTREIS,  more than 6,800 pre-owned single-family homes sold last month. That’s just awesome. It was one of the highest totals recorded since those (cough cough) federal homebuying incentives ended in early 2010.

And August was the second month in a row that North Texas has seen double-digit home sales increases from a year earlier. Even condominium and townhouse sales were up in August, by 34 percent from a year earlier. I know Bobby Dhillon sold three units at The House, and Kyle Crews is on fire (no reference to a house) over at The Ritz.

What gripes me is housing analysts saying “oh yes, we knew this was coming.” Quit lying — you did not. Home sales fell for a full year after the buying crush created by the first time homebuyer’s credit. Thing was a disaster except that it was probably the only way I got my kids to move out of my house. At least James Gaines, an economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, is honest. He says he was surprised. Dallas is doing better than the rest of the country in terms of employment and job creation, but people moving here still have to sell their homes. And we are seeing a whole lot more rentals.

“If the pattern continues, we could be up 10 percent or more for the year,” Gaines told Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News. Overall, however, inventory is down.

Here’s where the biggest sales increases were: Carrollton-Farmers Branch (60 percent), northeast Dallas (59 percent) and the Park Cities (49 percent).

August median sales prices were up 54 percent from a year earlier in Oak Cliff , 26 percent in Cedar Hill and 25 percent in Fairview.

I’ve told you about Cedar Hill. Next I’ll tell you about southwest Fort Worth. It’s on fire — hopping!

Fun Perry visit to Bootjack Ranch

Update: At that Vail meeting with Kelcy warren et al, The Daily Beast is now reporting that the Koch brothers compared President Obama to Sadaam Hussein.

He is picking up money like crazy. On the Perry bandwagon now apparently is energy billionaire Kelcy Warren, he of pipeline magnate Energy Transfer Partners, and owner of one of the  most expensive homes in Dallas: 5323 Park Lane. The former home of Joyce and Larry Lacerte has entertained, among others,  former President George W. and Laura Bush,  Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jaap van Zweden, Prince Edward,  Caroline Rose Hunt, among others, plus feted countless Dallas charity galas and pre-galas. 5323 was listed in 2008 for $45 million, then was lowered to just under $40 million. ( Zillow, in it’s infinite wisdom, had it “zestimated” at $26,063,000. Funny.) Warren snapped it up for just under $30 million-ish, and asked for an outside appraisal.  Seller’s agent was precious Ralph Randall, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates. The buyer’s agent was Rosie Waters of Allie Beth Allman and Associates, who is married to football legend Charlie Waters, who I believe works or worked for Mr. Warren.

In late June, the Wall Street Journal reports,  lucky ducks Rick and Anita Perry hopped on Kelcy Warren’s private jet to travel from Mr. Warren’s ranch in southern Colorado, Bootjack Ranch, to Vail, where Mr. Perry spoke to a conservative forum sponsored by Charles and David Koch. Warren, who is a savvy real estate consumer, bought the 3500 acre Bootjack in April 2010 for $46.5 million, or almost half the asking price.

Then there’s Harold Simmons, who gave Perry $1.1 million. But Perry’s biggest contributor to date is home-builder Bob Perry — more on that in a future post. Now here is something that caught my eye and kind of blew me over more than the wind this Labor Day weekend: four of the nation’s ten top income-producing markets for REALTORS are in Texas. In other words, these are the top markets where agents stand the best chance of making a good income selling homes. This should all but guarantee Perry the vote from the National Association of Realtors, and if his campaign is smart, they will pick up on it and promote the hell out of it whether it has anything to do with Perry or not.

Look at this: top ten markets for higher agent income. Number one,  Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. OK, no shocker that agents here do well, really well. They average 5.1 sales per agent in a year for an annual average sales volume of $1.54 million. Median sales prices are $290,000 as Seattle etc. homes are not so cheap. But look at market number two: Arlington/Fort Worth, Texas: 8.3 sales per agent for annual sales volume of $1.17 million. That’s on lower priced homes, too, like $144,000 ish a pop. What made me blink was that of this top ten list, FOUR markets are in Texas. Next Lone Star stud was San Antonio-New Braunfels, 4.3 sales per agent for annual volume of $675,833 on homes that average $158,163. Next up is Dallas-Irving-Plano, at 3.7 sales per Realtor with annual sales volume of $635,661 on homes that average $175,000. And there is one more Texas market where agents do well — yep, that’s Austin-Round-Rock-San Marcos with 3.2 sales per Realtor, $611,660 annual sales volume on average home prices of about $203,125.

In case you don’t click over to the source story, the other markets were Pittsburg, Nashville, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Denver and of course Seattle, which I mentioned first. So basically, Texas and the rest of the non-sinking world.

Like I’m serious. This is ridiculous. The real estate headline in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News says:

“Dallas-area home prices projected to inch lower in coming months”

Inch? Creep? Lean?

“Dallas-area home prices were down almost 5 percent from a year ago in the latest Case-Shiller Index data for May.”
Yes, Case-Shiller. Old data and doesn’t include new home or condo sales.
“And median sales prices of homes sold by agents in North Texas declined again in July. “
But Steve, you also just reported that sales increased 18% when those prices dipped!!!!!

“Fiserv estimates that Dallas-area prices will be down only about 0.3 percent by early 2012. And local home prices will rise a scant 0.5 percent in 2013 — the first full year of increases, according to the forecast.”

Overall, the U.S. housing market is showing signs of stabilizing, David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, said in the report.

Again, keep up the good work and we’ll try for a triple dip! We are not having a party in real estate by any means, but what I hear from my boots on the ground is that inventory is low and Realtors are scrambling to find homes to show. It’s a local story, folks, and we’ve got to quit getting spooked by these broad, national reports.