Troy Aikman's home on Normandy in Highland Park went up in price within the first week on MLS, showing strong demand in the luxury market. (Photos: Shoot2Sell

Troy Aikman’s home on Normandy in Highland Park went up in price within the first week on MLS, showing strong demand in the luxury market. (Photos: Shoot2Sell)

I find it so interesting that just after our boy Troy Aikman upped the price on his Highland Park abode by 12 percent, CoreLogic released its HPI saying home prices are up 6.1 percent year-over-year from October 2013 and 0.5 percent from September to October 2014 nationwide.

In Texas, though, our market is seeing record gains that, while slower than last year, still show moderate growth. The Lone Star State is among four other states to post year-over-year gains with an HPI 8.7 percent higher in Oct. 2014 from a year ago including distressed sales, and 8.1 percent higher without distressed sales.

“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 CoreLogic deputy chief economist Sam Khater. “However, there are still pockets of strength, especially in several Texas markets, as well as Seattle, Denver, and other markets with strong economic fundamentals.”


CoreLogic HPI Jan 14

CoreLogic’s newest HPI report released today showed that Texas real estate professionals have good reason to blame their busy days on the hot market. Home prices in Texas are at new highs (yes, higher than pre-bubble manic market highs!), with January 2014 up 10.1 percent over a year ago, and home prices up 1.2 percent from Dec. 2013 (numbers include distressed sales).

In the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA, home prices are up 12.2 percent year-over-year including distressed sales, and up 10.4 percent excluding distressed sales. National numbers show home prices up 12 percent year over year for January. This is the 23rd consecutive month that home prices have increased, and Texas is one of only three states that has reached a new peak in home prices after the housing bust. And despite near-record appreciation, Nevada is still 40.1 percent below peak prices, CoreLogic’s report showed. Incredible.

“Polar vortices and a string of snow storms did not manage to weaken house price appreciation in January,” said CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming. “The last time January month-over-month and year-over-year price appreciation was this strong was at the height of the housing bubble in 2006.”

So, winter didn’t slow Dallas down, and we’re looking at a brisk spring selling season ahead. Still, real estate prices are a hyper-local economy, and while some areas are seeing hand-over-fist sales and appreciation (we’re looking at you, Lake Highlands and University Park) some areas will only see more modest gains. The key, of course, is pricing a home correctly and being flexible.

Where are you seeing break-neck appreciation and sales pace?

Dallas Housing Prices Go up

According to the most recent report from CoreLogic, the Dallas-Plano-Irving MSA ranked seventh in year-over-year home price growth among the 100 statistical areas the firm measures in its Housing Price Index with a 9.4 percent increase in prices (excluding distressed sales) through the year ending in December 2013.

Houston, which ranked sixth, showed a 10.7 percent increase in prices YoY. Leading the pack was the East Los Angeles suburban MSA of Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.

CoreLogic’s report showed some pretty optimistic predictions for 2014, saying that home prices, excluding distressed sales, should rise 9.4 percent over the next year, or 10.2 percent overall. That’s a decline from 2013 numbers, which had 11 percent growth in home prices nationwide. Still, national housing prices are 18 percent below their August 2006 peak.

“Last year, home prices rose 11 percent, the highest rate of annual increase since 2005, and 10 states and the District of Columbia reached all-time price peaks,”said CoreLogic chief economist Dr. Mark Fleming. “We expect the rising prices to attract more sellers, unlocking this pent-up supply, which will have a moderating effect on prices in 2014.”

Goodness knows we could use some of that moderating effect in Dallas, where investors have bought up many of the homes usually purchased by first-time homebuyers, and the prices of single-family homes are keeping younger buyers out of the market.

Here’s what you are going to hear on the national news: housing prices are reaching new lows, and foreclosures are on their way back up. Dr. James Gaines told us as much at the Home Builder’s Association presentation last week. But don’t down the Glen Livet: Texas foreclosures are not as bad as the rest of the U.S. foreclosures, and our real estate market is still a shining star. (Note: I tried to embed the RealtyTrac foreclosure map, above, but it wouldn’t stick. Here’s a link to the site.) Still, I’m not going to paint you any pretty pictures when there are none: prices are really coming down and when I said to one expert over the weekend, gee, can they get any lower?, he said to me, “yes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Was up in Illinois a couple weeks ago — sales are up over 19%, but prices are down as is inventory.

Austin metro area home prices fell by 2.3 percent in the past year, but are expected to rise by 0.3 percent by the summer of 2012, according to the Fiserv Inc. That means Austin prices will be down by just 2%. And in Arizona, you have to wonder when they are going to start GIVING homes away.  Phoenix home prices are expected to drop 10 percent next year, though I hear many second home buyers are swooping in and taking advantage of the lower pricing. The most affordable cities to buy homes in right now are places like Grand Rapids, Mich.; Memphis, Tenn.; Youngstown, Ohio; Warren, Michigan and Detroit. But few of us would buy there for fear that we have not bottomed out. I’d rather live in the most expensive cities for real estate: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and Honolulu.

As far as D/FW foreclosures, you will see a tapering until after the New Year. But foreclosures will remain higher than most of us have ever known for quite some time. Foreclosures, like flat, is the new normal. (Maybe even breast implants will dwindle in popularity?) Most distressed sales are in subdivisions: from Jan to Sept. 2011 there was a 325% increase in foreclosure activity in the D/FW Metro area from 2000, but a 698% increase in Collin County foreclosure activity for the same period.

What I’m hearing inside the Loop is that with Sellers ever more realistic, homes are selling and Dallas inventory is very low. Brokers are predicting a very good spring, and that is one pretty picture I sure hope to paint.

Your home value could be 4.3 % lower today than it was last year if you follow the guys over at Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller, which released their Home Price Index this week. That means home prices have been falling for an entire year in the 20 major U.S. cities that create this way over-quoted housing market indicator. Case-Shiller tracks only previously owned home sales, not new construction. Of course, new construction across the U.S. is the lowest it’s been in 50 years.

No one metropolis was spared: all the 20 major U.S. markets in Case-Shiller’s survey for June saw home-price declines from mid-2010, even Washington D.C.

Nationwide, home prices shot down 4.5 percent from June 2010.

But Dallas was singled out, along with Denver, the major Cali cities, and D.C. as having bottomed in 2009 and kept their (our) heads above the water.

“Relatively strong markets,” Standard & Poor’s David Blitzer said in the report.

Prices in most markets — including Dallas’ 1.4 percent blip — were up in June from May, to expected in the buying season.

Steve Brown says that if you count 2007 as the peak year of pricing, Dallas-area home prices are down about 9% from that Rocky Mountain High.

My favorite economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Dr. James Gaines, says what we all know: the short sales and foreclosures dragged pricing down and will continue to do so until we clear them out in 12 to 18 months.

The good news there: Dallas foreclosure rates are diminishing.

The cities that took the biggest hits were (ouch) Minneapolis (10.8 percent), Portland, Ore. (9.6 percent) and Phoenix (9.3 percent).

The smallest price drops happeend in, no surprise, government-employee rich Washington, D.C. (1.2 percent) and Boston (2.1 percent). Watch for those market to go up first.

But it’s all local. Ted Wilson of Residential Strategies says the foreclosures depend on what part of town you live in. In affluent neighborhoods with few distressed sales, such as the Park Cities or Preston Hollow, prices recently have been flat or are actually higher. Many gargantuan homes that have languished for years have sold.

But good news: the number of foreclosures has dropped in the northern burbs, and price declines are softening. For the first time in eleven years, year-to-date residential postings declined. Here are the facts from Roddy’s Foreclosure Listing Service Inc:

  • “D/FW quarterly residential foreclosure posting activity has dropped to its lowest level in eleven quarters.”
  • “With just 12,876 foreclosure postings on D/FW homes in the third quarter of this year, quarterly postings fell below 13,500 for the second quarter consecutive quarter.”
  • “Over the last year, third quarter home postings plunged downward 21%.  
  •  “On a quarter-to-quarter comparison, third quarter’s posting level was down 3% from the 13,310 notices filed for the second quarter of this year.”
  • “All four counties within the D/FW Metroplex had a decline in third quarter’s posting activity compared to one year earlier; and, in all four counties, quarterly postings dropped to their lowest level in two years or more.”
  • “Among the four counties, the deepest decline was a 25% fall in homes posted for foreclosure in Dallas County, which most often ranks with the highest volume of home postings among the four counties in the Metro.”




I am almost afraid to write this for fear of a jinx: the North Texas housing market is doing well. Like, really well. Prices are down a smidge, but July volume was way up.

And maybe, just maybe, I know when we found the bottom.

Steve Brown reports today that pre-owned home sales were up 18 percent — that’s a lot! — in North Texas in July, which is the first year-over-year increase in more than 12 months.

And this is what I have been hearing, and telling you, too: condo and townhomes are moving, prices coming down but volume up 36 percent. My sources at The Ritz and Palomar and even The House tell me they are selling units. Friends just sold a home in Lake Forest that had been languishing for three years, about half a million. The high end is moving, too, because the rich are getting richer and the middle class is dissappearing. Dave Perry Miller sold off 9338 Meadowbrook to his own buyers, Shelly & Barbara Stein of Glazer’s Liquor fame. This is a kind of notorious, 14,000 square foot plus plus plus Preston Hollow home that had been on the market since at least 2008, originally listed for $9 million. It is now the most expensive home to close in the honeypot of Preston Hollow at $6.795 million. The new owners, by the way, are adding on a killer wine cellar which will make a party at that home the most coveted invitation in town.

So why are we doing so well? Wasn’t I on Channel 5 just last week talking about the steepest market decline in prices since gloomy doomy 2009? Prices are down, yes. But what happens when you drop prices? Buyers buy. And that, my dear readers, is very good news and basically means we still have a pulse!

Of course, analysts are cautious. What did Dr. James Gaines (my hero) say?

“All positive news, like compliments, is always welcome. It’s great the sales volume was up. But we need to look inside the numbers.”

Here’s what I think: Distressed sales are driving the sales, as are record low interest rates — please stay tuned to a forthcoming post on how long those will be low: the Fed says till 2013. Investor purchases, said Gaines, could also be influencing the numbers. Less inventory — the number of houses on the market in North Texas is down 14 percent from a year ago, and I am getting daily emails from agents saying they have scoured MLS but cannot find a home to suit their buyers.

I checked in with Kristin Evans over at Altos Research (no relation) to see what she thought from her numbers. Altos analyzes listing prices and reductions, time of sales after those reductions, scrutinizing them like the most anal surgeon along with anything else that affects LOCAL market conditions. In a word, she says Dallas is in pretty good shape. Our listing prices may have bumped down, after bumping up. In January, Altos reports the Dallas average at $225,000 which ticked up to $270,000 about the third week in May — usually a robust month for sales. The last three weeks prices have ticked downward again to $260,000.

That low in January? Kristin says that was the bottom of the market and about the time investors jumped back in. Hence, the bottom.

Steve says agents sold 6,079 pre-owned single-family homes in North Texas last month,  down from June’s 6,929, but light years ahead of the 5,153 homes that sold last year in July 2010, right after the first-time home buyer fiasco event. And we are at slightly more than a seven-month supply of pre-owned, single-family homes in North Texas’s 29 county area. That’s one month more than six-months, which is considered normal. I’m not grabbing the Prozac just yet.

Where did people drop money?

Like I said last week, anywhere close-in did well. Northwest Dallas sales were up 71%, northeast Dallas up 68%, even up 59% in Coppell. The far out suburban areas continue to lose sales volume of about 16 percent.

Experts say we won’t expect any rebound news in housing as long as consumer confidence remains depressed and until the job situation improves, even here in job-rich (In -N-Out Burgers) Texas. What concerns me is that the crappy economic news dominating the headlines may take this uptick and slap it right down. Thank you, D.C. for creating the dreaded double dip.

July home sales and prices in North Texas from NTREIS:
Category Single-family Homes Change Condo-townhouses Change
Sales 6,079 +18% 363 +36%
Median price $153,000 -1% $126,000 -7%
Avg. days on market 84 +9% 97 -8%
Pending sales 5,521 +13% 342 +29%
Listed for sale 36,733 -14% 2,931 -25%

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Here’s part two of my KXAS gig over on Nonstop Nightly. The summer has not been kind to Dallas real estate prices, and now we have a guy in Flower Mound who thinks he can snag a home for a filing fee: welcome to the crazy world of real estate, the pot further stirred up by last week’s Debbie Downer Case Shiller report. One of the most important things I want to stress is that our market suffers from bad vibes when Case Shiller lumps all these reports together. Or, for that matter, Steve Brown: “Dallas prices down 4.7%.” Something you have to understand about Case Shiller: it mixes the foreclosure inventory in with it’s data and excludes new construction. Personally, I don’t think it’s all that reliable. It’s like mixing wholesale and retail prices — distressed properties are a different ballgame, a different product. Blue chip real estate tends to hold value longer, and spring back first. Distressed properties are not blue chip real estate. I like a Santa Ana, CA based company called CoreLogic because they separate out the distressed data from non-distressed when they report sales and home values, and guess what — it makes a huge difference.

This is interesting: Corelogic says home prices across the U.S. decreased by 7.4 percent from one year ago. But if you take out distressed sales, prices declined by only 0.4 percent.

Look at Dallas-Plano-Irving: including distressed properties, home prices were down 0.64 percent in May 2011 (from May 2011) and down by 1.80% in April 2011 (from April 2010). But get rid of the distressed properties, voila! Prices increased by 5.84 percent in May 2011 and 3.30% in April 2011.

Did you hear what I said? Prices increased!

Now we cannot ignore distressed real estate, and the foreclosures will continue to drag down the market, particularly in the higher end markets. (Of note, San Francisco is also healing up nicely, mini tech bubble going, but I was told that 32% of the foreclosures around SF are elective!) And yes, there are foreclosures in the higher end markets. I just heard of one today that infuriates me because if the bank had been willing to work with the seller, they’d actually have made more money on the deal. But this data shows that good, blue chip real estate realistically priced continues to thrive and move.

Case in point: See this gorgeous home? I am not supposed to tell you this, but it closed Wednesday after being on the market for 68 days, just over two months. Dave Perry-Miller sold it to his own buyer, they will soon be moving out of their home on Armstrong Parkway, a very significant home, I may add, arguably one of the crown jewels of Highland Park. (Stay tuned for details.) Now this home had been on the market since November of 2009 for $5,595,000 — a gorgeous Jeff Gilbert home built in 2005 with absolutely everything done in total perfection. Dave got the listing in April, lowered the price to $3,995,000 and had three back-up contracts. And no, they did not get asking, but close to it.

So as you despair over today’s stock market report, let this be your positive thought for the day: the rich do still have money, and when the price is right, they are spending it.