A Texas National Guardsman shakes hands with a resident after assisting his family during Hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston, Texas, Aug. 27, 2017 (Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West).

How will Hurricane Harvey impact Texas long term – and what are people doing now to assist with the most pressing needs? We’ll look at these questions in this week’s news roundup. (more…)

midland for rentRealtors are getting phished, the rents are going up in Midland and Odessa, home sales are making records in Midland, and Ector County ISD is mulling a bond election in this week’s real estate news roundup.

Realtors Target of Text Scam

The National Association of Realtors is warning members of a phishing scam that involves an alarming accusation followed by a hefty fine. (more…)

midland-odessa real estateThe reports are in for August and it’s not just the temperatures that are hot, hot, hot in Midland-Odessa. The real estate market is ranking among the top performing in the nation.

Realtor.com listed Midland as the No. 8 market in the country—check out their graph below. 20-Hottest-Markets

They summed up these ten markets:

“This year we are seeing inventory continue to grow in August, and while overall demand is strong, the trend in median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance,” concluded [Realtor.com chief economist Jonathan] Smoke. “This bodes well for would-be buyers who have been discouraged by the inability to find a home to buy this spring and summer.”

The recent stock market correction could offer benefits to prospective buyers. “A temporary drop in demand by those negatively affected by stock market instability might be just what strained would-be buyers need to gain the advantage in a market that has given sellers the upper hand so far this year,” said Smoke, adding that postponement by the Fed due to the market correction could extend accessibility of attractively low mortgage rates.


Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Dallas is one of 15 top markets poised to attract baby boomer homebuyers because of an affordable cost of living, sunny weather, and friendly business climate, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR looked at 100 metro areas with lower state taxes (or none at all, as is the case in Texas), stable job market conditions, and strong migration patterns of “leading-edge baby boomers” (those 60-69) moving to that area. By doing this, they predicted which housing markets are likely to see a boost from baby boomers. Cost of living, housing affordability, and housing inventory availability were also factors in their rankings.

For these reasons, Dallas was identified as one of five markets with strong potential for attracting baby boomer homebuyers.

“It comes down to housing affordability, and lower tax rates in the Dallas area and the state as a whole,” said Adam DeSanctis, NAR economic issues media manager. “More boomers after 65 are working, some because they have to, or feel like they have to, but also those that are healthier and want to maintain an active lifestyle. Those [baby boomer] business owners come to Dallas for its dynamic local economy.”


The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out, and you gotta move fast to buy! And people are hanging on to their houses for the longest time on record, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Buyers are living in their homes for ten years, up from six years in 2008, and actually expect to live in their home for 12 years. Some of it is by choice, like hanging on to a fantastic rate after remortgaging, and some by necessity, like too much debt to move, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The study looked at the demographics of thousands of home purchases around the United States from July 2013 to June 2014, and its findings speak to many trends we’ve noticed in the market here at CandysDirt.

Take multigenerational homes, for example. We’ve seen more builders offering them, like almost every builder on our approved homebuilder list, from Park Cities to Preston Hollow and north. (I swear Mickey Munir at Sharif&Munir invented the jazzed-up mother-in-law suite.) Texas-based builder Darling Homes is selling multigenerational homes in Frisco’s Lawler Park and Houston area’s Lakes of Cypress Forest like hotcakes.

The survey says they’re right on trend: Since 1980, the number of multigenerational households around the country has doubled, with 13 percent of buyers purchasing one of these homes to accommodate aging parents and boomerang kids in a cost-saving way.


Millennial Homebuyers

Millennial Homebuyers are missing from the market, but Austin and Dallas may be better values first-time homebuyers in this generation over San Antonio and Houston.

Where are all the first-time homebuyers? In their cozy rentals, that’s where!

With a market almost completely devoid of newby buyers, and the rental market being as competitive as it is (just ask my friend looking for a single-family home in East Dallas!), and prices going up across all segments, it’s just hard to find a place to put your leather couch and Le Creuset stock pot. Millennials hold a lot of potential when it comes to real estate purchases, but where can the find the best value? Is it San Antonio and Houston?


IHOTW 4337 WestwayIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we kind of like us some vacation homes. In fact, we are doing the happy-dance over at SecondShelters: vacation-home sales in the U.S. are rebounding. The National Association of Realtors tells us sales rose 10 percent in 2012, after tumbling — no make that, free-falling — 56 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Well, it’s all coming back big time. I had lunch with Phillip Day, who is marketing the beautiful BahaMar in the Bahamas, and he told me sales are really picking up, especially with foreign buyers in the international resort areas. They are paying cash.

Hawaii is totally hot and almost back to pre-recession madness. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hualalai Resort, which is half owned by fellow Texan and Dell Inc. CEO Michael Dell, sold more second homes and lots in 2013 than any year since 2007.

And even the Journal says prices are back, too, up 24 percent, making up almost half of what they lost:

“I expect close to double-digit gains in second-home prices this year,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. He thinks primary homes will appreciate by only about 6%.  The median sales price for a vacation home in the U.S. was $150,000 in 2012, up 24% from 2011, according to the Realtors association. The increase reflects greater sales of higher priced properties. Their pricey amenities range from movie-screening theaters to wine cellars, private boat docks and golf-cart garages.

Still, you have to pack and get to a second home, so why not live in the Hamptons year-round, 24/7, right here in Highland Park? Fresh to the market is this beautiful new home built by Jennifer Duncan Designs, 4337 Westway,  that caught my heart over at Mathews/Nichols. David Nichols tells me Lloyd Lumpkins is the architect; he was with Robie Fusch before he went out on his own. I am so in love with that back yard — totally makes me feel like I’m on vacation in Maine — I may just go camp out!

4337 Westway foyerThe 8,960-square-foot home has a Highland Park address but more than 146 feet of frontage with a gorgeous backyard, pool, outdoor fireplace, and screened porch with electronic screens that come down at the touch of a button to create an entire outdoor room protected from the elements. Did I say Highland Park? Yes, that means Highland Park Schools. Enter to floor-to-ceiling white paneled walls, coffee-colored hardwood floors, beautiful crown moldings and windows, windows, windows. There is an incredible kitchen with all the trimmings: marble countertops, deep sink, abundant storage with Bosch, Sub-Zero appliances and a Wolf range with pot filler. Adjacent is a walk-in pantry, and a breakfast room that opens to the den. Also on this floor, and very smart: a guestroom in the opposite wing with full bath that could be a master should you want or need one downstairs. This one has a walk-in closet, a soaking tub, and a shower. Then there is the study with the adjacent “hide the mess” office across the hall.

4337 Westway kitchen 4337 Westway LR 4337 Westway his bath 4337 Westway her bath 4337 Westway bedroom 4337 Westway laundry roomUpstairs is the master suite with a ginormous bathroom, separate his and hers closets, soaking tub, steam shower and laundry facilities. There is another full-service utility with sink down the hall. Up here, too, three lovely bedrooms complete with window benches, built-ins, and en-suite spa baths.

I like the 12-foot ceilings down and 10-foot ceilings up — that is the trend: not too high, not too low, but just right. Also trending: the clean-lined finish-out throughout the home.

The home is about as walkable as you can get: located between Highland Park Village and the stores at Lomo Alto, you can leave the Porsches in the three-car garage and hoof it off for groceries or a latte.

I love it! Second home style for your first for only $4,950,000. I am sure the good folks at Inwood Mortgage will tell you that’s very smart investing…

4337 Westway back 4337 Westway porch


First-time homebuyers are finding it harder and harder to get into their dream home.

The National Association of Realtors said that first-time homebuyers make up only 28 percent of the national housing market in a Jan. 28 new story, the lowest number since the organization started measuring the demographic in 2008. According to the NAR, first-time homebuyers typically make up about 40 percent of the market, but several factors are keeping them from purchasing a home, including higher competition for lower priced properties, which are being swept up by investors at increasingly high rates.

Cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. home sales in December, up from 38.1 percent in November, and up from 18 percent a year prior, according to RealtyTrac.

Tight credit is also preventing younger home buyers from qualifying for a mortgage to buy a home, as mortgage lenders require higher down payments. FHA loans, which many first-time home buyers turn to for the low downpayment requirements, have seen their market share decrease recently after an increase in premiums and fees this year made them less attractive to some.

However, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are lending more to first-time buyers, according to a report from Inside Mortgage Finance. The share of financing for first-time home buyers by the mortgage giants reached 19.5 percent in December, up from 14.1 percent a year prior.

Dallas agents have noticed this trend, too. Keller Williams Urban agent Britt Lopez says that in 2012 and 2013, first-time homebuyers made a huge impact on the market, coming off the fence to buy properties in the $300K to $400K range. In those two years, first-timers made up about 60 percent of her client base.

“I believe that the improvement in our basic economy here in Dallas has been the catalyst for the influx of ready, willing, and able buyers into the market,” Lopez added. “I also think that the interest rates and mortgage requirements play a huge part in the buying temperature. Potential buyers pay very close attention to the media regarding mortgage statistics and real estate prices. If a threat of rising rates and prices looks imminent then they will rush to buy now.”

On the other hand, some buyers have been squirrelling away, renting to save up for a down payment, waiting for the perfect time and perfect house to make the perfect investment. While planning is a great asset, sometimes buyers have missed out on deals by waiting too long.

“I believe that there are many buyers who have been ready for a while with their credit and down payment money, waiting for the most opportune time to buy. They watch and wait and pounce as soon as the right property comes available,” Lopez said. “The shortage of property has caused multiple offers to be much more common with many first-time buyers having to try for several homes before they get one.”

Kathy Murray has found that many first-time buyers have saved up for a considerable down payment — a must now that zero-down financing is more rare than a black rhino. Murray says she sees many first-time buyers with at least 20 percent down, but hasn’t closed on a first-time deal yet for 2014.

With new mortgage qualifications and increasing rates, it’s likely we’ll see fewer first-time buyers for the remainder of 2014. What do you think?