They got a few real estate numbers wrong, but what does it matter? It’s the New York Times, right, and they got the design story spot on. Check out this splendidly glowing write up on Emily and Steve Summer’s house (with a well-deserved plug for her forthcoming book, “Distinctly Modern Interiors,” ) in the “affluent Dallas suburb of Highland Park” which their daughter, real estate dynamo Caroline Summers, found for them about 20 years ago:

Twenty years ago, when her daughter, Caroline, a real estate agent, saw a listing for a low-slung 1962 house designed by the architect Robert Johnson Perry in the affluent Dallas suburb of Highland Park, Ms. Summers and her husband, Steve Summers, who worked in finance before retiring, decided they should have a look.

“Originally they said the house cost $1.3 to buy and $1.5 was the total remodeling project,” says Caroline, who works with Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s. “They must have been talking to my dad!”

The actual sales price was $1.5 and the remodeling tab shot northward of $2.5. No biggie. (more…)

midland home values

The December housing numbers from Local Market Monitor Report are not painting a rosy picture of the real estate market in Midland, and home values are forecast to decrease over the next 12 months.

Since their peak in the first quarter of 2015, home prices in Midland have fallen by 3 percent. The average home price in this market is currently $179,091.

Over the past two years, the real estate market in Midland has gone from relentlessly enthusiastic, to more reserved, as the slump in the crude oil market drags on. On Monday, oil prices fell to their lowest level in 12 years, and futures of West Texas intermediate crude for February delivery came in at $31.41 a barrel, a 5.3 percent decrease.

“In June 2014, you had to shell out $110 to buy a barrel of Brent crude. By early 2015, that had plunged to $60,” writes Brad Plumer in his piece today for Vox Energy & Environment. “Today, it costs just $30 to buy a barrel of oil — a level not seen since 2004. It’s a staggering decline.”

Read the whole story over at MidlandDirt.com!

 

 

Dogleg Ranch Bandera

Beauty seems so fleeting at times. Wouldn’t it be great to capture a moment, your home’s moment, in a book that you could share and hold on to for generations? Read more about the company that can do it — for a price, of course. That’s what Jane Stieren and Bill Lacy did for their Bandera ranch pictured above.

Those with family estates and deep pockets will love these gorgeous books created by a husband-and-wife company called Kubaba. Read about it on SecondShelters.com.

Really nice piece here in the New York Times explains why we are beginning to see home prices creep — I said CREEP — upwards,  even in markets like Phoenix and Las Vegas: lack of inventory. It’s a very similar situation here in parts of Dallas, mostly the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Lakewood: hip pocket is becoming a mainstream word, as agents clamor for listings. There’s just not enough to go around for several reasons:

-Builders credit died up, so builders are not building as many specs. Few specs, in fact.

-It still is much harder to get a mortgage, especially if you are self-employed.

-People pulled back from selling unless they had to.

-People leased in lieu of selling, holding out for rosier prices.

-In some cases, the foreclosure inventory has gone down or is being held back by the banks.

David Blitzer said it best:

 “Because of new buyers having difficulty getting mortgages and because of the still-large number of foreclosures hitting the market in some parts of the country, it’s hard to say that we’ve turned a corner,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in an interview.”

Bottom line: don’t get too excited. The market is improving, but we are not out of the woods, yet. Still, that home pictured? Custom build by Tatum Brown Custom Homes. Glorious. Sold without even being on the market about two seconds after the owners decided they might want to sell.

On the one hand, the story of Museum Tower’s light battle with the Nasher on the front page of the New York Times is pretty damn great publicity if you might be looking to buy a condominium in Dallas. I just got my Local Market Monitor report and once again, Dallas-Fort Worth-Plano rules the roost with positive numbers:

“Home prices have bottomed out but strong job growth and a good risk premium still present opportunities for investors willing to take risks. The local economy features a large finance sector [banking]. Population growth has been high, more than double the national average. Income is above average. The housing boom was non-existent, with a price rise of 12 percent. The recession was mild, with jobs down 3 percent.”

With rents expected to increase over 16 percent here in the next three years, I would say that’s a better return than a whole lot of others. But yes, there is an issue and Dallas’ growing pains are now exposed to the world. But if you subscribe to the notion that as long as they spell your name right, who cares what they print, I want to know if the stories actually generate more sales leads.

Which is what I have been talking about all week long with people, from Realtors to out-of-town film makers to the cocktail party circuit. I’m getting a drift of two sides forming. One, someone very closely involved with the original partnership at the very beginning, currently out of state, but this was his reaction when I sent him the stories (and told him to sit down): “I was pretty blown away really. I think that someone should have done their homework before moving forward, though, sad really. I hope/think they will come up with a solid resolution in the end.”

Then this weekend at the USA Film Festival, folks from out of town were shaking their heads over the issue and talking about problems with high rises in their cities – like the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles that architect Frank Gehry had to sandblast portions of because the reflected sunlight was creating problems for residents in a nearby apartment building. Question: who covered that expense, the architect or the developer?  Someone else said architects have to do their homework on glass and cities in the sun belt need to incorporate this discussion into building guidelines: the Zale Building on I-35 had to change out glass several years ago as the reflection was blinding drivers and creating car wrecks! Eons ago, the John Hancock Building in Boston was losing sheets of glass in the 1970’s and killing people.

Yesterday, someone asked me this: in what other major U.S. city does a museum control the rights of the real estate around it? A major local commercial developer whose story will soon appear on this site said the Nasher is being short-sighted and should be more cooperative. After all, more buildings are going to go up in the area eventually and one may even BLOCK the so-called death rays. Ultimately, my concern is sales and how this hiccup will affect them. Said my out-of-state source: “Everything affects sales one way or the other. I wouldn’t say this would ignite sales (no pun intended, well maybe just a little bit)… but I feel sorry for John and the rest of the guys and hope there is a solution that works for all.”

We all do.

Here’s a home that would have  been a great find for that piece in the New York Times on how hot the Dallas Design District has become. Not only are developers building lofts and $5000 a month apartment penthouses in the Dallas Design District, they are also building homes out of warehouse space — luxury homes and studio combos where you can live, work, play, and entertain all in one giant converted warehouse space gone luxe.

Take 2278 Monitor Street. $1,950,000. Now this is what I call an urban preserve. Go there, you think you might need to pack heat before you get out of your car. Silly you, you are likely safer here than in parts of Oak Lawn or Uptown.  This is one of the most amazing live-work buildings available in the Dallas Design District, featuring an extremely dramatic central atrium with calming water features and a huge skylight. Parts of the home make you feel just like you are in Park Cities or North Dallas, but with a ton more space and sizzle –10,906 square feet to be precise: 19 foot tall ceilings, oversized translucent doors, cork floors, concrete floors, a custom European closet system in the master, hidden cabinets in the bathroom, Snaidero kitchen with Viking stove-top and SubZero refrigerator-freezer, Dornbracht and Waterworks plumbing fixtures, and Miele dishwashers.  Oh yes, none of this “parking austerity” business here: you get a decent two car garage with a handicap lift. The owner, who I plan to interview extensively one of these days, is an amazingly creative woman of many talents who tells me she plans to create more of these treasures. Did I mention she build it all green with 6 inch Iso board insulation, tankless water heaters and pinseld insulation on the deck. The home was first brought to my attention by Diane Williams with The Jim Lake Companies when I was toodling down there late last fall; it is now listed with Briggs Freeman Sothebys.

Pardon Monday Morning Millionaire coming in on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. It’s April in Dallas — achoo!