For this week’s Saturday Six Hundred, we head to north Plano for this 3,918-square-foot Toll Brothers home at 6913 Portobello Drive in Kings Ridge. For all those employees flocking to west Plano in the land of corporate relocations, this home is in the perfect location for commuting. The four-bedroom, three-bath open floor plan offers plenty of natural light and neat, clean lines for $665,000, plus a little soft Italian style for flair.

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recessionThe two Metropolitan Statistical Areas that encompass Dallas-Fort Worth ranked in a recent list of top 10 metros that have recovered the most from the Great Recession, HSH.com said.

But that recovery isn’t all that usual — 27 major cities still haven’t seen home prices recover peak values they were posting pre-recession. But that number is dropping, HSH said, and so far, 73 U.S. home markets seen complete recovery.

Dallas-Plano-Irving found itself in fourth place, with home prices 68.51 percent above peak). Fort Worth-Arlington was fifth, at 59.85 percent above peak.

Three more Texas metros found themselves on the recession recovery list as well: Austin-Round Rock at No. 2 (72.55 percent), Houston-The Woodlands- Sugarland at No. 6 (57.05 percent), and San Antonio-New Braunfels at No. 8 (44.47 percent).

“Although the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO metro still holds the top slot, Texas markets dominate the most recovered group, holding five of the 10 slots,” the company said.

Additionally, El Paso made the company’s “nearly recovered” list, signaling that its current values are only one or two percent below previous peaks, and that the city is likely close to making that “fully recovered” list, possibly even by the next quarter.

The rankings are determined by using the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Price Index to determine which markets have recovered fully and which ones are still lagging.

Christmas lights

As Christmas creeps closer, and the nights get longer, you can ask just about any North Texan — checking out the homegrown light displays in various neighborhoods is as much a tradition as tamales and NorthPark Santa.

But do you worry you’re missing out on a great neighborhood? Or are you new to the area, and don’t have the skinny on the great displays? Fear not — CandysDirt.com staffers have been quizzing readers, scouring the Internet, and strapping jingle bells on our gumshoes to find some of the best neighborhood and city-led decoration displays in Dallas-Fort Worth.

And thanks to one of our favorite luxury Realtors, Christy Berry with Compass, and CandysDirt.com, you can check out our list of great cruising spots this holiday season. Think you might want to find a house in a neighborhood that embraces their inner Clark Griswold, or maybe something a little uh, more Martha Stewart? Stay tuned, because Christy has a listing to share that could get you right in the middle of Christmas central. (more…)

10-minute

The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to numerous events year-round, including a vintage baseball tournament in the Spring (photo courtesy city of Farmers Branch).

Is your home a 10-minute (or less) walk from a park? One-third of Americans have a much longer trek than that to get to their nearest park, according to research by the National Recreation and Park Association, Urban Land Institute and, The Trust for Public Land.

Recently, Rachel Banner, a senior program manager at the NRPA, wrote a piece for the National Association of Realtors’ Spaces to Places blog about a year-long initiative to make more public spaces and parks available — within a 10-minute walk from every person.

Banner also talks about the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which revealed that while residential and commercial developers may create amenities within their buildings or spaces, that’s not necessarily what creates a lifelong resident of a city.

“The report talks a lot about the growing demand for amenities in both office and residential development.  In the discussion about the report Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties also remarked that while each year a new set of cities may be pegged for growth, we must look at how long those cities will remain “hot spots” and the places people stay long-term,” Ballard said. “While including amenities within a building may initially attract owners or tenants, it is the amenities outside of the building open to all that will get them to stay.” (more…)

Canterbury Court

On Canterbury Court in Plano, the Halloween decorations are out of this world, like this Area 51-themed display.

Plano’s Deerfield neighborhood has its famed Christmas light display, but come October 31, a different neighborhood becomes the Halloween epicenter of Plano. Canterbury Court in the River Bend neighborhood, an otherwise quiet cul-de-sac next to Plano Senior High School transforms into an elaborate display of Halloween decoration ingenuity, where the street shuts down to vehicular traffic and the whole block becomes an outdoor party. 

The Halloween tradition began in 1983, a year after Enrique and Ann Valdes moved into the River Bend neighborhood, off Independence Drive and Park Blvd. Many of River Bend’s homes were built by the popular custom home builder J. Stiles Homes in the 1970s and 1980s. Through the years, the Valdes family has built everything from a 35-foot Titanic replica and giant Star Wars stormtroopers to a haunted pirate ship and members of the Justice League. Others on the cul-de-sac including Nick Derington caught the Halloween spirit, decorating his yard with his own often-homemade themed decor including a lifesize T-Rex and Ghostbusters‘ StayPuft marshmallow man.

StayPuft marshmallow man from the year 2000. Photo Credit: JohnGoudreau.com

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PlanoTucked in the Plano neighborhood of Bent Tree West, our Saturday Six Hundred this week is a magnificently updated two-story home where seriously, no expense was spared to make it a gorgeous, family ready retreat.

Stager Karen Eubank was brought in by listing agent Susan Gentry of Ebby Halliday – Ebby’s Little White House prior to the sale to give advice on prospective updates, and said that the changes the owner. Thanks to her, we have an idea of how much the updates the owner chose transformed this home at 4411 Highlander Dr.

What we see in the before pictures is a well-built home, but a typical 1980s era home with a need for updates and designer touches that today’s buyers want.

It’s the rare seller that not only realizes what is necessary, but also moves ahead with those updates,” Eubank said. “So, for me it was a delight to work with a seller that shared my vision.” (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…)

Despite only being in her mid-20s, Macey Snyder has already made a name for herself in sales and design. Now the Texas Tech alum is ready to take on real estate as an agent for JP and Associates.

Those who travel to West Texas may recognize the family name. The Snyder’s stores in Seymour and Childress are community staples, selling hardware, building materials and other home essentials.

“We’re just kind of a little one-stop shop for a small town,” Snyder said. She grew up in Seymour, a town of less than 3,000 people nearly an hour away most big-name retailers. When the local western wear store in Childress closed a few years ago, her family decided to start selling clothing as well.

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