I had lunch with one of the top builders in Preston Hollow today, who tells me an LA guy has emailed him (off his website, power of the web thank you very much!) and is mulling a move to Texas. The guy is a CEO and wants to move his whole company here. Here is what he told this home builder (via email) he wanted in a home:

Italian Mediterranean design

-A large multi-acre lot, 3 plus acres with a gate

-24 hour gated community with security

-Enough room to land a private helicopter

-Executive aviation airports (FBO) very close by

The guy is totally for real. He does a lot of business in Europe and said DFW is less crazy than LAX. He loves CA but says recently the character of the state has changed radically, it is no longer hospitable to business or capitalism. He’s concerned that if President Obama wins in November, the whole country (except Texas) may become like California.

Home prices in southern Cali are $750 to $1,000 per square foot,  he likes what you can get in Texas for $500 psf. House size? he wants about 11,000 square feet.

The whole conversation started with me asking this builder if he was seeing any downsizing trends in home building. People are building smaller houses, right I asked? Are you kidding, he replied? People want smaller lots — like a half acre or less, but they still want super sized homes.

Especially those folks moving here from sunny California.

Oh my, on the housing real estate front, his SOTU speech was even more dissappointing than I had anticipated. While President Obama spoke, I was at the rain-drenched McFarlin Auditorium at SMU hearing out Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short and his latest book I am dying to devour, Boomerang. I thought it ironic that Lewis told us how we are socializing big banks, and described the incredible graft and greed in Greece that has led to their almost total economic downfall. Example: on the Greek railroad, the average worker earns about $150,000 a year.

As a result, train tickets in Greece are inflated to such an extent that it costs the government less to put citizens in a private taxi than to provide transportation via a train ticket. Oh and Goldman Sachs helped the Greeks dig their economic grave. Lewis spoke for over an hour, but his point: we cannot blame any one political party, Wall Street (grrr) institution, legislation, or President for our financial crisis. We brought it about ourselves because we want everything but want to pay for nothing.

So I come home and learn our President merely touched upon a couple initiatives and potential bills that would impact homeowners about as much as a hangnail: refinancing mortgages by expanding HAMP, one of the most failed federal programs ever, and more policing/punishment of those who broke the law that led to this crisis: Real Estate Retro-Cop. That is just plain stupid! First of all, many did not break the law, they found loopholes. Secondly, how will you get the money back and how much will it cost? Thirdly, how does that help get the housing market get chugging again so we can create jobs?

Bottom line: Lewis said that in 9 years when his daughter graduates from college, he expects we’ll still be slogging through a constipated (my word) economy. And it will be tough for her to find a job.

On refinancing mortgages from the SOTU:

“Responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief. That’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.”

A deficit of trust, wow.

Fund this with a fee on financial firms with more than $50 billion in assets. Which they will likely pass onto  consumers. Loosen the restrictions on who is eligible to refinance their mortgage beyond those who have loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. With  long-term rates hitting 3.88 percent last week, the initiative could help individual homeowners. Course rates are low, the problem is as we all know, no one’s lending.

On RE retro-cop:

“This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy.”

The unit that President Obama described will include officials from the SEC, IRS and the Department of Justice. It would be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Just what we need. More overhead after the fact. The guy just doesn’t GET IT!

Texas Realtors are getting more optimistic. According to one of my favorite sources, HomeGain, three quarters of Texas real estate professionals and homeowners expect home prices (in Texas) to rise or stay the same in the coming six months. That’s pretty good news and the most positive they’ve been in awhile.

HomeGain’s second quarter 2011 nationwide home values survey of more than 750 HomeGain current and former members — Realtors —  and more than 2600 home owners, sought opinions on home prices. They also asked Realtors what they thought of President Obama’s performance as President.

That news may not be so hot.

The realities of the market are finally sinking in with sellers. In a nutshell, 53% of agents say clients’ home values have declined over the last year — slightly more homeowners, 56%,  than Realtors, 53%, seem to realize this.

Most homeowners still think their homes are worth more than they are. Almost half of the agents in Texas, 44%, say homeowners think their homes are worth 10 to 20% more than they actually are.

Don’t expect whopping appreciation. In the next six months, 47% of Texas Realtors think home prices will stay the same — 28% believe prices will increase, 25% say they will decrease, so almost an even split.

And don’t ask Texas Realtors to rate President Obama’s job in steadying the housing market: 46% strongly dissapprove of how he has served as President thus far, this after we got Bin Laden. But that’s a higher opinion of both the market and our fearless leader than what the nation’s Realtors believe. Fifty percent of surveyed real estate professionals nationwide expect home values to decrease over the next six months, and 65% percent disapprove of Obama’s performance as President.

Nationally, most real estate professionals and homeowners continue to expect home values to decrease or stay the same through the middle of the year. Fifty percent of agents and brokers and 42% of homeowners think that home values will decrease over the next six months.

“The current survey reflects that real estate professionals are resigned to accepting a market with declining prices being the norm rather than the exception. The past few years have been particularly harsh on the real estate industry and the majority of real estate professionals don’t expect much improvement in the coming six months.” said Louis Cammarosano, General Manager of HomeGain.