Zoo

In a bold, some may say brutal example of “highest and best use,” the  City of Fort Worth has announced plans to sell the Fort Worth Zoo. Founded in 1909 with one lion, two bear cubs, an alligator, a coyote, a peacock, and a few rabbits the 110-year-old zoo is now home to some 7,000 animals. The 64-acre parcel will be subdivided into 172 lots for residential development.

Zoo

Jocelyne Carp

“It was a difficult decision,” a city official was quoted as saying “But the land is just too valuable to keep as parkland. The offering is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars which will add substantial capital to employee pension funds.”

The reaction was strong and swift. The prominent and powerful Perch family, longtime major zoo supporters, expressed their dismay through spokesperson Jocelyne Carp.

“We were just flabbergasted. It’s a sad day for the city,” said Carp. “Apart from protesting in the strongest possible terms, there is, apparently, little we can do from a legal standpoint,” she added.

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sub-zero

CandysDirt.com and Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove will host a panel discussion on innovation and disruption in the home building industry on March 26.

We talk a lot about disruption and innovation here at CandysDirt.com, largely in the realm of the real estate business. But we also know that the same dynamic takes place in the building and design world as well. Who are the disruptors and innovators in the building world? How do you build change into your business plan? What has changed in the past five years when it comes to energy efficiency and even what customers desire?

We’ll delve into all that and more in a forward-looking panel with some phenomenal builder experts on March 26, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The folks at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove partnered with CandysDirt to talk about innovation, as well as how their showroom can be an asset for builders, realtors, and designers who want to train staff about the latest appliances, or help clients visualize what their dream kitchen looks like.

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Photo by: Trigaci Photography (www.trigaci.com)

It seems all the real estate disruptors are coming here, to North Texasthanks to our healthy market. That’s why, today, a real estate platform called Bungalo is launching in Dallas and in Tampa, Florida. Bungalo focuses exclusively on the home-buying process and aims to give consumers a digital, streamlined, seamless i-buying experience. Hear them out: I think they have a LOT to offer.

For perspective, we told you that Opendoor snapped up Open Listings, giving the Bay area home-buying startup access to selling homes to those clients, circumventing the traditional home selling process. Opendoor also chose Dallas/Fort Worth as one of their first markets. Now, the company is exploding with growth.

Then last week, Knock came knocking, in North Texas, kinda sorta offering the same services.

But Bungalo is a little different. It focuses only on the buying side with something we have never seen: a guarantee on the fixer upper.

Promising “the first real estate platform to bring every step of the home buying process together in one seamless digital experience,” Bungalo (no ‘w’) empowers buyers to search, tour, finance, make an offer and close on a home all in one place. Yes, I said TOUR. Talk about streamlined!

“We have built a web platform allowing buyers to search homes and almost a Turbotax-type method of buying — super easy, super transparent,” says Greg Stewart, Bungalo’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are finally taking the guesswork and hassle out of the home buying process.”

Here is the Bungalo difference: every home on the platform is purchased by the company before you see it, then inspected and meticulously renovated, which means buyers have assurance they are moving into an updated, cleaned up, modernized space. Bungalo is doing the stuff most buyers don’t want to do. Plus the company offers a one year warranty on the house, which should put a lot of first time homebuyers at peace.

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(Photo courtesy Flickr)

How much better did the 75243 zip code in Dallas fare in flipping profit than the rest of the nation? How did home sales look for North Texas in August? How are home sales and prices looking across the state?

We’ll answer all that and more in this week’s real estate news roundup. (more…)

north texas

(Photo courtesy VisitFrisco.com)

How did North Texas fare in a ranking of overall best housing markets in the U.S.? How far has the Dallas-Fort Worth apartment market come in recovering after the recession? How much of their income is the average Dallas-Fort Worth homeowner spending on housing? All this and more in this week’s review of real estate news. (more…)

11422 East Ricks Circle is a listing from Becky Frey that is pending sale.

What goes up has to come down, at some point, right?

It’s like that with home values. Except home values in Dallas have never shot skyward as much as they have in coastal cities and international hubs like Miami and New York City. Our home prices creep up by 5 to 7 percent a year. Then they stay there for a few years until the upward trend starts again. The only time I remember Dallas home prices actually declining as in the late 1980s, agree?

Comes news this week from Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index that Dallas home prices were up only 5.2 percent from where they were a year ago. Which is less than the 6.2 percent nationwide home price gain from June of 2017. So for the first time in a long time, we are dragging behind the national average, not leading it.

In fact, Dallas-area home prices expanded by the smallest percentage in almost six years.

The silver lining: (copy and paste this story for DCAD) if prices start to stabilize, our property taxes will, too. Oh and don’t let the Dallas City Council fool you into thinking they are lowering taxes, either. They are trying to lower the rate, because property taxes in this state are set by values. So all these nice Case-Shiller reports have brought in increased revenues from property taxes.

So, should we be concerned? No.

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I have totally forgotten to tell y’all that I am now a contributor to Forbes.com. Started a while back, and I already have a few stories in the hopper. This is my first, a primer on North Texas real estate: 12 Things you Need to Know About North Texas Real Estate. Let me know what you think!

Whatever I publish, Forbes gets first, of course, and can later be shared on CandysDirt.com. We spent a wonderful evening last week in Vegas at NAREE with Forbes.com editor Samantha Sharf, and I was super impressed with what Forbes is creating to beef up national and international real estate coverage. Very much boots on the ground. The other contributors I met: Joe Gose who has been covering real estate and other biz topics for 25 years, based in Kansas City, writes for The New York Times, Shopping Centers Today, Urban Land and France Media. I’ve seen Joe at many a NAREE conference, as I have Cynthia Lescalleet, a fellow Texan from Houston who writes for Swamplot and many other publications. All our work will be online, of course, because that’s where Forbes.com is smartly focusing resources. 

What will I be writing for Forbes.com? Celebrity real estate, of course, but many profiles and snapshots of the North Texas real estate market. Or shall I say, climate. I will be pestering major Dallas developers, movers and shakers for sit-down interviews, AKA good, old-fashioned, look-me-in-the-eye journalism. I’ll be covering trends, the unusual, all things that make us the greatest real estate market in the universe. And I’m very open to suggestions as well, so holler at me: you know my number, should be in your phone  — candace@candysdirt.com.

Less than half of Dallas-Fort Worth residents can afford new homes in the region, according to the Dallas Builders Association.

Recent data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University paints a pretty bleak picture for housing affordability in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than 100,000 new jobs regionwide netted just 30,000 new homes by the end of last year, according to stats from Meyers Research and the Dallas Builders Association. The median home price, thanks to the scarcity of new builds, jumped from $149,900 in 2011 to $232,000 in 2016. 

The end of the affordable new home is nigh, it seems. 

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