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You do remember this estate up in Hickory Creek, the stunning French magnifique modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte, a chateau on the outskirts of Paris, France?

It’s enormous: 48,000 square feet now on 39 acres. Originally built by CellStar Corp. founder Alan H. Goldfield and his wife, Shirley, the estate known as Champ d’Or (or “Gold Field”) is one of the grandest residences in the entire country. The property features endless unique high end amenities including a two-story mahogany library; a conservatory mimicking Tavern of the Green in New York City; an ornate theater complete with stage, twin loges, screen and and a concession stand; two commercial elevators; multiple staircases, powder rooms and fireplaces; a master suite with a steam room inspired by “The Rat Pack”,  hair salon, two-story Chanel-style “her” closet, two-story “his” closet, an indoor lap pool and an exercise room off the huge master bathroom with heated towel drawers. The third story holds a mirrored ballroom patterned after Versailles with complete kitchen plus powder rooms for the ladies and men. The entertaining prospects are endless there, or on the veranda with seating for up to 450 people. There is a catering kitchen and a Butler’s pantry. Downstairs, on the lower level, there is a bowling alley, full racquetball court, garage for 20 cars, and a laundry room with commercial washer, dryer and sheet press. There is also a full wine room and gift wrap room with storage. It doesn’t stop here: there is an outdoor pool and pool house, tennis court, and numerous patios and gardens.

As for actual number of bedrooms, there are about six with six full baths and eight powder rooms: the master wing is on the first floor, the Wedgewood suite with living area and fireplace, breakfast bar, luxurious bath and private laundry room, is on the second floor where you also find another two-bedroom suite, each with en suite baths. There is yet another bedroom compartment on the third floor near the ballroom. This one has living and dining rooms plus a kitchen with two bedrooms and separate en suite baths.

Once again, Joan Eleazer of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is listing 1851 Turbeville Road, now known as “A French Country Retreat”. Asking is $17,500,000. No more Champ D’Or. Of course not: the Goldfields no longer own it. A new family, a new generation of life and love has filled 1851 Turbeville Road for the last few years as a second home, and they are ready to pass the beautiful baton:

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starbucks

If you think coffee is only good for getting you moving in the morning, this new study will wake you up. Apparently, it can also provide a jolt nearby home values.

That’s according to Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries. In their New York Times bestseller, Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, they crunched the numbers and found that houses located within a quarter mile of a Starbucks location appreciated more quickly than houses overall.

Rascoff and Humphries knew the traditional guideline for finding real estate that would appreciate the most – good schools, easy access to major job centers, or a quick drive to the grocery store. They wanted to dig deeper.

“We were looking for other markers that could tell us where home values would appreciate the most, and in doing the research, we found that if you live near a coffee shop, chances are your house outperforms other houses further away,” Humphries said. “When we dug even deeper, we found that living close to a specific coffee shop – Starbucks – was the best indicator your house would out-perform other houses in the area.”

This trend held true nationwide, although results varied by region. In North Texas, there was a 7.2 percent difference during the time measured.

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Toyota groundbreaking 1.20.2015

At a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, about 100 attendees watched as a Toyota Tundra truck moved the first shovels of dirt for the Japanese automaker’s $350 million North American headquarters in West Plano.

The relocation of Toyota Motor Corp.’s $350 million headquarters to Plano from Southern California was North Texas’ biggest corporate relocation of 2014. By the time construction is complete in late 2016 or early 2017, some 4,000 jobs will have been created at or moved to the 100-acre campus, including transfers from California, New York, and other states. Plus, for every one of the jobs Toyota brings to Plano, four more jobs will be created.

That’s a colossal business opportunity for Collin County realtors, who are getting ready to be a part of finding homes for those who need it. The company’s 1 million-square-foot campus is located off the Sam Rayburn Tollway and Legacy Drive in Plano, and many of the corporate employees will want to live close to that area.

“We’re all gearing up for it and we are ready to take them on, whether they’re going into Plano or Uptown,” said David Maez, broker and co-owner at VIVO Realty. “Another thing we’re going to see is all the corporations that do business with Toyota moving to the area. You’ll be adding all those other jobs and people to the area.” Jump to read more!

Toyota Executives groundbreaking

Toyota CEO Jim Lentz, President and CEO Michael Groff, and Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere (center). All photos courtesy of WFAA-TV.

 

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Photo courtesy Brian Dooley via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Brian Dooley via Creative Commons

Strong economic factors, job gains, and population increases have experts predicting strong growth in North Texas home prices in 2015, and a 35 percent increase in home prices over the next three years in the Dallas-Plano-Irving areas.

Local Market Monitor, Inc. released its December 2014 local market reports for North Texas, looking at factors like jobs, migration, housing permits, local market risk premium, and average home prices. Based on those analytics, they say home prices will likely grow 11 percent in the eastern counties of North Texas and 8 percent in the western counties over the next 12 months. Nationally, prices are forecast to increase by 6.3 percent.

They’ve extended their forecast two and three years, as well. In the eastern DFW counties, home values are predicted to increase 11 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017.

In the western counties, home values are expected to increase 8 percent in both 2016 and 2017. The report predicts home prices to increase 25 percent over the next three years, noting that market is currently underpriced 17 percent relative to income.

County level forecast for Home Values

These reports echo the sentiments of local realtors and real estate experts, who have been crowing about strong North Texas job growth, more buyer and seller confidence, continued low interest rates, and investor demand. Jump to read more!

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Graphic: Realtor.com

Graphic: Realtor.com

Riding on the tail of Leah Shafer’s post yesterday on the past year in Texas real estate, today Realtor.com released its predictions detailing predictions for 2015. In their top 10 list of real estate markets to watch for next year Dallas-Fort Worth is expected to make big gains.

So, why is Dallas-Fort Worth slated to have a breakout year in 2015, with sales volume forecasted to increase by 7 percent? According to Realtor.com, it’s because the first-time homebuyer is back in a big way.

“The growth expected in 2015 is widespread, but as we put together our forecast, ten local markets stood out as especially primed and ready for significant acceleration across housing metrics in 2015,” said Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com’s chief economist. “The markets on this list range from big cities with older housing stock, big and mid-size cities with substantial levels of new construction, and up and coming markets appealing to young professionals for their job growth and high affordability.”

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New House under Construction

Recent reports show that new home sales are at their highest since 2008, while prices of existing homes are up year-over-year.

New home sales are up 17 percent from the same time last year, according to Residential Strategies, and new home starts are up 11.4 percent, too, at 6,511. Builders are trying to keep up with demand while also trying to keep new homes affordable for buyers, according to a story from Steve Brown:

“Start activity remains strong as builders maintain healthy sales backlogs and are working to reestablish depleted speculative inventory,” Residential Strategies’ Ted Wilson said in the report. “Robust job formation, in combination with tight housing inventories, has kept builders optimistic about sustained new housing demand.”

Rising new home prices have caused a slowdown in sales for some buyers.

Since 2007 the median price of a new home in North Texas has increased $69,000 – 33 percent – to $275,000.

“Affordability continues to be a primary concern for new home builders,” Wilson said.

“Many are anticipating that at some point down the road, interest rates will increase, and they want to ensure that their housing prices are still within reach of the consumer.”

Additionally, a new report from CoreLogic shows that the Dallas-Plano-Irving area is posting an 8.5 percent increase in home price appreciation according to the firm’s most recent HPI.

“Home prices continue to rise, albeit more slowly, across most of the U.S., ” said CoreLogic CEO Anand Nallathambi. “Major Metropolitan Areas such as Riverside and Los Angeles, California, and Houston continue to lead the way with strong price gains buoyed by tight supplies and a gradual rebound in economic activity.”

In Texas, that means we’re holding steady at our return-to-peak price levels, with no major increases. With new home construction up, a positive outlook for investors in several niche markets, and with prices still on the rise, are you optimistic about the Dallas/Fort Worth real estate market going into Q4 2014?

Sachse Home

(Names  and photos have been changed to protect innocent sellers from completely crazy buyers)

*Cue the “Law & Order” theme song*

This just in from Sachse, where a family staged their gorgeous home and then put it on the market on Friday. Thanks to their talented Realtor and a ton of hard work, they received several attractive offers that weekend. On Sunday, one lucky bidder accepted their counter, and like that, the home was under contract.

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Shadybank Living

North Texas’ real estate market posted a 4 percent increase in sales for the month of November, the lowest such increase since the 2012 according to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Gleaning numbers from NTREIS, the center’s report showed a 12 percent decrease in condo and townhome sales, too.

But instead of freaking out about whether increasing mortgage rates or dwindling inventory is to blame, maybe this is a case of a very hot, hot, hot spring/summer season and a seasonally slow fall/winter?

From Steve Brown’s DMN story:

Even with November’s smaller increase, sales of pre-owned homes through the first 11 months of 2013 are 18 percent ahead of where they were in the same period last year, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and North Texas Real Estate Information Systems.

And November saw no decline in the pace of North Texas home price increases. The median home sales price in the region was up 10 percent last month to $170,000, according to sales by real estate agents through their multiple listing service.
Economists have been watching for a softening in the rate of growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market, which has seen unprecedented increases in prices and huge jumps in purchase volumes this year.

“We’ve been expecting things to slow down,” said Dr. James Gaines of the Real Estate Center. “Some is seasonal, but the year-over-year numbers are a little lower than I thought they’d be.”

So, has the fall been unseasonally slow for you, our dear Realtors? Or are you just noticing the regular drop-off in transactions that happen around the holidays?

(And just in case you’re wondering, the lovely home decked out for the holidays in this post is 16224 Shadybank Dr. in Prestonwood. Gorgeous, innit?)