Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Affiliates of Provident Realty Advisors acquired the Brookhaven Office Park and LBJ Business Park on LBJ Freeway in Dallas from Dallas-based Archon Group. The six buildings are on a 25-acre lot bordered by Josey Lane on the west and Webb Chapel Road on the east. Provident plans to redevelop the site into a mixed-use commercial development boasting retail, office and hospitality space. The final sales price was not disclosed. While final plans for the site are still being evaluated, Provident expects the development to be completed in mid 2009. The new owner is considering several options including renovation of the existing office properties or demolishing the existing structures and building from the ground up. Provident Realty also redeveloped The Webb, a nearby commercial and retail center just east of Webb Chapel Road. Together, the two developments could make an attractive gateway to Farmers Branch.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

RENTERS' MOVING TRENDS

A national survey by CareerBuilder.com and Apartments.com revealed that 95 percent of renters plan to move this year.
The two key factors driving 55 percent of renters to move are relocating for a job and reducing the cost of rent. Recent workplace findings say that 14 percent of employers will pay to relocate new employees from another area to their company.
Forty-eight percent of renters plan on moving to another city or state, while only 7 percent plan on moving to buy a home.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dallas-Fort Worth home prices rose 0.5% in 4th quarter

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Dallas-Fort Worth area continued to eke out slight gains in home prices in the fourth quarter, according to the latest nationwide survey
More than half of the country's home markets saw price declines in the final months of 2007.
Nationwide, prices fell 5.8 percent, the biggest quarterly drop on record, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
But in the D-FW area, median prices for home resales rose 0.5 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the Realtors' benchmark quarterly report.
"Dallas-Fort Worth generally parallels the national scene more than any other Texas metropolitan area," said Dr. James Gaines, an economist with Texas A&M University's Real Estate Center.
"But even flat prices are better than 5 or 6 percent declines."
All but one of the Texas cities surveyed by the real estate group – Beaumont – had higher sales prices.
More than a dozen U.S. cities suffered double-digit home price declines in late 2007.
"Most of the weakest markets have either experienced both job and population losses, or they are experiencing corrections following a prolonged period of rapid price growth," Realtors economist Lawrence Yun said.
The biggest drops were in Lansing, Mich., down 18.8 percent; Sacramento, Calif., down 18.5 percent; and Riverside, Calif., down 16.8 percent.
The greatest price gains were in Maryland and Washington state.
In Texas, fourth-quarter home prices rose the most in San Antonio – up 7.9 percent – and Austin, which was 6.4 percent higher.
Even with D-FW's fourth-quarter year-over-year gain, prices in the area were off about 7 percent from the peak earlier in 2007.
For the first time, the Realtors survey breaks out condominiums as a separate price comparison.
D-FW condo sales prices were up 4.9 percent, compared with flat prices nationwide, the report said.
Most economists are forecasting continued erosion in nationwide home price this year.
"It's going to be a tough year to get through – further declines," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist with mortgage giant Freddie Mac. By Steve Brown, DMN

Housing market will hit bottom soon, economists hope

ORLANDO, Fla. – Economists hope the sinking U.S. housing market will begin to find bottom this year.
If not, they worry it could turn into an even more devastating downturn.
"It's absolutely essential to get this thing moving in the other direction and get home sales going," David Seiders, the National Association of Home Builders' chief economist, said Wednesday.
He said the housing market must improve "so this doesn't degenerate into an absolute debacle."
Housing economists who gave forecasts Wednesday in Florida found a rapt audience at the National Association of Home Builders' annual convention.
The meeting of close to 100,000 housing industry members comes as the business faces its biggest challenges in decades
Home construction plunged in 2007 and is likely to fall further this year in the face of a national economic slowdown and problems in the mortgage market.
Even Texas – which has so far dodged the worst of the housing slump – won't be immune, analysts said.
But prices in Texas markets may hold up, said David Berson, economist with mortgage insurance giant PMI Group.
"Home prices have fallen significantly in some parts of the country, and they are going to fall some more," he said.
"We suspect that from peak to trough, prices will have fallen on a national average basis by 15 percent or maybe a little bit more," Mr. Berson said. "But there are some parts of the country – Texas, the Carolinas and the Pacific Northwest – where prices won't have fallen at all."
But even in Texas, homebuilding has dramatically slowed and is likely to fall further this year, analysts say.
Nationwide, single-family home starts declined 30 percent this year and will slide another 27 percent in 2008, according to the National Association of Home Builders' new forecast.
This year's expected drop in building could take single-family home production around the country below 1 million units for the first time since 1991.
And because of the huge overhang of unsold new homes, any rebound will be delayed and "muted compared to some rebounds we've seen in the past," Mr. Seiders said.
Still, he's hoping that the "vast bulk of the housing downturn is behind us."
The builders association expects a modest increase in nationwide starts in 2009.
But other analysts aren't so sure. Some recent studies have warned that the housing slump could drag on for several years.
And educational programs offered to builders at their convention mirror the dour mood of the market. Seminar topics include "Unique Opportunities in Bankruptcy," "Selling in a Slower Market" and "How to Compete With Resales and Foreclosures."
Attendance at the annual confab is expected to be down by as much as 15 percent this year.
Despite well-intentioned government programs and promises of forbearance by lenders, don't look for any relief on the foreclosure front, economists said.
"Sadly, I think the news is going to get worse before it gets better," said Frank Nothaft, top economist at Freddie Mac, the big mortgage company.
Mr. Nothaft estimates that 1.25 million U.S. homes wound up in foreclosure in 2007.
"And we are going to see a higher number in 2008," he said. "It's going to be a tough year to get through with further declines.
"We expect house values to continue to weaken nationwide over the year and into 2009."
That's in spite of forecasts for mortgage rates to fall to the lowest level in almost three years.
Recent sharp declines in interest rates aren't having their usual stimulative effect on the housing market because lenders have ramped up the requirements for getting a mortgage.
Mr. Nothaft said that if borrowers have good credit and employment and can make a down payment, it's a great time to finance a house.
"But certainly there are a lot of people who can't do that," he said.
Congress just passed legislation that will make it easier for buyers to finance more expensive homes by raising loan limits.
The builders are pressuring politicians to do even more.
One thing the builders would like to see Washington approve are tax credits for some homebuyers.
Mr. Seiders said such an incentive was used temporarily in the 1970s to move builders' vacant unsold inventory.
"It worked like a charm, and the housing sector stabilized very quickly," he said. "They had better look really hard at the housing sector because that's the problem" with the U.S. economy.

Coors, Miller consider joint HQ in Dallas

Dallas-Fort Worth is on a list of cities on tap for the corporate headquarters of a merged venture between Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller plc, Metroplex real estate sources say.
SABMiller and Molson Coors plan to combine their U.S. operations by mid-year into a new company called MillerCoors. SABMiller is based in London with its U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee. Molson Coors is based in Denver.
The beer companies are looking for about 100,000 square feet of office space and have done some initial scouting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to real estate sources.
Downtown Dallas, Plano and Frisco are all trying to woo the headquarters, but so far the company seems most interested in the Las Colinas area, one real estate source said.
"They're out there kicking around the market," one source said. "It's still real early in the process, but they're definitely considering the area."
Another source said landlord representatives have been told that MillerCoors is leaning toward locating the joint venture outside of Milwaukee or Denver so the merged corporate offices can get a fresh start and Miller and Coors can remain on equal footing.
SABMiller and Molson Coors signed a joint venture agreement in December, and the deal is expected to close in mid-2008. The joint venture is awaiting regulatory approval.
Molson Coors vice chairman Pete Coors on Feb. 12 said options for the new venture include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and others, according to published reports.
bhethcock@bizjournals.com

Downtown digs

Another major corporation has traded in a suburban location for new digs in downtown Dallas.
Weber Shandwick – the global public relations firm – has shifted its regional office from Irving to the Comerica Tower at 1717 Main St.
About 90 workers are now located on the 16th floor of the skyscraper.
Weber Shandwick was previously at 6555 Sierra Drive in Irving, along with its sister firm TM Advertising, which also made the move downtown. Steve Brown - DMN

Monday, February 04, 2008

Downtown Dallas high-rise sold for 3rd time in about a year

"That's got to be some kind of record," said L.J. Erickson, who has brokered the sale of the 2020 Live Oak building each time.
The 12-story high-rise on the eastern edge of downtown is across the street from the Adam's Mark Hotel.
The 130,000-square-foot high-rise is used by telecommunications companies to house equipment. It's less than 50 percent leased.
The latest buyer of the property is a partnership set up by Dallas-based Unified Infrastructure Services, a data center services firm. The building was sold by a California partnership that bought it last summer.
Mr. Erickson, a partner with Dallas-based Duggan Realty Advisors, didn't disclose the latest sales terms, but he said the building has more than doubled in value in the last year.
He says that's because of the resurgence in the telecom business, plus all the interest in Dallas' central business district.
"There is so much activity downtown," Mr. Erickson said. "I still get calls daily, people wanting to buy that building."
The high-rise was built in two phases. The first four floors were constructed in 1938, then an additional eight floors were added in 1963.
For many years the building housed the operations of Great American of Dallas Insurance Co., Mr. Erickson said. Then it sat vacant for some time.
Duggan Realty bought the empty tower in 1998 and remodeled it into telecom space.
"We had it 100 percent leased at one time," Mr. Erickson said. "But when all the telecom companies went broke in 2001, we lost about 60 percent of the building's tenants to bankruptcy." By Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News