Housing Starts High in North Texas

Builders in DFW are very thankful Hurricane Harvey’s fury bypassed this part of the Lone Star State.  Houston, on the other hand, was pummeled to the tune of about 100,000 homes being flooded.  Any residual effects of the hurricane in North Texas have not compromised the construction activity of homes, here.


It is impressive that housing starts in DFW have reached an unprecedented level over the past 10 years, according to Dallas-based Residential Strategies, Inc.  North Texas home starts climbed by 9.8% year-over-year during the third quarter while new-home closings increased by 14% year-over-year.  Ted Wilson, principal of Residential Strategies, shares home-builders’ reasons for the success of North Texas’ new-home sales:  price point and location in the market.


Pricing Dictates Selling Trends

Homes priced at $500,000 or more are not selling as quickly as they did in the past.  No longer are many potential buyers willing to open their wallets to further price increases.  When you consider Residential Strategies’ incredible revelation, it becomes clearly understandable why buyers have become more stand-offish:  Over the last six years, Dallas home prices have risen by a whopping 52.7%!  Because of diminishing sales of higher-priced homes, builders in the $500,000 and higher bracket are adding more incentives and discounts.


As demographic group, millennials are positively impacting the housing market.  Wilson strongly believes this group of young adults will become increasingly robust home-buyers for, at least, five years.  Because of this, home-builders are concentrating on moderately-priced homes in the $200,000 to $500,000 category.  This price range has experienced the most growth for new-home starts – a 14.5% increase year-over-year, ending in the third quarter.


Builders choosing to cater to home-buyers who desire more-affordable housing options have reaped the rewards.  Wilson says home prices under $300,000 were strong throughout the 2nd quarter of 2017.  The influx of new homes priced under $300,000 has pushed the quarterly home starts to 8,912; and this represents the highest level North Texas has enjoyed since the fourth quarter of 2006!


Perhaps, you are wondering about housing starts for homes priced under $200,000 –  surprisingly, they decreased by 16.5% year-over-year in the third quarter.  And the reason? –  the price of land.  Wilson says the demand for homes under $200,000 is definitely out there; but the difficulty rests with builders  finding reasonably-priced land that would yield lots for less than $40,000.  Needless to say, this is an ongoing angst for North Texas builders.


More Inventory Needed

Residential Strategies shares additional insight: currently, there is a 2.66 month supply of new-home inventory which equates to 22,475 homes on the North Texas market.  That figure needs to be pumped up to reach equilibrium which would be a 6 month supply.  Additionally, tens-of-thousands of new residents flow into North Texas each year; and North Texas has added 682,200 new new net jobs over the last seven years – an expansion of its workforce by 23%.  After it’s all said and done, even though builders are constructing homes in North Texas at a fevered pitch, it will take time for the housing supply to coincide with the sheer number of available home-buyers.


The Dallas-Area Home Market – Is It Peaking?

Dallas is a coveted locale for a number of reasons; and its housing market is no exception.  Realtor.com generates listings regarding the hottest home markets in the country; and, you guessed it, the DFW area is included.  In the most-recent home-market analysis, DFW is positioned alongside the Silicon Valley and San Francisco regarding locations where residential transactions move the fastest.  This is irrespective of the fact that DFW’s home prices have been rising faster than the national average.


Dallas is a major player in the housing market.  It is quite astounding that home prices have increased by more than 40% in DFW – from 2013 to 2017.  That pace has far exceeded the pace of income growth – no surprise there.


There appears to be a shift in the wind, however.  Dallas News tells us that, in North Texas, bidding wars for properties is on the decline; and buyers are not as eager to quickly stake their claim on residences that are overpriced.  This represents a setback from the past few years where buyers were more willing to do so.  The “sellers’ high” is waning – sellers shouldn’t assume overpriced homes will sell like hotcakes, as they have been.  It is a fact, right now, that many North Texas neighborhoods have their ‘For Sale’ signs in their yards, noticeably longer.



The availability of homes on the market in North Texas is increasing; and homes connected with real-estate agencies, here, came in at almost 22,300 during October 2017.  That figure represents an 11% jump from September 2016.  This is a positive thing since tens of thousands of newcomers move into North Texas every year; and having a generous home inventory is paramount.


Reflecting over the past few years, we have seen a shortage of homes for sale in DFW; and those shortage numbers have been historic.  Due to that, housing prices soared during the sellers’ market.  Currently, a 3-month supply of listed homes is available in DFW; but it should be about twice that amount.  There is still an under-supply of moderately-priced properties on the market that come in under $250,000.  Due to affordability factors, DFW homes in this price category took the lead with the biggest increases in sales for 2017.


Housing Prices Becoming Normalized

According to Dallas News, the first nine months of 2017 experienced a 9% increase in the median price of sold homes in North Texas when compared with the median price of homes sold during the same time period of 2016.  That 9% figure is two or three times the conventional price growth in the housing market.  At the same time, the 9% increase is a bit of a slowdown when compared to recent gains of 10%-12% a year.

Then there is the Case-Shiller Home Price Index which is one of the most closely-looked at housing-value measures, in the country.  In its latest report, it reveals home-price increases in the Dallas area have been at the slowest pace since the middle of 2014.


Local real-estate agents in DFW tell us that homes priced above $500,000 are experiencing slower sales in 2017 when compared to 2016.  Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center, says:  “You’ve still got a good market – just a little slower that what we’ve recently seen.  We’ve seen a several-year run of way-above-average growth in home prices.  You don’t want to see prices jumping up so high since that causes problems with affordability.  Things are getting back to normal with a more-balanced market.” Gaines believes DFW home prices will continue to move upward in 2018, but not at double-digit percentage rates.



Looking to Move to Dallas? Five Good Reasons Why You Should!

Remaining young-at-heart is a goal many of us aspire to; and if there is one location that can keep a person thinking, feeling, and behaving younger than one’s years, it would be Dallas, Texas!  It is, here, where one will find diversity, a thriving economy and a myriad of family-friendly cultural and recreational options – all waiting to be discovered by those who might choose the Big D as their new home.


Here are only a few interesting statistics, concerning Dallas, that might get your attention:


***  In 2016, The Dallas Morning News ranked Dallas #1, compared to other top-ten American cities, as the most-coveted metro area for relocation for professional reasons and employment opportunities.


***  Dallas attracts almost 80,000 new residents every year; and according to D Magazine, Dallas ranked #1 in the nation for population growth, in 2016.


***  The City of Dallas has a fun-filled reputation to the point of hosting 24.9 million visitors, annually!


Regardless of whether you are retired, a new college grad or raising a family, here are five more reasons Dallas is the go-to spot for living large.


The Economy

Any homeowner desires to build as much equity in their residence, as possible; and in Dallas, the stability of the value of residential homes is robust.  New-home construction is very strong; and a 2016 headline in D Magazine looked like this:  “The Hottest Dallas Real Estate Market, Ever! (Still!)”.  Zillow points out thathomes’ double-digit appreciation in Dallas positions this thriving city as one of the fastest-growing real-estate markets, anywhere.


Those who reside in Dallas are on the receiving end of optimized market-values for homes and an, overall, dynamic real-estate market which is an indicator of a thriving economy.  Jobs are constantly expanding and so is the population; and because of that, new-home construction continues to forge ahead.  


Workers, companies and investors from all areas of the country are pouring into the Big D; and currently, Dallas is home to 18 of the Fortune 500 companies and 18 of the top wealth holders on Forbes Magazine’s list of richest billionaires.  Additionally, North Texas Commission states that DFW has the 4th highest GDP in the country.


The Jobs

The Forbes’ list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities has included Dallas for several years, now; and Dallas, being the economic powerhouse that it is, makes it all happen.  People want career opportunities; and companies such as Toyota, Southwest Airlines, AT&T, Exxon, Texas Instrument, Dr. Pepper/Snapple and others are beckoning newcomers – young and old, alike – to be a part of the action.


Commerce is alive and well in Dallas; and with population increases, relocations and overall increases in productivity, the North Texas Commission summed Dallas up in a few, simple words: “Dallas is the best place for anyone to be”.  Due to Texas’ business-friendly environment, major companies and smaller businesses are leaving a variety of states – California being one them –  and setting up shop in Dallas which results in thousands of new job opportunities.  Bloomberg – a major global provider of financial news which operates 24/7 – tell us that as of 2015, Dallas has added jobs at a faster pace than any of the nation’s other 15-largest metro areas.  Additionally, says Bloomberg:  “Metro Dallas has been, by just about every metric, the nation’s job-creation leader, with pay being above the national average.”


The Amenities

When it comes to amenities, if you want variety, you have it in Dallas!  A small sampling of niceties that stand out, include:


***  DFW International Airport ranks as the 2nd-largest in the US in terms of utilized acreage and covers a landmass almost bigger than Manhattan.  It boasts of the largest parking lot in the world, with 40,000 spaces.  This airport is the only one, anywhere in the world, with 7 operational runways – even beating Chicago’s O’Hare which has 6 that are operational.  The smaller Dallas Love Field Airport is located only 7 miles from Dallas’ downtown central business district.


***  Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail line accommodates 220,000 passengers every day and provides  incredible convenience for those commuting to work and traveling to entertainment venues, sports activities,  shopping districts, educational facilities and more.


***  Four Major Sports Leagues keep Texans enthused all year long.  Sports lovers of all ages can take in The Dallas Cowboys (football), the Texas Rangers (baseball), the Dallas Mavericks (basketball), and the Dallas Stars (hockey).


*** Six Flags Over Texas is a world-class theme park that covers 212 acres with more than 100 rides.


***  White Rock Lake spans 1,000 acres where a plethora of activities await: seagulls, herons, and pelicans love to meet here, while people of all ages enjoy sailing, paddle boats, fishing, hiking and more.


The Education

Whether you are 20, 40 or 60 years of age, broadening one’s education can be an exciting venture; and Dallas has a multitude of colleges and specialty schools, from which, to choose.  Within 40 miles of Dallas, one will find 45 colleges as well as more than a dozen educational institutions within Dallas, itself.  Here is a brief synopsis of what one can expect:


***  El Centro College:  a small, 2-year community college offering undergraduate programs for any high-school graduate or GED recipient.


***  KD Conservatory College of Film and Dramatic Arts: a personalized 2-year, private college where undergraduate programs are available.


***  Southern Methodist University:  a mid-size, 4-year private college where under-grad and graduate programs are offered that are affiliated with the United Methodist faith.


***  Dallas Christian College: a 4-year, private college connected with the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ faith.


Or, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Dallas or the University of Phoenix Dallas Campus might be up your academic alley.  Regardless of how you might want to feed your brain, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to broadening one’s educational horizons!


The Shopping and Eateries

Though ‘shopping’ and ‘eateries’ would qualify as ‘amenities’, they deserve some additional attention.  One of the most enjoyable activities in Dallas is immersing oneself in the eclectic shopping and eating options.  Dallas’ West End Historic District, for example, is a favorite for locals and tourists, alike.  Be ready to be charmed with this delightful locale which spans over 675 acres.  Diverse restaurants, museums, shops, horse-drawn carriage rides and more set the mood for enchantment and entrancement.


And here are a few more yummies you will want to take in:  Kiss Bartique is a stunning boutique for fashion lovers; Kokopelli Candy is filled with chocolates, nostalgic candy & hand-made cookies; and Wild Bill’s Western Store is an 1800’s redbrick building filled with the sites and aromas of leather goods, as well as western hats, belts/buckles and handmade jewelry.


The Uptown area features a generous selection of trendy, international chains; and nearby Highland Park offers upscale boutiques.  The huge Galleria in north Dallas features a huge ice-skating rink topped with magnificent, domed ironwork skylights with a wonderful kids’ play area voted as “Best”, by several local publications.  Then, there is the swanky Knox-Henderson area which offers a myriad of home goods and furnishing outlets.  Trendy, over-the-top luxury boutiques boast of the likes of Gucci, Prada and Chanel; and venues that are more-affordable abound, as well.  Dallas’ most-famous shopping destination is the distinguished Neiman Marcus which is headquartered in the Big D.  The old Main Street store remains Neiman Marcus’ famed location.


What is there not to like about Dallas?  If you want to fall in love all over again, Dallas is ready and waiting!  It is brimming with excitement, on so many levels!  Arts and entertainment opportunities, a plethora of educational options,  never-ending sporting events, and a growing economy all contribute to the 1.318 million people who love calling Dallas, ‘home’.


Money Pit Verses Dream Home

The 1986 movie, The Money Pit, is a hilarious comedy that focuses on what can go wrong with an older home.  Fortunately, most used homes will not present the type of repairs the movie’s home entails; but homes can, and do, begin to ‘nickel and dime’ homeowners.  Whether a multitude of smaller repairs keep surfacing or whether major dilemmas emerge, homeowners can be faced with continual exasperation and dwindling bank accounts – electrical issues, leaking roofs, mold formation, termite damage and worn-out HVAC systems will take their toll on a homeowner’s sanity.  Additionally, even if repairs and renovations are made, homeowners must be prepared to possibly pay higher property taxes if the home’s value increases.


With all that in mind, one might ask:  “Do I really want to continue to sink money into constant repairs or should I build a home of my dreams where everything is beautiful and new?”


Here are five reasons why letting go of a money-pit and building a new home is a wise choice:


You Contribute to the Home’s Personality

Making a new home stand out as one’s own is all about adding character that is unique and compelling.

When new-home owners are in a position to choose flooring, counter-tops, cabinetry & hardware, lighting and other amenities, the excitement builds as one’s personal signature is reflected on the finished product.  Creating a living space specifically tailored to one’s personal preferences adds a new dimension to the creation of one’s dream home. Even if a new home is already under construction, buyers can step in at virtually any phase of the construction and select finishing touches before construction is completed.


You Help to Conserve Energy

The building envelope of new homes can greatly contribute to maximized energy conservation.  New building codes require adherence to strict energy-efficiency standards; and a tighter-sealed building envelope prevents cooler or warmer air from escaping.  Other energy-efficient features make their contribution, as well, such as Low E windows that include protective coatings which keep heat inside during the winter and keep heat out during the summer.  Then, there are high-efficiency HVAC systems along with sealed air ducts and programmable thermostats that work hand-in-glove to ensure equipment operates much more efficiently.  When sustainable building products work as a cohesive energy-management system, homeowners enjoy the savings on utilities as well as their contribution towards being environmentally responsible.


You Enjoy Lower Utility Bills

Paying less for utility costs is a goal we, all, embrace.  As mentioned, thanks to ‘green’ systems and appliances that are included in newly-constructed homes, homeowners save money!  For example, Energy-Star appliances including stoves, refrigerators, washers & dryers, furnaces and AC units, to name a few, reduce the burden on home-owners’ wallets.  Since 1992, Energy Star has helped families and businesses save $360 billion on utility bills, while reducing greenhouse emissions by 2.5 metric tons.


You Gain Peace of Mind

Maintenance and repairs that can become distressingly predictable in older homes can reek havoc on a homeowner’s emotional and financial well-being.  Mold, faulty electrical systems, failing AC units, or structural damage, for example, can delete savings, very quickly.  New homes, on the other hand, give home-owners peace of mind by offering everything new – from the roof, to the plumbing, to HVAC systems to appliances.  Additional peace of mind comes from knowing new homes are carefully inspected by building officials during every phase of construction to ensure every aspect of the home fully meets demanding building codes.


You Enjoy an Enhanced Lifestyle

You may have heard the term, ‘master-planned communities’.  This term refers to thoughtfully-designed home communities that offer a myriad of sought-after amenities.  They can include parks, bike and hike trails, community pools and clubhouses, golf courses, amphitheaters, nearby schools, lakeside living, and more.  In master-planned communities, the number and types of amenities clearly separate themselves from what one would expect in a plan for a traditional housing subdivision.


Due to the array and caliber of amenities offered in master-planned communities, neighbors are much more inclined to meet one another and become close friends; and family members have greater opportunities to spend increased quality time together  – it’s all about how one lives due to where one lives!


What is the Uniform Residential Loan Application?

If you’ve ever applied for a home loan you know there are a lot of forms to fill and paper work to gather. One of these standard forms is called the Uniform Residential Loan Application, also know as a 1003 (ten-o-three).
The 1003 form has all the pertinent information about a borrower that a lender needs to qualify her or him for a home loan.
The Uniform Residential Loan Application consists of ten sections which are as follows:
  1. The Type of Loan being applied for, for example: conventional, FHA, or Jumbo
  2. Information about the property, such as its address, as well as how the property will be used: Will it be a primary residence, secondary residence, or investment property?
  3. Personal information about the borrower, including: date of birth, social security number, marital status, and address information
  4. Employment information – Are you self employed, employed by other? Name of employer, and length of employment etc.
  5. Income and expenses – How much money the borrower makes monthly, as well as monthly recurring debt like credit card payments, student loans, other mortgage payments, etc.
  6. Assets such as savings accounts, 401K, and liabilities such as child support payments, or liens.
  7. Transaction Details – Details items such as closing costs, points being paid (if any), and total loan amount
  8. Declarations – Other information about the borrower such as – citizenship, past credit delinquencies, and bankruptcy history
  9. Acknowledgement – Signed portion of the form that shows you have read through the terms and obligations
  10. Government Tracking Form – Information about the borrower that the government can use for statistical purposes
It’s very important that the information on this form is as accurate as possible, because it will be reviewed by underwriting along with all supporting information, and effects loan approval.
For more information about the Uniform Residential Loan Application or other loan forms, please contact us today.

Craig Ranch – Robust Development at It’s Best

Craig Ranch is a 2,200 acre, mixed-use development whose genesis take us back to the year 2000 when 1000-plus acres of Texas landscape was acquired to initiate construction for this site.  Getting near to build-out, Craig Ranch radiates from Custer Road to Stacy Road, and north to Silverado Trail.


The development within Craig Ranch is, as follows:


***  Residential Space:  1,287 acres built//55 acres sold but undeveloped//20 acres for sale


***  Medical Space:  6 acres built//no acreage left for development//32 acres for sale


***  Office Space:  42 acres built//29 acres sold but undeveloped//110 acres for sale


***  Retail Space:  49 acres built//48 acres sold but undeveloped//45 acres for sale


***  Entertainment+Church+Schools+Hotels:  271 acres built//16 acres sold but undeveloped//8 acres for sale


The remaining 182 acres will be utilized for parks and open space.


These figures come from David Craig who is the master developer of Craig Ranch; and he believes the development is expected to sell its remaining parcels of land in 2018.  Chief Operating Officer for Craig Ranch, Miles Prestemon, says as of late September, Craig Ranch had 14 parcels of land available for purchase which are zoned for office, commercial retail and urban core and corporate-center spaces.


Mr Craig states:  “My guesstimation would be it’s possible there could be several sites that aren’t built on, in five years.  But for the most part, (Craig Ranch) is developed out within five years; and that means, built on and occupied.  We are fortunate to be in the geographical location we’re in because of the proximity of the location to Legacy (West and business park); and Legacy has been so successful.  And, right about now, there are no sites that can be bought there, so there’s a natural migration to (SH 121 to Craig Ranch).”


Impressive Expansion is in the Works

Currently, one will find 4,000 individuals employed at Craig Ranch; and that number might seem small when one considers an expected expansion of employees to increase to a minimum of 20,000!  Methodist McKinney Hospital has plans to open its new Methodist Craig Ranch Surgery Center, here, in November of 2017Additionally, Independent Bank’s new $52 million headquarters will reside at the McKinney Corporate Center.  Construction of the headquarters’ 6-story building will begin spring of 2018 and open the following year; and about 400 new jobs will be added over the course of the next five years.


Mr. Craig tells us more corporations are expected to follow as well as retail and restaurant spaces, residential lots and apartments.  Some of these spaces are under development while others are in the early stages of development.  Artistry, at Craig Ranch, will be a 163-unit apartment complex that will cater to seniors, 62 years and over.  Completion for this addition is anticipated for mid-October at 6370 Piper Glen Road.


Two of the four baseball fields will be redeveloped at Craig Ranch:  The Dr. Pepper StarCenter, at 6993 Stars Avenue, will expand south onto two of the baseball fields and will add about 46,000 square feet to its facility.  This will include an ice rink with a whopping 1,800 seats as well as additional parking and locker rooms.  Mr. Craig shares his excitement when he states that Craig Ranch brings resort-style living that is self-sustainable with a true mix of uses, not vertically, but horizontally, where a tremendous tax-base and quality of life has been created.


Hub 121 and Other Venues

Hub 121 developer, Shane Jordan, shares some interesting insight.  To begin with, he tells us that Hub 121 will incorporate a mix of office space and restaurant and retail venues at the corner of SH 121 and Alma Road.  Hub 121’s initial phase will include 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; and ground-breaking for this portion of the plan should take place by the end of January 2018.  Mr. Jordan says Hub 121 will, also, include urban housing offices, a hospitality component, a pavilion area, and a stage for entertainment options such as live music and family-movie nights.


All this anticipated expansion creates a lot of excitement when one, also, becomes aware of another biggie to the site:  Craig Ranch Resort & Conference Center.  This coveted addition will include a 285-room hotel with the conference center taking up 33,000 square feet.  It will be located on an 8-acre site at the corner of Collin McKinney Parkway and Weiskopf Avenue, and is expected to open in March 2020.  The hotel, says Mr. Craig, will bring many of the amenities required by corporate America:  meeting spaces, dining and overnight stays on campus.  And one cannot forget, current, key amenities to be enjoyed:  the golf course, Craig Ranch Fitness and Spa, the Michael Johnson Performance Training Center, baseball fields and the McKinney Premier soccer fields.


Lastly, the financial aspect cannot be overstated since, during the first year of operation, the hotel should generate more than $350,000 in tax revenue for the city.  The city expects to collect more than $2 million each year via sales, property and hotel-occupancy taxes – this, according to a city presentation at the City Council meeting of May 2.


Craig Ranch:  ongoing development and anticipation, all rolled up in one exciting package!



Renovate or Relocate? – Buying New Has Its Benefits

It is true that remodeling an older home has its share of benefits; but true, also, are the advantages of buying a new home, instead.  Renovating an older home vs. purchasing a newly-built residence can be a tough decision for any homeowner.  Here are a few considerations to keep in one’s toolkit, so to speak, regarding renovations.


Obtaining a Permit Is a Must

Regardless of the size of a renovation, before the first nail is hit or before the first panel of sheet-rock is removed, obtaining a  building permit from the city may be required, depending on the project.  Every municipality has its own regulations regarding permits; but whether an old deck will be updated or a single wall be will removed, applying for, and receiving a building permit must come first; and that will involve time, effort and cost.


If permits are overlooked for any renovation project, a homeowner can be slapped with fines.  The assessor’s office must be informed of ‘new construction’ that goes above and beyond ‘simple maintenance’.  Projects that are considered ‘new construction’ – such as terracing a hillside, altering walls or installing counters –  require a permit while ‘simple maintenance’ – such as replacement of an HVAC system or a new roof — does not.  In the end, it is up to the discretion of the county assessor, on a case-by-case basis, as to whether or not a renovation endeavor is ‘assessable’.


Good news – bad news:  The market value of a remodeled home will increase when professional renovations are made; but the downside is that property taxes and homeowner’s insurance can rise, as well.  Because of this, some homeowners will attempt to bypass contacting the assessor’s office.  If the assessor’s office discovers a home remodel is taking place without a permit, however, he or she will pay an unexpected visit to the home.


According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of building permits can range from several hundred dollars to $7,000 or more, depending on the extent of the renovation. The national average cost is a little over $1,200.  Additionally, if something goes wrong with a project that is not backed by a building permit, homeowner’s insurance may not cover the issue.


Improvements Don’t Necessarily Yield a Generous ROI

Not all home-improvements will generate a hefty harvest when it comes time to sell.   A healthy return on investment, or ROI, is what every homeowner desires; but renovations must be in sync with the market value of the neighborhood, as a whole.  Out-pricing the market will yield little return on renovations.


Here are a few examples of remodeling projects that generate an ROI of less than 70%, according to Remodeling magazine.  Remodeling magazine compared the cost for 29 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retained at resale, during 2017.  A total of 99 US markets were involved with the study.


Mid-range Projects:


* Backyard Patio – Job Cost: $51,985 – Resale: $28,546 – Cost Recouped: 54.9%


* Bathroom Addition – Job Cost: $43,232 – Resale: $23,283 – Cost Recouped: 53.9%


* Bathroom Remodel – Job Cost: $18,546 – Resale: $12,024 – Cost Recouped: 64.8%


* Deck Addition (composite) – Job Cost: $17,249 – Resale: $11,252 – Cost Recouped: 65.2%


* Family-room Addition – Job Cost:  $89,566 –  Resale:  $62,055 – Cost Recouped: 68.3%


* Major Kitchen Remodel – Job Cost: $62,158 – Resale: $40,560 – Cost Recouped: 65.3%


Up-scale Projects:


* Bathroom Addition – Job Cost: $81,515 – Resale: $46,507 – Cost Recouped: 57.1%


* Bathroom Remodel – Job Cost: $59,979 – Resale: $35,456 – Cost Recouped: 59.1%


* Deck Addition (composite) – Job Cost: $39,339 – Resale: $22,171 – Cost Recouped: 56.4%


* Master Suite Addition – Job Cost: $250,687 – Resale: $150,140 – Cost Recouped: 59.9%


Unexpected Surprise

When it comes to older homes, it’s what one can’t see that can harbor the most havoc.  Hidden mold, termite and/or rodent damage, shoddy electrical and plumbing work that, somehow, bypassed inspection from years prior, and more, are only a few examples of what can be revealed once renovations begin.  Unexpected surprises lead to unexpected repairs that can generate a hefty price-tag often times, thousands of dollars worth.  Repair costs become even more daunting due to more-stringent building codes.  Making alterations that are beyond one’s original plan, due to fees related to current-code compliance, can become an unwanted reality.  With that being said, homeowners should incorporate an additional 10 to 25 percent cushion for unanticipated expenses – this, according to home-renovation expert, Bob Villa.


Hiring a Contractor

Finding a reputable building contractor is crucial when renovations are being considered.  Many reputable contractors are very busy and are, often, booked months out.  Once a seasoned contractor is found, the homeowner should request a client list that the contractor should be eager to supply.  Additionally, one would need to take the time to contact those clients to discuss the quality of work.  It is, also, imperative the contractor provides proof of being licensed, bonded and insured.  No homeowner wants to deal with a lawsuit if a contractor or a contractor’s employee becomes injured while renovations are under way.


Buying a New Home

Purchasing a new home instead of renovating an old one, on the other hand, is a whole different ballgame.  Take, for example, customization – here, buyers can participate in the process of creating a living space specifically tailored to one’s unique tastes.  Choosing flooring, counter-tops, cabinetry and

other niceties is exciting and personal; and as a new-home buyer, one can select finishing touches during various phases of home construction.


The building envelope of new homes is a biggie.  These days, new building codes incorporate much higher energy-efficiency standards.  Quality new homes will have a tighter-sealed building envelope which prevents cool or warm air, from escaping.  High-efficiency doors and windows minimize the transfer of heat, whether it is from warm-to-cold or cold-to-warm.


Then there are green appliances which contribute, greatly to lowering utility costs.  Newly-constructed homes, often, include ‘green’ systems and appliances – high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers, water heaters, furnaces and AC systems work together to noticeably reduce monthly utility costs.


Less maintenance and fewer repairs would interest any homeowner; and by choosing a newly-constructed home, one bypasses the time, effort and money required to replace carpet, appliances, kitchen cabinets, flooring and more.  New homes are a breath of fresh air where everything is brand new; and with maintenance undertakings being left behind, one can spend more time doing what one enjoys.


Buying new construction, also, translates into ‘buying’ an enhanced lifestyle.  Master or planned communities are meticulously designed to offer sought-after amenities that add increased enjoyment, quality and convenience to one’s lifestyle:  parks, bike and hike trails, community pools and clubhouses, easy access to schools and transit, and more.  Purchasing a newly-constructed home means homeowners can, more fully, love how they live because they will, truly, love where they live!


DFW Takes the Lead in Single-Family Home Construction

When it comes to home construction, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is hopping.  The fact is, DFW is topping the charts with single-family home construction – not just in the state, but in the country!  That coveted position is fully recognized by Metrostudy Inc. which is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information for the housing industry, as well as other industries related to the field.


Metrostudy Inc. tells us that by the end of a twelve-month cycle which ended during the second quarter of 2017, home-builders had started 31,049 single-family homes.  New-home starts during the 2Q17 moved up, slightly, by 3.4% over the first quarter of 2017.  In 2016, the DFW home-start number came in at 29,626.  This surpassed Houston’s number of 27,114 during that same time-frame.  Dallas-Fort Worth’s home-start number for 2016 positioned it at the top of the national building ranking.


Most of us, vividly, recall the Great Recession of December 2007 to June 2009 where an $8 trillion housing-bubble burst severely impacted the housing market, everywhere – consumer spending spiraled downward.  Dallas-Fort Worth is experiencing a type of robustness with home starts that hasn’t taken place since the Great Recession.


Statistics Reveal Interesting Insight

Metrostudy Inc. shares some insightful data concerning the DFW housing market:


***  compared to a decade ago, median DFW new-home prices have risen by more than $100,000


***  the median home price in DFW is $320,600 as of August 2017


***  new-home starts of $200,000 to $250,000 are up by 28% for 2Q17


*** 2Q17 home-starts below $200,000 reflect 8% of total starts, compared to 62% a decade ago


*** homes priced between $350,000 and $399,000 hold the largest gain in starts for 2Q17


***  homes priced below $400,000 are the most desired – closings for homes between $300,000 and $399,000 have soared


***  from 2Q16 to 2Q17, new-home starts increased by 14%


Home Construction Contends with Challenges

Significant hurdles stubbornly plague the home-building industry in many areas across the country; and   Dallas-Fort Worth is dealing with the rising cost of land and land development, painful labor shortages, surging labor costs, skyrocketing material prices, and more time that must be allotted for zoning and platting lands.


In 2010, it took about 6 months for zoning and platting; however, those same procedures, currently, take anywhere from 18 to 24 months.  Paige Shipp, Director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth region states:  “Though builders are reporting solid sales, developers and builders’ frustrations are mounting from the increasingly difficult process of zoning and platting lots in many DFW municipalities.  Not only has the time increased to upwards of 24 months, but so have the direct and indirect fees associated with platting and permitting in North Texas.  Building a new home at an affordable price is almost impossible.”


In spite of the plethora of challenges, DFW remains the king-pin with annual new-home starts for 2017.

Highly-revered regions of the country including Houston, Atlanta, Central Florida, Phoenix/Tuscon, Southern California, Denver/Colorado Springs, and more, are eating DFW’s dust; and DFW plans on keeping it that way.  Regardless of housing-industry demands, Metrostudy recognizes Dallas-Fort Worth as the top market for new-home activity compared to any area in the US!


Two US Hot-Spots make Dallas-Fort Worth Proud

Oxford Economics shares some remarkable insight concerning a handful of counties in North Texas; and two counties, in particular, stand out – Denton and Collin. Both these counties are expected to take the lead with the fastest-growing economies in the entire US!


It would be remiss not to mention the integrity of Oxford Economics which provides the statistics, to follow.  This advisory firm is based in Oxford, England and is universally recognized as a prestigious leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis.  It provides economic forecasting for more than 4,000 locations, within 200 countries, all over the world.  External market trends and projects are assessed as well as their effect and influence on respective societies and communities, both, economically and socially.


The Lone Star State Takes the GDP Lead

Oxford Economics reveals six US locations that are expected to top the charts in terms of financial exceptionalism with GDP growth, from 2017 to 2021:


***  Denton, Texas @ 4.1%


***  Collin, Texas @ 4%


***  Montgomery, Texas @ 3.4%


***  Will, Illinois @ 3.2%


***  San Francisco, California @ 3.2%


***  Fort Bend, Texas @ 3.1%


Denton and Collin Counties Deserve Their Own Commentary

Oxford Economics tells us that US economic growth should come in at a steady 2% for 2017 and 2018; and American cities that show promise for growing the quickest will be those that are a part of sprawling, suburban metro areas.  Residents are leaving densely-populated cities due to the high cost of living and are exchanging that deficit for locations that are not only easier on the pocket book but offer dynamic job-growth.  That brings us to ‘net migration and immigration’ – a statistic tracked by the US Census Bureau.  It is, simply, the difference between the number of people moving into a county and the number moving out; and that movement can be between cities, counties, states and countries.  From 2009 to 2013, Denton County ranked 3rd in net migration and immigration and gained 23,000 residents; while Collin County ranked 10th and expanded its population by 8,800.  Contrarily, Dallas County lost more than 6,300 residents during that same time.  The US Census Bureau has a few more interesting statistics:  from April 2010 to the end of 2016, Denton and Collin counties experienced a 20% population increase, partly due to new businesses that established themselves, here.  Additionally, a number of companies have positioned themselves in Denton and Collin counties due to relocation or expansion needs.


Liberty Mutual Insurance is relocating a portion of its workforce to Plano’s Legacy West; and Toyota

will be employing over 4,000 staff at its new Plano campus.  It is, here, where the Japanese automaker has embedded its new North American headquarters.


Denton County is experiencing outstanding business expansion; and two major universities in Denton – UNT and Texas Woman’s University – contribute, greatly, towards energizing the utilization of goods and services.  More than 50,000 students, combined, play a vital role with arousing Denton County’s economy.  Michael Carrol, director of the Economics Research Group at the University of North Texas, strongly believes the student population from both universities contributes to more than 20% of the localized economy.


Then, we have Peterbilt Motors Co. and Sally Beauty Supply which call Denton ‘home’.  Additionally, a variety of smaller companies have spurred Denton’s economy – case in point:  Many businesses have exited from California, New York and Illinois in order to relocate in Denton and other areas.  Some of these businesses come from states that are not, optimally, business-friendly where overly-demanding regulations and higher taxes thwart the potential for many businesses to thrive.  As a result, an influx of businesses into Texas communities, like Denton, has created a ‘win-win’ scenario that is applauded and eagerly embraced.  New offices have opened their doors, more job vacancies have been created and filled, and more revenue flows into local businesses – restaurants, retail outlets, grocery chains, etc. expand their customer base and reap the rewards.  As a result, the economic structure becomes more diverse with high-value goods and services.  This economic progression generates more wealth and, in the end, property values can increase, also.


The net migration into North Texas suburbs is a multifaceted phenomenon that is perk-related in the form of business incentives as well as the availability of sports events, entertainment venues and applauded school districts.


And one more thing:  22 Dallas/Fort Worth-based companies are on the Fortune 500 list for 2017; and Forbes ranked Dallas as the 6th-best place for job growth in the entire US!


New home builder embraces technology and growth

Written by:Christine Fisher

Produced by:Ian Nichols

Looking at the marketing material, or the 326 homes closed last year, you wouldn’t guess that Dunhill Homes is just six years old.

One might draw a similar conclusion from its aspirations. The Dallas, Texas-based home builder expects to close 450 homes in 2017, and it has made the list of fastest-growing companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) market. In fact, from 2014 through 2016, the company experienced explosive growth year over year. It grew 76 percent from 2014 to 2016, and it’s on pace to grow another 27 percent in 2017.


Dunhill Homes

Dunhill Homes

“A small, little Dallas company is no longer small,” says Chris Hartley, vice president of sales and marketing. “We’ve got big goals and big ambitions for not only this market but expanding beyond as well.”

That’s especially impressive considering Dallas is home to more publicly held home building companies than anywhere else in the U.S., and is considered by many to the most competitive housing market in the country. In some communities, Dunhill Homes must compete against as many as 11 other home builders, and it has seen construction costs rise 46 percent, while labor jumped 30 percent in the past three years.


Trend-setting technology

“Technology has been huge for us,” Hartley says, noting that online sales and marketing has been paramount.

Fifty-five percent of Dunhill Homes’ marketing budget is focused on online efforts, and that seems to be paying off. Dunhill Homes’ website won “Best Builder Website” from the Dallas Builders Association in 2015, and the company partnered early on with DoYouConvert.com, which offers online sales support to the real estate industry.

DoYouConvert.com was instrumental in training Dunhill Homes’ online sales managers, which have won the silver award for online sales manager of the year from the National Association of Home Builders and back-to-back online sales manager of the year awards from the Dallas Builders’ Association. Currently, 44 percent of Dunhill Homes’ sales are driven through their online sales manager program.

Another “game changer” for Dunhill Homes is Lasso, a customer relationship management (CRM) system specifically built for home builders. The system allows Dunhill Homes to convert leads at a much higher rate, Hartley says.


Dunhill Homes

Dunhill Homes

“Lasso, along with follow up training through Do You Convert, has been one of the key indicators to our success,” he adds.

Dunhill Homes also offered all of its sales managers and junior sales managers access to BombBomb accounts, through which they can create video emails. And thanks to the videos, Dunhill Homes has seen its email open rates jump to 80 percent, Hartley says.

Sales staff have run with the idea, participating in contests to see who can make the most interesting BombBomb video, dressing up for Halloween videos or using funny props.

“We’re bringing all these tools in that often times these larger builders say, let’s wait and see if it works,” Hartley says. “We’re going to jump on it, and we’re going to try to be the trend setter in that.”

Truly affordable homes

While the company is growing in leaps and bounds, it does still face its fair share of challenges. According to Hartley, the average price of new home in Dallas jumped up $16,000 in one quarter.

“In DFW, what we’ve noticed is the media tells you home sales are phenomenal, it’s the best place to work, so-on and so-forth,” he says. “But what we’ve realized is our cost of land is at an all-time high, our cost of materials is at an all-time high, and our material costs are up 46 percent in three years, so it is truly the most expensive time to buy a house in DFW.”

While Dunhill Homes wants to keep its homes affordable, it prides itself in not being a low-cost leader.

Nine times out of 10, Dunhill Homes offers better standard features than its competitors, Hartley says. The company also uses two energy-saving programs: Energy Star and Environments for Living. While energy-saving features add upfront cost, they reduce monthly energy costs and thus reduce the true cost of ownership of a Dunhill Home.


Dunhill Homes

Dunhill Homes

“We are being very self-aware about the included features we put in our homes,” Hartley adds. “We want to be the builder that’s known for having more included features than anybody else, both in places that you can see and places that you can’t see, like behind the walls, hence two energy-saving programs in each home we build.”

The company pays extra attention to high-use rooms like kitchens and bathrooms and is selective about small things like baseboards that can have a big impact.

A+ communities

As prices in DFW rise, Dunhill Homes is casting a wider net in the DFW metroplex.

“We’re as far east and west as you can go, and we’re as far north and south as you can go,” Hartley says.

And, while the DFW housing market is booming now, Dunhill Homes expects it to plateau in the next couple of years. In order to brace for a slowdown, the company is looking to master-planned communities.

“Our future communities that we’re focusing on are 100 percent master-planned communities with master-planned amenities, nice marketing budgets associated with them, and they’re a true destination for where people want to live,” Hartley says.

Heath Golf and Yacht is one of them. The 787-acre lakefront, resort-style community will offer more than 1,200 luxury homes, a 27-hole golf course, private country club, hotel, retail, trails, parks and an elementary school; all located just 30 minutes from downtown Dallas.

On the flip side is Chisholm Trail Ranch, a 600-acre master planned community in southwest Fort Worth, Texas, just nine minutes from Texas Christian University and 10 minutes from downtown Fort Worth. It will include more than one million feet of retail and commercial space and more than 1,000 homes.

“It is very much an affordable, master-planned community that you can still get into for the mid-two’s, which is almost unheard of in the Dallas- Fort Worth area,” Hartley says.

These developments are significant for Dunhill Homes because, with so many home builders in the DFW market, it’s not easy to break into master-planned community building, where developers often have their favorite builders and long-established relationships. Now, Dunhill Homes is getting phone calls to come into these developments.

“We’re really setting ourselves up to be here for the long haul,” Hartley says.