Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Interactive map: Where Texas home values are rising and falling

So what would Texas' home values look like from space? Using new data released earlier this month from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Austin Business Journal compiled a map showing how median home value estimates in Texas from the Census' American Community Survey 5-Year-Estimates have changed since 2010. The map, embedded below, colors Texas' 5,000-plus Census tracts from blue to red to signify the percentage change in median home value estimates. A blue-shaded tract is one where median home value estimates have fallen. A red-shaded tract is one where median home value estimates have risen. Be sure to click within the tracts to explore its statistics. Viewing this on our mobile page? View the full map by clicking the "view full site" link at the bottom of the page.Texas is booming, drawing people from all over the world in seek of economic opportunities. But as Texas' economy grows, so do home values. It's a story familiar to anyone who has spent time in Texas' major cities. In some places, such as Austin, the home values are growing so fast thatsome national analysts are beginning to wonder if those values are sustainable.

On average across Texas, median home value estimates have risen 5 percent in the four years from 2010 through 2013. The tract with the fastest growth is Census Tract 3616.02 in Harris County, Texas, just south of downtown Houston. There, median home value estimates have grown by more than 427 percent since 2010, rising from a median of $19,100 in 20109 to $100,600 in 2013.
According to Toni Nelson, director of strategic initiatives for Houston-based Better Home andGardens Gary Greene Realty, one of the biggest realtors in Houston, the growth estimated median home values in this area is driven by home building activity and rehabilitation of existing housing stock for resale by production builders.
"This particular area, until recently, was not one of the finest parts of town, you could say," said Nelson in an interview. "It's not like a master-planned community. They've taken these old, lower-income homes and torn them down and...it's become a mecca of affordability."
On the other end of the scale is Census Tract 99 in Dallas, where home values estimates have reportedly fallen by 89 percent since 2010, from $107,000 to $12,000 in 2013. But this particular outlier is suspect, according to Bill Head, director of communications for Dallas MetroTex Association of Realtors. He notes that the tract is largely industrial, and is unaware of any major residential areas there.
Head's comments underscore a fact that, sometimes, ACS tract-level results can have some weird things going on, especially when you get to either end of the bell curve. This oddity could be chalked up to sampling errors, or unseen or low-key owner-occupied housing in the area.
If you want a takeaway from the data overall, it would be this: Home values grow slower in an area when more housing supply is added. Statewide, Texas Census tracts estimates for housing unit growth increased by an average of 2.3 percent. But the 25 percent of Census tracts that grew the slowest saw above-average housing unit growth at 2.5 percent. The 25 percent of Census tracts where median home values grew the fastest expanded their housing unit stock much slower than average at only 1.7 percent.

  Digital Editor-Austin Business Journal

Atlanta developer expanding its Victory Park vision of high-rise living

Novare Group
The 24-story, 336-unit luxury residential tower was recently completed by an Atlanta-based developer eyeing a nearby site in Victory Park.

An Atlanta-based development firm Novare Group is expanding its vision of high-rise living in Victory Park, with perhaps another SkyHouse tower.

This year, the company in partnership with Batson-Cook Development Co. recently finished its luxury high-rise at 2200 N. Lamar St. targeting "young renters" and "Generation Y professionals" working in downtown and Uptown.

The 24-story, 336-unit luxury residential tower is one of Novare Group's SkyHouse concepts, which have been popular in cities like Austin, Houston and Atlanta.

Now, it appears that Novare Group wants to expand that vision to include another tower — which has yet to be outlined. The company filed a site plan on a tract adjacent to the AudiPark Garage near the American Airlines Center.

A spokesman for Novare Group confirmed the filing, but said the details of the possible development are still under wraps.

The group's newly completed SkyHouse project includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units with high-end finishes and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The luxury tower includes amenities such as the signature SkyHouse clubroom, fitness area and outdoor plazas with a swimming pool, lounges and fireplaces on the building's 24th floor.

Last go-around, Novare Group President Jim Borders said the SkyHouse in Victory Park willhelp serve the largest employment center in the growing region.
Staff Writer-Dallas Business Journal

Gabriel Barbier-Mueller to break ground on Harwood's Bleu Ciel

Courtesy of Harwood International
The 33-story skyrise tower named Bleu Ciel will have a number of water elements, such as two Junior Olympic pools and a diving pool atop the tower.

After months of marketing a 33-story ultra-luxury residential skyscraper, developerGabriel Barbier-Mueller is ready to break ground on Dallas-based Harwood International's latest project.
The firm plans to kick off the skyrise at the northwest corner of Wolf and McKinnon streets on Monday, Dec. 8.

The skyscraper, named Bleu Ciel, will appeal to residents who want to be part of a walkable community.
"We're trying to create more of a neighborhood community," said Barbier-Mueller, Harwood's founder and CEO, told the Dallas Business Journal in a previous interview. "Walkability is very important to us — to walk to Uptown and surrounding neighorhoods."
This will be the Dallas development firm's second condo tower within the European-styled community adjacent to Uptown. Azure, its first, proved successful, prompting plans for Bleu Ciel.
Barbier-Mueller hired architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte of Wilmotte & Associes S.A. in Paris, to help make Harwood's high hopes a reality.
Staff Writer-Dallas Business Journal

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New report: Texas home prices overvalued, “may be unsustainable”

Fitch Ratings warns that Texas home prices are 11 percent overvalued.One of the country’s top financial ratings firms is blowing the whistle on Texas’ hot housing market.Fitch Ratings warns that Texas has the most overvalued home prices in the country and that a correction could be coming because of falling oil prices. But local analysts disagree.
“After largely skirting the excesses and downsides of the last housing boom, significant recent growth has made Fitch cautious on the Texas housing market,” the New York-based financial analyst says in a just released report. “Fundamentals do not appear supportive of current prices, and the economy is vulnerable to the energy sector.
“Overall, Fitch views Texas prices as approximately 11 percent overvalued, with prices in Houston, Austin, and Dallas each growing by over 20 percent since 2011,” the ratings firm said.
Fitch said that the Lone Star State has “vaulted past California and now has the housing markets deemed most overvalued.”
Home sales prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year are at record levels — more than 15 percent higher than at the peak of the market before the recent housing crash.
A lack of homes available for purchase coupled with North Texas’ fast-growing economy has caused residential prices to jump by 7 percent in just the last year, data from real estate agents shows.
Economist Jim Gaines with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said he’s looked at Fitch’s new housing report and doesn’t agree with the conclusions.
“I’m not buying the overvalued card right now,” Gaines said. “Yes, prices have increased substantially for Texas markets — but only after being essentially flat for almost five years.
“Texas and the specific markets named have experienced way above average growth in employment, incomes, and overall prosperity and it’s reflected in home values increasing.”
Still, Fitch analysts are fretting that the recent plunge in oil prices and energy company profits will kick the legs out from under Texas’ residential values.
“The economies in Texas are strong with economic growth outpacing that of national improvement, but these high home price levels may be unsustainable,” Fitch director Stefan Hilts said in the report. “One concern is the recent drop in oil prices, long a primary economic driver of the Texas economy.
“A strong energy sector has propelled recent economic strength.”
Despite its warning about overheated Texas home prices, Fitch’s report recognizes the overall strength of the state’s economy.
Texas has been leading the country in both job growth and population gains.
“Texas has an economic resiliency beyond energy that will help offset any significant downward movement in home prices for these markets over the next year,” Hilts said.
Ted Wilson, a principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies, said that Fitch’s concerns about the oil sector declines — at least for the Dallas-Fort Worth area — are overstated.
“Certainly markets like Midland would get hit much harder,” Wilson said. “There would be some impact here, but certainly not devastating.
“With regard to housing values, the D-FW market has always been one of the most affordable markets in the nation. Yes, prices have gone up here some locally, but I wouldn’t characterize the increase as overvalued presently. And certainly with the tight supply of inventory, we are not on the verge of any price collapse.”
Texas home price gains have already cooled from late last year and early in 2014.
But the year-over-year gains in residential prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are still running about twice the long-term average rate and are higher than nationwide increases.
“Of course, recent declines in oil prices and the energy sector could start putting some brakes on the rate of increase even further,” Gaines said. “As such, we are expecting home prices to continue to increase in 2015, but at a distinctly slower rate than the past couple of years.”
During the recent recession when many metropolitan areas in California, Nevada and Florida lost 50 percent or more of their home values, Texas prices fell only slightly.
And the housing markets in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio were some of the fastest in the country to recover.
Real estate agents expect that home sales and values will continue to grow in North Texas.
“The drop in oil prices always seem to bring on this sort of question in Texas, because in the past, Texas has been an energy state,” said Jim Fite, president of Century 21 Judge Fite Co. “However, in recent years, Texas and especially the Dallas-Fort Worth area has diversified its economic and job base.
“D-FW is now the destination for numerous companies relocating from around the U.S. It is this impact of new jobs and the lack of inventory that has created our rise in housing prices.”
 stevebrown@dallasnews.comReal Estate Editor, Dallas Morning News

Wednesday, December 03, 2014



Concert and Fireworks Spectacular to feature Jack Ingram and Los
Lobos in Concert
Exciting New Collaboration with
Klyde Warren Park Holiday Celebration

(Dallas) The AT&T Performing Arts Center and Klyde Warren Park today announced a new holiday 
collaboration, combining the Center’s annual Reliant Lights Your Holidays event with the park’s 
annual family holiday event. The daylong festivities, featuring music, children’s activities, 
fireworks and more, are free to the public and will take place on Saturday, December 6.

Up to the minute details can be found at  www.attpac.org/reliantlights and at 

    The Reliant Lights Your Holidays event on the AT&T Performing Arts
Center campus, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., will feature:
o Live performances by Country Music star Jack Ingram and roots rock legends Los Lobos. Each will 
perform a selection of their own hits and holiday classics.
o A snow-filled play area and free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
o A fireworks display in Elaine D. and Charles A. Sammons Park that will illuminate a dazzling, 
specially-designed array of LED lights placed on the Center’s iconic venues and trees.

New forecast: D-FW commercial real estate outlook remains positive for next few years

A new forecast for Dallas-Fort Worth commercial real estate predicts continued strong demand for buildings during the next few years.
CBRE Group made gave its annual property market outlook Wednesday night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Uptown.
The bottom line: Expect real estate demand in the D-FW to continue to grow along with jobs and population.
“The local economy is expected to support healthy demand across property sectors,” Sara Rutledge, CBRE’s director of research and analysis said. “Industrial will likely moderate slightly given limited availability until new construction comes online.
“Multifamily is also expected to moderate given that it is later in the cycle,” she said.
“Going forward the Metroplex should remain an attractive place for corporate users – Toyota is a prime example of that.”
CBRE’s research shows that since 2010 106 companies – the highest number for any Texas office market – expanded or relocated into space in the D-FW area.
Most of the leases were by companies in insurance (27%), financial services (15%) and technology (13%).
Insurance is at the top of that list mainly because of State Farm’s new 1.3 million-square-foot office complex being built in Richardson.
By Steve Brown  Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

EnLink move to Arts District fills up most of 7-Eleven space at a higher rent

ELink will move to One Arts Plaza in mid 2016.
Early this year when word got out that 7-Eleven Corp. was headed to the ‘burbs, the pending relocation caused some head scratching.
After six years in its headquarters in the Arts District and with many years left on its lease, the national convenience store chain had a deal with building owner Billingsley Co. to move out.
Billingsley would construct 7-Eleven a new headquarters in Irving, leaving more than 200,000 square feet of empty office space behind in the developer’s One Arts Plaza building on Routh Street.
Does this sound like a plan?
As it turned out, it was brilliant for Billingsley and for energy firm EnLink Midstream Partners LP which needs a new home and will take almost 160,000 square feet of the former 7-Eleven space.
“EnLink is excited to be coming to the Arts District,” said developer Lucy Billingsley. “They will be a huge compliment to Thompson & Knight,” the other major office tenant in One Arts Plaza.
The deal EnLink signed with Billingsley takes a major tenant out of the Uptown market that had been considered as a catch for new buildings proposed in the area.
“We are in a very fortunate situation versus all the new construction,” Billingsley said. “Our construction costs were at 2005 levels.
“The cost of this building affords us to be able to offer a rental rate much less than today’s market,” she said.
While no one is talking about the terms of the transaction, it’s no secret that EnLink will be paying significantly more than 7-Eleven signed up for six years ago.
EnLink is moving from a building near the Crescent at 2501 Cedar Springs and will increase the size of its headquarters by more than 40 percent.
JLL’s Steve Thelen, Jeff Staubach and Torrey Littlejohn negotiated the lease with Billingsley’s Lucy Burns and Marijke Lantz.
Dallas-based architecture firm Corgan has been hired to design the new offices.
“With this deal we have only one and a half floors at One Arts Plaza left to lease,” Billingsley said.
Billingsley said the plan is for 7-Eleven to make its relocate to the new building in January of 2016 and EnLink will move in a few months later.  
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

Vacant downtown Dallas office building next in line for apartment redo

Owners of a vacant downtown Dallas office building plan to turn the property into luxury apartments with retail and parking on the lower levels.
The 411 N. Akard building will be 50 years old next year and has spent most of the last decade sitting empty.
Two years ago the 10-story, blue metal clad office block was purchased by the owners of Ross Tower across the street.
California State Teachers Retirement System, with the help of Dallas’ PegasusAblon and its partner Lionstone Group, bought the 365,000-square-foot office property for the 800 parking spaces located underneath the empty offices.
Now the owners have filed plans with the City of Dallas to convert the six upper vacant levels of the building into 215 apartments.
Merriman Associates Architects has drawn up plans that include cutting a central courtyard into the center of the office block.
“It’s a great solution to this vintage of building that has such a large footprint,” said architect Jerry Merriman.
A swimming pool on the roof will provide views of the surrounding downtown buildings.
The groundfloor of the building would be used for retail space.
One plan shows the property with its original name: The Mayflower Building. Later it was called Insurance Plaza.
The project was designed by Thomas Stanley, the same architect that did the nearby First National Bank Tower at 1401 Elm St.
The six levels of underground parking were included in the project to serve customers at the new Sanger Harris department store across the street – now the DART headquarters building.
(DMN files)
The 411 N. Akard building was constructed in 1965 and has been vacant for years.
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

Downtown Dallas apartment deal drew lots of bidders

The Mosaic apartment sale is one of Dallas' biggest this year.
The just complete sale of the Mosaic apartment towers in downtown Dallas came after a competition for the property, brokers who handled the deal said.
The 440-unit loft apartment project at Akard and Bryan streets was purchased by Olympus Property in a deal negotiated by Institutional Property Advisors, a division of Marcus & Millichap.
IPA executive director Will Balthrope said there was a lot of investor interest in the property.
“It shows continued investment in our downtown core – people who have confidence in the growth of Dallas,” Balthrope said. “We gave 19 tours of the building and had multiple offers.”
Balthrope said the downtown apartment sale was one of the largest in Dallas this year.
While terms of the transaction were not disclosed, the property was expected to fetch close to $80 million.
Olympus plans to renovate Mosaic, which opened in 2007. The 21-story and 31-story buildings were previously used for office space.
“The buyer viewed it as they were getting a bargain on a luxury high-rise in the center of Dallas,” said Balthrope, who negotiated the sale with IPA’s Drew Kile. “The buyer believes there is great upside in the rents.”
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

New York investor buys Plano apartment community

(Legends at Chase Oaks)
The Legends at Chase Oaks overlook Watters Creek Golf Course.
A New York-based investor has purchased a large Plano apartment community.
The Praedium Group said it has purchased the Legends at Chase Oaks, a 346-unit rental community located on Legacy Drive near U.S. Highway 75.
Praedium said it plans to upgrade the apartments, which are located on the Watters Creek Golf Course.
With the latest purchase, the real estate investor now has six Texas properties with more than 1,800 apartments.
“The Southwest region is a major focus for our company and we feel very confident in this market’s continued growth,”  Praedium’s Mark Lippmann said in a statement.
Terms of the Plano purchase were not disclosed.
Praedium Group is a privately-held real estate investment firm that was formed in 1991. Since then the company has handled $9.5 billion in transactions including 70,000 multifamily units.
By Steve Brown  Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

Telecom Corridor office building changes hands

Collins Square was built in 1986.
An investor that’s already a big player in the Telecom Corridor has purchased another Richardson building.
Pillar Commercial has acquired Collins Square, a 213,864-square-foot office building on Collins Boulevard east of U.S. Highway 75. Pillar made the purchase in with Origin Capital Partners.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The 4-story Collins Square is almost fully leased to The Travelers Cos. The building was constructed in 1986 and renovated in 2002.
“Having Travelers insurance as the anchor tenant was one of the compelling reasons we selected this asset,” Manny Ybarra, Pillar Commercial founder and president, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the Travelers team and are equally excited about our new venture with Origin.”
The new owners plan to make upgrades to the building over the next six months.
CBRE Group’s Eric Mackey, Gary Carr, John Alvarado and Robert Hill brokered the sale.
Pillar Commercial owns one of the largest office complexes in the Telecom Corridor. It’s 2-building Lakeside office campus on North Central Expressway north of Campbell Road is rented to State Farm Insurance.
By Steve Brown  Dallas Morning News   stevebrown@dallasnews.com

North Dallas project that stalled during recession is about to kick off with new construction

(Steve Brown)
The 83-acre Midtown Park project is almost sold out.
A sprawling North Dallas redevelopment project that has been stalled for more than five years is about to see a flurry of construction.
The pending projects will be the first development in the 83-acre Midtown Park, which was started almost 10 years ago on Meadow Road just east of North Central Expressway.
Two development sites in the project have just sold to builders and several more transactions are about to close.
“We have basically sold everything,” said Leon Backes, head of Provident Realty, which is development partner with Missouri-based Kroenke Holdings, which owns the land. “This time next year there will be a huge amount of construction going on over there.
“It will transform that whole area.”
Kroenke Holdings bought the vacant blocks in December 2011 after a foreclosure.
Starting in 2004 and 2005, investors has bought up almost nine blocks along Meadow and Manderville Lane located just north of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The properties had more than 2,500 aging apartments, which were knocked down.
After building new streets and planning the development, the ambitious plans fell through during the recession.
Kroenke and Provident Realty bought the property for a reduced price and have been working since them to resurrect the development.
A San Antonio-based developer Embrey Partners just purchased 15 acres in the Midtown Park project where it will construct a large rental community.
And Houston-based developer Hines has purchased another tract for more than 250 urban townhomes.
Backes said other development sites are being sold for a medical office development, a surgery center and memory care facility.
“We in the spring are going to start an apartment project ourselves over there,” he said. “And we have a major retirement village property under contract.
“There will be 80 acres of development happening over there all at once,” Backes said. “People have kind of forgotten about it.”
The property was previously zoned for a construction of almost 4,000 apartments, 500,000 square feet of retail space and 1.25 million square feet of office space. It’s one of the largest empty development tracts in the North Central corridor.
Kroenke Holdings and Provident Realty are already developing another huge project in North Dallas.
Their Preston Hollow Village mixed-use development is under construction at the northwest corner of North Central and Walnut Hill Lane. The 42-acre development includes a shopping center, office space and apartments.
(Provident Realty)
Midtown Park is between U.S. Highway 75 and Greenville Avenue.
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

Atlanta developer eyes second site for Victory Park apartment tower

(Google Streetview)
Novare Group is looking at a half block building site next door to the American Airlines Center sports arena.
An Atlanta developer is looking at plans for its second high-rise project in Victory Park.
Novare Group just built the 24-story SkyHouse Dallas apartment tower on Woodall Rodgers Freeway just north of downtown.
Now the developer is eyeing a second high-rise project next door to the American Airlines Center in Victory Park.
(City of Dallas)
Novare Group has filed a plat plan with the city.
Novare Group has filed a site plan for its SkyHouse Victory project with the City of Dallas for a half block site just east of the sports arena at Houston and Payne streets.
The property is now occupied by a surface parking lot next door to the AudiPark Garage.
Novare Group has made it no secret that it wants to do a second high-rise apartment project in Dallas.
The developer recently looked a development site on Cedar Springs Road next door to the Oak Lawn United Methodist Church.
The new SkyHouse Dallas tower next door to the Perot Museum has 336 luxury apartments.
The developer also has SkyHouse buildings in Austin and Houston.
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

Historic downtown Dallas tower will become Hampton Inn hotel

(Merriman Associates)
The 1700 Commerce building will become a Hampton Inn.
The  new owners of an historic downtown Dallas office building are seeking approvals to convert the tower into a hotel.
“We are very excited to welcome another quality hotel developer to downtown,” said John Crawford, CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc.   “They have an excellent track record and are committed to converting a  historic property that brings dollars, jobs  and assists us in creating more activity and vibrancy in addition to taking another empty building off the market.”
The owners are seeking approvals from the Landmark Commission to make exterior changes in the property. Proceedings are underway to designate the building as a Dallas historic landmark.
The 1700 Commerce Building was originally constructed as the Allen Building.
It was built by prominent Dallas attorney Arch C. Allen and was designed by architect James N. McCammon. The brick and stone office building cost about $1.5 million when it was new.
NewcrestImage owns and operates more than a dozen, with five properties under construction and more in planning stages. The company has new hotel developments in East Texas, the Houston area, Waco, Midland and Oklahoma City.
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News  stevebrown@dallasnews.com

10 Dallas-area apartment communities sold in big Texas transaction

(England Group)
The Abbey at Vista Ridge in Lewisville is among the 10 Dallas-area properties sold.
A Virginia investor has purchased 10 Dallas-area apartment communities with plans to upgrade the properties.
The acquisition by Harbor Group International LLC includes two apartment properties in Houston and totals 3,100 units.
The new owner plans to spend $10 million to upgrade the apartments.
“The acquisition of the portfolio reflects HGI’s strategic decision to expand our investment and operational presence in major Texas markets,” T. Richard Litton Jr., president of HGI, said in a statement.
The Dallas apartment communities include the 364-unit Carrington Park apartments on Communications Parkway in Plano, the 330-unit Abbey at Vista Ridge on Vista Ridge Mall Drive in Lewisville, the 320-unit Sunset Oaks at 3550 Timberglen Rd. in Dallas and the 252-unit Tallows apartments on Frankford Road in Carrollton.
Dirk Goris of CBRE Group brokered the sale.
The apartment communities were acquired from Canada-based England Group. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Harbor Group International is based in Norfolk and owns 7.4 million square feet of commercial properties and approximately 29,000 apartments.
By Steve Brown Dallas Morning News 

Dallas-area home price gains second highest in U.S

Only Houston had a bigger home price gain in October among major U.S. markets.
The Dallas area had the second highest home price gains in the country in a new nationwide comparison.
Dallas home prices were up by 9.1 percent in October from a year earlier in the new report by CoreLogic Inc. Only Houston at 11.3 percent had a higher annual home price increase for the year, CoreLogic researchers found.
Nationwide prices were up 6.1 percent from October 2013.
The large Texas housing value growth comes at a time when home price gains are moderating in most parts of the country.
“Home price growth is moderating as we head into the late fall and is currently running at half the pace it was in the spring of 2014,” said Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. “However, there are still pockets of strength, especially in several Texas markets, as well as Seattle, Denver and other markets with strong economic fundamentals.”
Home prices in most Texas markets are now at all-time highs.
Prices in the Dallas area are now 12 percent higher than the peak before the recession in 2007.
 By Steve Brown   stevebrown@dallasnews.com