You could say that either Politico didn’t look at the Lone Star State closely enough, or that we don’t have any mayors qualified enough to fit their bill.  And what exactly is that bill? Mayors who overcome the multitudes of negative dynamics facing our cities today. Who are these people, miracle workers? After you read the article, tell us what you think. I’m a little surprised they could not find ONE great mayor in Texas. But there definitely is a correlation between strong real estate markets and strong local leadership.

(And if that doesn’t make Dallas residents get off their butts to vote, I don’t know what will.)

All of these dynamic mayors are interesting people from diverse backgrounds — couple of Rhodes scholars in there — who are making their cities better places to live and buy homes. A few have higher political aspirations — as many have said our Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings did before President Trump messed up his plans. The thing is, all cities have problems and the mayor’s job is a tough one — balancing opposing voices, battling crime, violence, drugs and homelessness; attracting or creating affordable housing; spurring economic development and managing growth. Plus new battles have emerged since the presidential election, with immigration reform at the top. I think this quote from the profile of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who apparently has presidential aspirations, is almost a theme: (more…)

Not_So_Empty_Nests_Graphic2

We already know that, due to factors like job availability and housing affordability, Millennials enter the housing market later than any other previous generation. But a surprising number of 18 to 34 year olds aren’t just not buying their first homes, they’re still living at home.

Millennials represent the most diverse, best-educated segment of our society. They’re also the largest, making up nearly a third of the current population. But according to a recent study by ABODO, they’re also the most reluctant to leave the nest.

“This generation of 18- to 34-year-olds is more likely to be living with their parents than to be in any other living situation — such as cohabitation with a spouse or significant other, or living alone or with roommates — for the first time in more than 130 years.”

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Millennial Homebuyers

Nationally, about half of American homebuyers are under 36, according to the latest study on consumer trends from Zillow, putting them squarely in the Millennial camp, born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Mail surveys from the National Association of Realtors indicate that first timers account for about 32 percent of all buyers, and Dallas Builders Association member builders ranked Millennials behind Generation X and Baby Boomers as their most common buyer in a recent survey.

The contrasting studies may be related to the methodology, but the Zillow study provides optimism about Millennial homebuyers.

Millennials have been slow to buy their first house—housing economists call this “delayed household formation” and cite it among Millennials as one of the biggest reasons we saw a slow housing recovery nationwide.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, 65 percent of Millennials hope to buy a single-family home. But this age cohort experienced the largest decline in homeownership rates since 2006. In fact, only 34.1 percent of Millennials own a home, down from 39 percent in the second quarter of 2010, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey, which reported data from 2010 to 2016. A recent Pew Research Study further shows 32 percent of Millennials still live with their parents.

How do Millennial homebuyers fare in DFW? We’re experiencing record growth and are on track to add more than 100,000 jobs this year, causing price increases, especially for new homes. The median closing price for a new detached home in the Dallas-Fort Worth region increased 5.4 percent year-over-year to $305,637 in August, compared to the median closing price for an existing detached home, which is now $217,360.

“Market demand, increasing local regulations, and an ongoing labor shortage are all reasons why the average new home is more than $88,000 more expensive than the average existing home,” said Dallas Builders Association Executive Officer Phil Crone. “Obviously, that kind of premium is going to make it difficult for most first-time homebuyers to step into the new home market. We need to ensure our market and our industry meets the needs of Millennials as they hold the key to our region’s continued prosperity.”

(more…)

recession

Minorities were hit the hardest by the housing crisis, and show lower levels of homeownership today.

The economic recession of 2007-2009 affected most Americans in depressingly real and tangible ways. Two groups of Americans are disproportionately affected, still, by the downturn.

A new study by Apartment List shows that the economic downturn had the greatest impact on homeownership among minorities and young Americans aged 18-45, particularly those in the 35-44 age range.

Analysts at Apartment List, an apartment location website, looked at Census data and reported U.S. homeownership rates in general have fallen steadily, recently dropping to their lowest levels since 1965.

In Dallas, the homeownership rate fell from 60.9 percent to 58.7 percent from 2007-2016. The drops were biggest among African Americans, where homeownership fell by 6.1 percent.

“African Americans were highly affected [by the recession], said said Andrew Woo, director of data science and growth at Apartment List. “In Dallas, it is a large drop [in homeownership], larger than the nation average, which is 5.3 percent. What we notice is that it’s very much tied to employment and socioeconomic trends.”

During this same time period, rents increased by 4.2 percent in Dallas, even as owner costs (mortgage, maintenance, etc.) fell by 11.8 percent. So the people least able to afford it were paying more (in rent), less able to save toward a down payment, and therefore less likely to buy a home.

(more…)

KESSLER PLAZA 2510 W 10th Street Front

It’s rare to find an adorable home at an affordable price in a North Oak Cliff neighborhood that is seeing dramatic price increases and appreciation. I mean, this area of Dallas is growing like gangbusters, attracting more and more Millennials, so prices are increasing along with gentrification.

But this home just west of Hampton Road in Kessler Plaza is not only a cutie from the curb, but it’s a tremendous value considering that in this area, similar homes are being marketed for much more — nearly $50,000 in some cases!

KESSLER PLAZA 2510 W 10th Street porch

(more…)

A Corgan success. Photo: Andrew Pogue

The Parkland replacement project was a watershed for Corgan. Photo: Andrew Pogue

Corgan is one of the most established and well respected architecture firms in North Texas, and the last five years have brought huge changes. The firm has been part of major projects, like the Parkland replacement project and State Farm, has seen big employee growth, and the opening of new offices around the U.S.

The company was started in 1938 by Jack M. Corgan, who designed movie theaters and drive-ins across the Southwestern U.S., locations he was able to reach in his own small airplane. An early notable project was Love Field Airport, and over the years, project types expanded.

“Parkland was a watershed project, and our interiors group had great success with Blue Cross, then Fossil, then State Farm in Richardson and Toyota headquarters in Frisco,” said Lindsay Wilson, Interiors Sector Leader at Corgan. “We’ve seen really explosive growth in our corporate headquarters, and also in mission critical facilities work, although most of their project work is pretty secretive — they often go by code names even within our office.”

The Dallas office has grown from fewer than 300 people to almost 500 in past three years. They’ve also established offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston in last five years, joining their offices in Phoenix, New York, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

So what’s Corgan’s secret sauce? How are they seeing such explosive growth and success? Deep technical expertise, responsive client relationships (91 percent of their business in 2015 was repeat), and a dynamic workforce, many of whom are Millennial interns later brought on as full-time employees.

“The amount of energy they bring – everybody gets excited when they are here, and a lot of our growth has been fueled by hiring them,” Wilson said.

(more…)

More often, home is where the degree is

More often, home is where the degree is.

Long ago I was told that it’s more lucrative to be paid to think than to do. Turns out that piece of advice is true on many levels that intersect with homeownership.

Several years ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released data that seemed to say that student loan debt was dragging down homeownership rates among younger buyers. It’s a belief that persists.

At first blush, it makes sense.  If you have more debt, you have less to spend on housing because your debt-to-earnings ratio was weakened.  However, new research is blowing a hole in that homily. It seems that when corrected for education, it’s not debt that’s holding back homeownership rates, it’s education itself.

(more…)