Friday, April 19, 2013

Thanks for calling North Texas. How may we help you?

North Texas cities have been hit by a tidal wave of proposals from companies looking for a home for their expanding call center or back-office operations.
Over the past year, North Texas has added more than 11,000 jobs and as much as 3.5 million square feet of commercial real estate for such projects, and the work keeps flowing in. Economic development officials say they have proposals from roughly 50 companies interested in joining the mix. In all, the region has 280 call center or other back-office operations, each with hundreds or thousands of employees.
In Dallas’ economic development office, J. ...

Staff Writer-Dallas Business Journal

Land rush for North Texas home lots sends prices sky high

When Dallas-based homebuilder Sandy Golgart bought home lots in Normandy Estates in West Plano six years ago, she joined about 10 other builders in the 75-acre community.
Then the recession hit. Luxury homebuilders dropped like flies.
Golgart’s company, Plano-based Bentley Premier Builders LLC, picked up the pieces in the development, purchasing abandoned acreage on the cheap. The community’s initial builder, Hawkins-Welwood Homes, threw in the towel in 2011, and Bentley ended up with the more than 140 developable home sites remaining.
Now, Bentley’s claim off the Dallas North Tollway may pay off.
In North Texas, low housing inventory and high ...

The whole article at

JLL vacancy report: Seeing red in the Dallas skyline

According to the report, Jones Lang LaSalle expects downtown Dallas’ revival to continue. ‘The Skyline buildings will be at the center of this transformation and the first to benefit from what should be a broader recovery for the community,’ says the report, which highlights vacancy at some of the city’s most notable buildings.

It’s the first time Jones Lang LaSalle has done this extensive of a report on downtown and Uptown Dallas’ best-in-class office buildings — but the picture is becoming clearer: There’s investment and leasing opportunity in those skyscrapers.
“When you look at the skyline for Dallas, you see a lot of red,” Evan Stone, managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle, told me in reference to the firm’s recently released Dallas Skyline Report. “Those are buildings that have a lot of vacancy, but when you look at them they are good buildings and the locations are improving dramatically.”
The new report highlights ...

Staff Writer-Dallas Business Journal

Networking....9 Networking Secrets

Scott Gerber is a superconnector. He knows a lot of people, and he works hard to introduce the right ones to each other. Recently profiled in Fast Company, Scott, pictured here with co-founder Ryan Paugh of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), is the author of Never Get a Real Job. But he's practically made a job out of connecting others. I met Scott about a year ago, through the YEC, and also know him through our investments together in Gen Y Capital. In just a year, Scott's been instrumental in connecting me to an investor, to a business partner, and three times to the media.
Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, one of my favorite booksdefined "connectors" as "the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions." Scott is such a connector. In fact, he's the best networker I've ever met, so I asked Scott for his tips about how to network. The secrets are out, below:
1. Always be thinking about the other person, not personal gain. Other people come first. Since most people are concerned with their own personal gain, you'll quickly stand out. Albert Einstein once said, "Strive not to be a person of success, but a person of value."
2. Build a network around an idea that people believe in. They have to believe strongly enough to build trust, a foundation and a core value system. YEC is the example for Scott. This makes it more powerful because everyone participates based on their shared mission. It also establishes a baseline that everyone can identify with that removes small talk and the usual 'walls' by establishing camaraderie among strangers.
3. Maximize access. By connecting others to access, you're providing value-added service.Access is everything. And you can then surround yourself with people that want to work with you.
4. Don't go for meaningless "numbers". Baseball cards might be nice to collect a lot of, but fans and followers are people. Authentic relationships are the key. (Numbers are useful for a personal brand, but not super-connecting.)
5. Systematize it. Create a system for your contacts and review it weekly. Scott uses a list and reviews weekly to keep what people need top of mind (but use whatever system works best for you).
6. Always be connecting. Put yourself out there. Dinners, lunches, teas, cocktail parties and even seemingly random events are all opportunities to connect. Be available, be visible, and be helpful.
7. Dedicate real and meaningful time. This is not just a task on a to-do list. This becomes a lifestyle. You need to spend real time with others, really listen to their stories, their needs, and their passions, and really care about bringing value to others without any regard for immediate or future gain.
8. Be a hybrid. Being able to connect different worlds is crucial, especially as business becomes more hybrid-based (i.e. ed-tech or fashion tech). Knowing people in your own industry is great, but it will become more common for people to need assistance and partnerships beyond their traditional boundaries and comfort zones. Those who can connect the dots across industries will become even more valuable.
9. Above all else, be there to help people. I've written before that "How can I help you?" isthe most important phrase you'll say in a meeting. It's also the most important phrase for a superconnector.
A week ago, I attended and delivered the closing keynote speech at an excellent conference called Social Media Marketing World. I had not one but two amazing experiences with other superconnectors. First, the opening keynote speaker, Larry Benet of Sang Events for speakers and authors, met me and was immediately interested in how he could help me, and who he could connect me to for help. I particularly loved that within the first five minutes of meeting him, Larry had asked me what charity was most important to me and why.
Then, I met a man named Ian Cleary of Razor Social. Upon meeting me, Ian asked, "How can i help you right this minute?" He couldn't connect me to anyone right at that minute, but I thought I'd challenge him, so I told him I could really use more followers on Angel List for my new startup. An hour later, Ian had followed me - along with five others. But the kicker came at lunch the next day. I saw Ian sitting down, but I was running out of battery on my iPhone, as usual, and so as I sat down to a table, I thought better of it, and remarked, "I''ll be back - let me go charge my cell phone first."
Dave Kerpen is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fort Worth Office Building Sold

A new investment group in Fort Worth acquired the 95%-occupied 82k SF 1612 Summit Ave in Fort 
Worth.Summit Hilltop Partners, formed by real estate investor Will Martin  purchased the asset from Omaha-based Ameritas Life Insurance Co for an undisclosed sum. It'll be held as a long-term investment with gradual improvements planned. (It's a beautiful thing to see a company and a building commit to one another like that.) Will says he's on the hunt for other Class-A and Class-B office and industrial buildings with Class-A locations in both Dallas and Fort Worth.

The five-story building includes an underground parking garage and is leased to 15 tenants. Will tells us his brokerage firm, W. Martin and Co, will move its offices into the building at the end of the month and handle leasing. At I-30 and Summit Avenue, Will says this location is the gateway to the new Chisholm Trail Tollway, which is scheduled to open next year. Centra Partners' Jeff Day repped the seller. Liberty Bank provided the financing with Reagan Casey handling the transaction.

Dallas-area apartment construction still booming as rental leasing slows in first quarter

North Texas apartment leasing cooled a bit in the first quarter of 2013. But there was no sign of a step back in construction.
The 1,574 net apartment rentals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the first three months of the year was an improvement from leasing in the same period last year, MPF Research said Monday.
But net leasing in the area fell from strong fourth-quarter levels of more than 1,900 apartments rented.
At the same time, developers completed 2,315 D-FW apartments in the first quarter.
North Texas leads the country in apartment building, with 22,837 units under construction — the highest local building total since the first quarter of 2009, according to MPF Research.
“There’s no sign yet of construction slowdown, but you’d think — hope — the market is close to leveling off in starts,” said MPF Research’s Jay Parsons. “Dallas-Fort Worth is one of only a handful of markets nationally where apartment development has already topped historic norms.”
But Parsons isn’t in a panic over the volume of development.
“There’s a lot of construction, yes, but that’s almost always the case here.”
The fevered pace of apartment building and an increase in the number of renters buying houses caused overall apartment occupancy levels in D-FW to drop slightly in the first quarter, to 93.6 percent. That’s still ahead of year-ago occupancy levels, but less than at the end of 2012.
Overall rents in the first quarter were only up 2.3 percent from a year earlier, to an average of $833, MPF found.
“The local apartment market is still in very healthy shape,” Parsons said. “But occupancy is inching down and rent growth levels are easing.”
Most of the building activity is in Uptown and downtown Dallas, the Oak Lawn area, Irving’s Las Colinas district and Carrollton-Farmers Branch.
As the local housing market has turned the corner, some renters are opting to buy and take advantage of near record-low home finance rates.
“The increase in buyers has softened apartment demand in some of the key suburbs, and that — along with all of the new construction — has forced apartment operators to limit rent hikes,” Parsons said.
But he said that the rate of home purchases so far isn’t enough to have a serious impact on the D-FW apartment market.
“This market is accustomed to heavy home sales and large apartment construction volumes,” Parsons said.
Developers say they’ve seen no sign of a slowdown in leasing at their new projects.
“We had the typical seasonal slowdown, but for the most part all of our properties are experiencing strong leasing activity now that spring has arrived,” said Scott Sherwood with JLB Partners, which has several new rental projects in the Dallas area.
First quarter 2013 
Completions: 2,315 units 
Net leasing: 1,574 units 
Average monthly rent: $833 
Average occupancy: 93.6% 
Under construction: 22,837 units 

Dallas-Fort Worth home sales soar in March, but listings are slim

The spring housing market started with a rush of sales in North Texas.
But sellers are not rushing into the market with pre-owned home listings.
Sales of pre-owned single-family homes in March rose 22 percent from a year earlier, with 7,483 properties sold. It was the most homes sales for a March since 2007.
And median single-family home sales prices were 8 percent higher last month than in March 2012, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems reported Monday.
With March’s increase, sales prices in North Texas are at a record high in area multiple listing services. Median home sales prices are now about $10,000 higher than they were at the peak of the market in mid-2007, before the recession hit. March’s median sales price was $168,000.
“Part of the increase is from demand growth, part is from the short inventory of available properties,” said Dr. James Gaines, Real Estate Center economist. “It’s a double-whammy on prices.”
So far this year, home sales through real estate agents’ multiple listing services are up 19 percent from first quarter of 2012.
Even with the jump in sales and higher prices, there’s no sign of an increase in the number of houses on the market. Total inventory of homes for sale in North Texas at the end of March was down 22 percent from a year ago.
Slim pickings
There’s only a 3.4-month supply of houses listed for sale with agents in the area.
In March, there were 10,857 single-family home listings added to the MLS, about the same as a year ago and less than in March 2011.
The number of homes on the market in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is at the lowest level in more than 20 years, according to the Real Estate Center.
Real estate agents had expected a surge in home listings because of the stronger market, low interest rates and rising prices.
George DeCourcy, associate director of the real estate program at the University of Texas at Dallas, said it will take more than the recent price increases to cause a big jump in homes on the market.
“Prices have come back, but not like a bull,” DeCourcy said Monday. “People feel there is no compelling reason they should move at these prices.
“I think you will have to see significant move-up from here before people decide to list their homes,” he said.
Since many homeowners have refinanced at near record low mortgage rates, their costs of owning their current house have also fallen.
“Even as prices escalate, does it make sense to sell my house and buy another one?” he said. “If home prices went up dramatically, people who had a lot of equity might cash it in, but what would you do with it?”
Indeed, with a shortage of houses for sale in many neighborhoods, potential buyers are often outbid by other shoppers.
The time it takes to sell a house in North Texas dropped to 65 days in March — about a quarter less time than it took a year ago.