1024px-Neiman_Marcus_flagship_store_-_sign

Their clothing and shoes (and jewelry! yes jewelry!) make us happy, but a little doom and gloom is hanging over Neiman Marcus after the retailer’s Tuesday morning earnings call this week. And if you are in the business of pushing luxury products, like million dollar homes or vacation homes, you pay attention. The take-aways: it’s been a challenging Q2, lowest oil prices in a decade definitely impacted Texas, home to Neiman’s largest volume stores, and more of their customers are turning to the internet to shop. Other factors that kept people from spending and challenged holidays sales were the skiddish stock market and strong U.S. dollar limiting international tourists in key store markets.

First of all, Neiman’s fiscal year ends in July. The company has been struggling. In October, Neimans announced layoffs for 500 employees, or 3 percent of its workforce.

Also in October, Neimans said it would delay the initial public offering it filed for in August, 2015.

For the all important 13 week period that ended Jan. 30, which includes the shop-rich cha-ching Christmas shopping season, Neimans experienced a 2.3 percent dip in revenue. Cyber Monday shopping on November 30, their highest volume day, was 9% higher than 2014. And when comparing fiscal 2015 to recent sales for the first half of this fiscal year, things are looking down. The company reported total revenues of $2.65 billion for the 26 weeks ended Jan. 30,  a 2.1 percent decrease over fiscal 2015. Clearly, low oil prices are taking their toll on the luxury shopper’s paradise. (more…)

employment growth

In Texas, it’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.

A new report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University says that the Texas economy gained 276,400 nonagricultural jobs from June 2014 to June 2015, an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent, compared with 2.1 percent for the United States. Many of the major metropolitan areas in the state saw much bigger gains, like North Texas.

The Dallas-Plano-Irving metro area ranked No. 2 in job creation in the state (Midland was No. 1), followed by Odessa, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Austin-Round Rock, and San Antonio-New Braunfels. Fort Worth-Arlington ranked No. 7, with 2.7 percent job growth.

“The North Texas economy is more dependent on the U.S. economy, so it’s not energy-based, compared to the Houston or Midland-Odessa economy, where energy has a bigger weight,” said Real Estate Center research economist Luis Torres. “Because the U.S. economy is growing and doing better, you’re seeing that reflected in the Dallas economy.”

In fact, every single Texas metro areas except Wichita Falls had more jobs in June 2015 than a year ago.

Big sectors for job growth were:

  1. Leisure and Hospitality: 5.05 percent growth
  2. Education and health services: 3.87 percent growth
  3. Professional and business services: 3.54 percent growth
  4. Transportation, warehousing and utilities: 3.52 percent growth
  5. Construction: 3.34 percent growth

“The correlation between the Dallas economy and the U.S. economy is very high, and the main reason is because Dallas is a transportation hub and all the goods and services that pass in the state use Dallas transportation systems,” said Real Estate Center research economist Ali Anari.

(more…)

The Lone Star State isn’t the same place as it was during the big 1980s oil bust, and is better weathering falling oil prices, but further price plunges and worker layoffs could negatively impact home sales and construction.

This is according to new research by Texas A&M Real Estate Center research economist James Gaines, who published Texas 2015 Housing Market and the Price of Oil last week. The six-page report explains that Texas’ economy has diversified significantly since the 80s bust, relying much more on healthcare, technology, and other sectors.

Here’s the takeaway:

The price of Texas oil and the upstream energy sector is a prime cause of concern for Texas’ 2015 economy and housing market. History shows that Texas’ housing does not depend on high oil prices. In fact, the state’s housing market has thrived at prices within a wide range of oil prices lower than those experienced in 2013 and the first half of 2014.

Read the full story over on MidlandDirt.com!

 

 

 

With Western Texas Intermediate oil hovering around $45 a barrel, folks have been speculating about new home construction in Midland-Odessa and how layoffs and budget cuts might affect the spectacular boom of the past few years.

But while economists might raise a red flag, local homebuilders say pent-up demand and a more diversified economy are keeping the phones ringing and people signing on for new home construction.

“The demand is still the same as it has always been—everyone wants their home built yesterday,” said KC White, owner and president of KC White Homes, Inc. “More people outside of the oil world are calling my phone. There are more than just oilfield-related jobs here.”

Read the whole story over on MidlandDirt.com!

Oil prices may or may not influence home values and sales in Dallas, but Houston and the Permian Basin may feel the effects of the dropping price per barrel.

Oil prices may or may not influence home values and sales in Dallas, but Houston and the Permian Basin may feel the effects of the dropping price per barrel.

It seems like economists can’t make heads or tails of the dropping oil prices, other than it’s good for consumers. I filled my little hybrid up the other day for less than $30, so I’m going to call it an obvious win in that column. But with the high demand and limited supply of housing in the Permian Basin, and how Houston home values have skyrocketed, we’re left wondering if these two Texas regions will bear the brunt of cheap oil.

“Oil prices are certainly something to keep an eye on,” said Metrostudy’s David Brown in this DMN report. “As long as oil prices do not continue to decline and don’t stay at a level below $55 a barrel for a sustained period, we should continue to see solid demand for housing in the region.”

On the other hand, Trulia’s Jed Kolko says the impact on home values is coming, but it won’t be felt immediately.

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