Date Archives: May 2017

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Dallas added the most jobs of any of the nation's 12 biggest metro areas over the year ending in April, new Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.   Dallas added 104,600 jobs in the 12-month period ending April 30th.  Dallas added 104,600 jobs, whereas the number two job gain market in the nation was Atlanta with 87,200 new jobs.     The two sprawling metros topped the list, both in terms of the absolute number of jobs added and percentage growth.   Phoenix was next up by growth rate. Its number grew 2.5 percent over the year.    Companies with big white-collar workforces whose jobs don't have to be done in expensive, dense cities are moving more and more operations to massive campuses closer to the middle of the country.   Case in point:  Suburbs of Atlanta, Phoenix and Dallas are all home to huge new hubs  for insurance giant State Farm.

-        Dallas Morning News, May 26, 2017 (excerpts)


RE/MAX Housing Report

According to the RE/MAX Housing Report in Mainstreet, Dallas was number 2 in the nation behind Seattle with price gain in April from one year previous.  Dallas home prices increased 12.5 percent whereas Seattle increased 13.9 percent.

-         RE/MAX Housing Report, April 2017


Developers have announced plans for a $300 million community in McKinney that could have as many as 6,000 homes.  The 2,100-acre Cross F Ranch is planned north of McKinney west of  U.S. Highway 75 near Lake Forest Road.  The proposed development would also have apartments, retail and commercial development.  Developers Sanchez Advisory Group and Creu Capital say they hope to start the first 250-acre phase next year, according to marketing materials for the project.


McKinney Development - 6,000 Single Family Homes

The development could eventually be home to as many as 29,000 people, according to a video of the project plans. The Cross F Ranch is planned with three lakes and 300 acres of parks, trails and recreation areas.  The residential project has been in the works for several years, said Ted Wilson with Dallas-based Residential Strategies Inc.  He said the property owners are trying to improve access to the tract by "working with McKinney on getting Laud Howell Parkway built," which would connect Cross F Ranch with U.S. 75.  The proposed residential development is in an area already dotted by significant homebuilding and construction. The nearby Trinity Falls community just welcomed its 500th homeowner, and hundreds of houses are being built in nearby Anna and Melissa.

-        Dallas Morning News, May 23, 2017


5 of the Top 10 Fastest Growing in US are in Texas

Once again, Texas' sprawling suburbs dominate the U.S. Census Bureau's list of the 10 fastest-growing large cities in the country.   Between 2015 and 2016, Conroe — a Montgomery County suburb just past The Woodlands on Interstate 45 north of Houston — grew 7.8 percent, more than any city with more than 50,000 residents, data released this week shows.  That's also more than 11 times the nation's growth rate, 0.7 percent.    Coming in second and third on the list of fastest-growing cities: None other than Frisco, which grew 6.2 percent, and McKinney, posting a 5.9 percent gain — though McKinney added more residents.  New Braunfels, northeast of San Antonio, and Georgetown, a northern suburb of Austin, are on the list, but dropped from their top positions the previous year.  The only other state to have more than one city on the list was Florida.  "It's kind of more of the same with suburban growth, and growth in that Texas Triangle," said Mike Cline, a demographer with the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University.


Fastest-growing cities

Of course, Texas' biggest cities added more residents in total, even if that represented a smaller percentage growth. San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin were all among the nation's 10 cities that added the most people from 2015 to 2016.  Still, experts say that outward ripple of development into suburban cities farther and farther away from urban cores is worth tracking closely — even if suburban growth is nothing new.  "There's a lot of jobs being created in those areas, which means a lot of infrastructure development as well. With new households showing up every day, they need places to live, a road to drive their cars on, schools," said Lloyd Potter, Texas' state demographer. "There's this kind of pattern of satellite urbanization."

"Urban cores are becoming more people that are foreign-born or first or second generation," he said. "It's changing the cultural characteristics, especially in Houston in Dallas."   In any case, Cline said, it's unlikely that the growth will slow any time soon: Texas is still well on pace to double its population by 2050.  Texas also has another thing that sets its metro areas apart from those in other states: open land. 

Stein said that makes for a unique opportunity — and challenge — to build suburbs of the future, rather than the more traditional communities that center on strip malls with big parking lots and single-family houses on acre lots.  "The concern is that there's a sustainability factor that doesn't necessarily appear in one or two developments, but if you get a lot of developments going in, you've got to extend highways and services," she said.   "As long as you maintain employment centers in urban areas, they will continue to thrive," Stein said.

-        Dallas Morning News, May 25, 2017



5 Summer Maintenance Tips for Dallas Homeowners 

Summertime Home Maintenance Tips

Since you live in the DFW metro area (or perhaps you're relocating here), you probably already appreciate an air conditioning system that works well.  

Summer home maintenance done now--no matter where you live--can prevent things from going wrong at the worst possible times later.  Our Dallas REALTORS® created this handy checklist to help get your home ready for the summer months ahead--including air conditioning system maintenance.

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If you're having trouble finding a house, blame it on Toyota — and State Farm Insurance, Boeing, Kubota Tractor, McKesson Corp. and dozens more corporations moving tens of thousands of workers to North Texas.  Each year, more than 60,000 people come to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to fill thousands of jobs; Toyota alone is bringing almost 4,000.  That's made the D-FW area one of the hottest home markets in the country, driving up prices to unheard of levels.   The strong demand for housing has also created one of the biggest home shortages in decades. It's a tough time to buy, both for the people moving here and longtime residents.   While North Texas residents are gasping over the run-up in prices, buyers relocating from the West Coast and the Northeast think the area is a bargain, agents and analysts say.

"With most of California and the bigger East Coast cities, their median prices are well above ours," said Ted Wilson, a principal with Dallas-based Residential Strategies. "They come here and can afford it and put money in their pocket.  "Toyota captures the headlines, and some of their people are coming here with big equities from California."

-        Dallas Morning News, May 14, 2017




Buyers might want to sit down for this: Homes flew off the market like the hottest of hotcakes in the first quarter of the year—causing prices to rise even higher than predicted in many parts of the nation.   The median price of existing single-family homes hit $232,100 in the first quarter of the year, according to a recent quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors®. That's up 6.9% from a year ago—and is nearly double the 3.9% price growth® had forecast for 2017.   "Prices are increasing faster than we expected them to because of the continual shortage of new homes coming onto the market," says Senior Economist Joseph Kirchner of "People that had been holding back on buying a home ... now have good, steady jobs and are less worried about losing their jobs and hence are going into the housing market."   If the shortage of homes continues, prices could rise 7% to 8% year over year in 2017, he says. Ouch.   The first quarter of the year marked the strongest quarterly sales pace in a decade, according to the report.

-, May 15, 2017


A booming real estate market drove steep rises in taxable property values across Dallas County this year, the head of the Dallas Central Appraisal District said Tuesday.  Residential property values jumped by 9.9 percent this year across the county, while commercial property values increased 14.6 percent, said Ken Nolan, the district's chief appraiser. The value of new construction rose 25 percent versus last year. Nolan unveiled the preliminary appraised values at the Dallas County Commissioners Court, noting that the total values are expected to drop after property owners protest their values and many see reductions.   "We've never seen a market as robust as we've seen in the last two to three years in Dallas," Nolan told the commissioners. "People actually knock on people's doors, [asking] 'Do you want to sell your house?' Because there are so many people coming here."

-        Dallas Morning News, May 16, 2017


The Dallas-Fort Worth area had one of the biggest home price increases in the country in the first quarter.  D-FW median home sale prices were 12.6 percent higher than in 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly home price survey.   The Washington-based trade group looks at 178 U.S. metropolitan areas for its quarterly comparison of housing costs. Nationwide, median home prices were up 6.9 percent from a year ago to $232,100.  The D-FW area for the first time surpassed the rest of the nation with a $236,500 median home sales price.   "We've seen it coming — I think higher prices are here to stay," said Ted Wilson, with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. "There are more and more people chasing fewer and fewer lower-priced properties."   Wilson said that D-FW median home prices have risen by almost $100,000 in the last six years because of a shortage of properties and huge population gains in the area.  Texas economist Mark Dotzour said he's been "seeing this coming since 2009."   "The question now is just how high homes in Dallas can go before people can no longer afford the payment and the taxes," Dotzour said. 

-        Dallas Morning News, May 15, 2017


The government reported a strong gain in jobs for April on Friday morning, and the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since May 2007.  It seems that consumers, small businesses and corporate CEOs are in a better mood since Trump took office as well.   It's an open subject for debate: Is this newfound sense of optimism due more to hopes about Trump's pro-business, pro-growth agenda? Or is it the residual effects of policies from President Obama and low interest rates from the Federal Reserve?   But it's undeniable that several key economic indicators have shown signs of improvement since the inauguration -- and even going back to November right after the election.

  1. Jobs

The unemployment rate hit a 10-year low of 4.4% in April. That is clearly good news for Trump.

US unemployment rate

Other numbers point to a healthier labor market too: 522,000 jobs have been added in the first three full months after Trump took office.  And wages have risen 2.5% in the past 12 months. That's still below the 3% level the President, the Fed and many workers would like to see, but it's a big improvement from just 2% shortly after the Great Recession ended.

  1. Housing prices

For many Americans, the bulk of their wealth is tied up in their home. There's good news on that front.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price for an existing home was $236,400 -- up 4% from the start of the year.

Median US Home Prices

Financing for housing is still fairly affordable too. The average 30-year mortgage rate is 4.02% according to Freddie Mac.

Rates have fallen this year along with the yield on the long-term 10-Year U.S. Treasury bond, and that's despite the fact that the US Federal Reserve will likely keep boosting short-term rates.

  1. Lending

Consumers continue to borrow money to buy cars, purchase things on credit cards and be able to afford college. The Fed said that consumer credit rose 4.8% annually in February (the most recent figures available) to $3.79 trillion.  It's encouraging that consumers are still willing to take on debt and it's an even better sign that they are paying their bills on time too. The delinquency rate on credit cards was just 2.3% at the end of 2016, compared to a peak of 6.8% in the middle of 2009.

  1. Consumer spending

Shop 'till you drop? It seems that consumers may have dropped after a holiday spending binge.  Personal consumption expenditures, a fancy way of saying consumer spending, were flat in February and March. Consumer spending makes up a majority of the nation's overall economic activity.  So the weak spending was a key reason why the nation's gross domestic product rose at an annualized pace of just 0.7% in the first quarter -- far below the 3% rate many in the Trump administration are touting as doable.  This is hurting retailers too. Competition from Amazon isn't their only problem. Consumers have simply slowed down their pace of spending. The government said in April that retail sales fell 0.2% in March, following a 0.3% decline in February.

  1. Trade

This is perhaps the thorniest issue for Trump. He's been hypersensitive about deals with all of America's major partners. His pledge to "Buy American and Hire American" could put the US at odds with China, Japan, Europe, Mexico and even Canada.

But Trump has good reason to be worried. The US trade deficit has narrowed only slightly in the past few months -- and the gap has widened with China and Mexico. And the overall trade deficit is still significant -- $43.7 trillion.

  1. Stocks

Still a clear bright spot for the president. The major market indexes are near all-time highs.  The Dow is up 6% this year while the Nasdaq is up 13%.  Some of the optimism is due to the continued belief that Trump will eventually be able to lower corporate taxes and reduce regulation on health care and banks.    But strong earnings growth is fueling the rally too. According to FactSet, profits for S&P 500 companies in the first quarter are on track to rise more than 10% for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2011.  If those companies eventually start hiring more too, then Trump would be able to show that Wall Street and Main Street can actually both thrive at the same time.


-        CNNMoney, May 5, 2017



It is the economy, stupid!  The battle cry of past elections.   Well, according to the American public our economy is improving rapidly which bodes well for those currently in political office.  According to the most recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll for the first time in 14 years more Americans say they are happy with the state of the economy than say they are dissatisfied – and by a wide 13 point margin   That is a big deal.  At the heart of the many promises Trump made on the campaign trail was the one to "Make America Great Again." While that's a decidedly amorphous pledge, most people translate that slogan to mean: Make my life better again. And, again, for the majority of people, they are visualizing better times ahead. 

-        CNN, May 3, 2017


Celebrating Mom in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas-Fort Worth Mothers Day Celebrations

Brunch and flowers are two of the best ways to show Mom how much you appreciate her on Mother's Day. Here are some great options in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for showing your mom how much she means to you.

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New apartments in Lake Highlands Town Centre

    Sprouts opens today in Lake Highlands  


After much anticipation, Lake Highlands Town Centre is getting a Sprouts Framers Market.  Sprouts, which is in preliminary talks to merge with Albertsons, opens with 30,000 square feet at 7110 Skillman in Dallas' Lake Highlands neighborhood after a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.  Focus groups with Lake Highlands residents as early as 2008 showed Sprouts as one of the most wanted grocery stores.  Taco Diner, Hollywood Feed, Yogurtland, Joint Chiropractic, ideal dental and Verizon will also go into the 69-acre Lake Highlands Town Centre.   Numerous residential units are also planned in the Town Centre development, including approximately 60 David Weekley homes.


-         Dallas Morning News, May 2, 2017

-         BizNow, May 2, 2017



The influx of young Millennial families moving to Lake Highlands has created a total rebirth of this close-in

community.  Located entirely in Richardson ISD, the community is booming with home resales, escalating

home values and new developments.   Lake Highlands is very hot again!


The new Alamo Drafthouse at Abrams & Skillman  

                                Alamo Drafthouse                               

The new Lake Highlands Town Centre


Alamo Drafthouse Comes to Lake Highlands

Construction has started on the Alamo Drafthouse at the Creekside shopping center at the corner of Skillman and Abrams in Lake Highlands.  The two-level shopping center originally housed a Simon David grocery store and later it was converted to Tom Thumb.   The anchor space has been vacant since 2013 when Tom Thumb closed.  The Alamo Drafthouse will be just across from Topgolf. It's in a two story, 111,254-square-foot shopping center and a space vacated by Tom Thumb in 2013 at Skillman and Abrams.  The cinema/eatery will open this fall, said James Wallace, creative manager and programmer for Alamo Drafthouse. It will be an eight-screen, 875-seat multiplex, Wallace said.  "It will be a very bike-friendly location," Wallace said. Along with a secure place for bikes to park, the building will have a 150-seat bar that overlooks White Rock Creek Trail, he said.  "We are currently in the process of developing plans for the renovation of the entire Creekside center," said Daniel Fuller, a founding partner of Shop Companies.  On the southwest corner of the same intersection, a new Shady's Burger recently opened, and Andy's Frozen Custard, a Missouri chain with locations in 10 states, is under construction.   




Dallas-area home prices are up almost 9 percent in the latest nationwide comparison.   Only Seattle and Portland, Ore., had bigger year-over-year price gains in February, according to the latest Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  The Dallas area annual home price increase was substantially higher than the nationwide rise of 5.8 percent.  Home prices in both Dallas and nationally were at an all-time high in February.  "Housing and home prices continue to advance," S&P's David Blitzer said in the report.  "Housing's strength and home building are important contributors to the economic recovery.  "Housing starts bottomed in March 2009 and, with a few bumps, have advanced over the last eight years."  Dallas prices are more than a third higher than they were at the peak of the last housing market in 2007, according to Case-Shiller. Nationwide prices are now about 1 percent ahead of where they were before the recession.  With tight inventories of homes on the market, North Texas home prices are continuing to rise at unprecedented rates.

-        Dallas Morning News, April 27, 2017


Buying a home in Dallas isn't a bargain anymore, not like it used to be.  For decades, this region's low cost of living has attracted families and employers from around the country, helping the economy weather the booms and busts of the oil business. Now that competitive advantage is eroding in a big way.  Since 2010, the median price for new and existing homes sold in the Dallas area has soared 77 percent. Over the same time, median incomes are up about 4 percent.  As a result, buying a home in Dallas is beyond the reach of many, according to a measure of affordability. In 2010, almost 80 percent of homes sold in Dallas were affordable to families earning the median income. By late 2016, just 50 percent were affordable.  That's Dallas' lowest score since 1991, when the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index was launched.

Fewer can afford Dallas homes

Dallas is still much cheaper than Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. But on housing affordability alone, Dallas trails Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver and most other rival metros.  Eventually, that may create headwinds.  "For local residents, it gets a lot more difficult to buy a house," said Luis Torres, a research economist at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. "It also affects recruiting from other cities and states."  There's more to relocation decisions than the price of housing. North Texas also touts business-friendly regulations, no state income tax, a central location and a history of strong job growth.

-        Dallas Morning News, April 27, 2017


Homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth are making record returns on the sale of their homes, with an average return of more than $57,000 during a seven-year period — which is the highest return ever recorded in North Texas.  This return outpaces the rest of the United States and puts North Texas' median home price higher than the national average.  "For Dallas, this stands out even more because we have data that goes back to 2000 and this is higher than the last building boom," Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, told the Dallas Business Journal.  "It's the most profitable time to be a home seller in Dallas with a 33 percent return on the original price of the home over about seven years," Blomquist added.  "Dallas has hit a new all-time home price peak in the third quarter of last year and I suspect we'll see another all-time median home price peak in the spring or summer this year as well," he added.

-         Dallas Business Journal, April 28, 2017

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