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August
23

Dallas-Fort Worth Only U.S. Market Where Home Sale Prices Dropped Last Month

The North Texas housing market is downshifting quickly, with Dallas-Fort Worth being the only U.S. market to see a decrease in home sale prices last month, according to a report released today.  DFW home prices are down 1.9% year over year in July, according to the latest Re/Max National Housing Report.

 

And what a difference a month makes.  Last month, DFW led the U.S. for home price increases, with June prices up 29.3% over the previous year.   In hard numbers, home sales prices in DFW fell to $413,900 in July from $422,000 in July 2021.   Homes in DFW spend an average of 23 days on the market before selling.

 

Higher interest rates and inflation, as well as record home prices, triggered a sharp drop in demand for housing, said Todd Luong, a realtor with Re/Max DFW Associates:  "Here at our Re/Max office in Dallas-Fort Worth, our listings are currently getting on average 2.7 showings per week," Luong said. "Last year, at this same time, our listings were earning on average 5.9 showings per week. That is a huge drop in buyer demand compared to the previous year. Record home prices and higher mortgage rates have forced many potential buyers out of the market, especially first-time homebuyers."

 

While the latest trends may disappoint some sellers, buyers now have more choices and better opportunities for good deals, Luong said.   Luong said that the DFW housing market has been challenged with low inventory for years and reached an all-time low earlier this year, with only a two-week supply. Now, however, inventory is increasing.  "Although buyers have more choices now, it is still not a balanced market as we only have about a two-month housing supply," Luong said. "In a normal market, you have about a five to six-month supply of housing."

 

A new report from Zillow also found falling home values, although the numbers didn't match Re/Max's precisely because of different study methods and different geographic definitions of DFW as a metro area, among other reasons.  According to Zillow's findings, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area's typical home value is $396,904, down 1.1% since June, the first month of decline. Values are up 55.4% since July 2019.

 

Zillow also reported that the mortgage payment on a typical home in DFW is $2,633 a month, including taxes and insurance. That's up 77.4% compared to July 2019.

According to Zillow, inventory in DFW has risen 10.2% since June, and the share of listings with a price cut in July was 22%, compared to 15.6% in June.  Nationwide, after two years of unprecedented growth, home values fell for the first time since 2012 as competition for houses eased, according to Zillow's July market report.

 

The slowdown is being driven by decreased competition among buyers. Zillow's analysis says that affordability pressures have pushed many to the sidelines, and buyers are waiting in the wings to resume their search if and when prices relax a bit.  Skylar Olsen, Zillow's chief economist, called the flattening of home values "a badly needed rebalancing.  This slowdown is about discouraged buyers pulling back after the affordability shock from higher rates," Olsen said. "As prices soften, many will renew their interest, and we will continue our progress back to 'normal.'"

 

Luong said he sees positive signs in the market.  The interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 5% after peaking in June. More than 290,000 new jobs were added in Dallas-Fort Worth last year, so North Texas has one of the strongest labor markets in the country.   "Reasonably priced homes that are in good condition and move-in ready are still selling very fast," he said. "However, the bidding wars have subsided considerably across the board."

  • Dallas Business Journal, August 19, 2022
July
5

Your Guide to Long-Distance House Hunting

House Hunting Tips

Finding the perfect home is a challenging endeavor under normal circumstances, but searching for a home in a different city or state might seem impossible. Coordinating the purchase of a lifetime from several hundred miles away can seem like a daunting task.

While long-distance house hunting can pose challenges, our real estate agents want you to know that it's not as difficult as it seems. In today's world, with easily accessible online listings and the ability to conduct virtual tours, it's actually never been easier. Here are some tips on how to make your long-distance home search a success:

  • Visit Your New Neighborhood
    When starting a long-distance home search, it always helps to visit the new town to get a sense of the neighborhood, community, and amenities. A basic familiarity with the area allows you to choose the right location, envision your new life, and plan ahead. Take a trip or two to your new hometown and drive around, visit local businesses, and explore the area. When clients travel into town to look at Dallas homes for sale, we always encourage them to spend a day or two exploring our great city.

  • Choose A Reputable Local Agent
    When long-distance house hunting, working with an agent you can trust is more important than ever. Your agent can provide valuable local information, find listings that meet your criteria and negotiate the terms of your home sale. They can also help coordinate virtual listing tours. Choosing an agent that knows the area and has a strong reputation can really help make long-distance house hunting a success.

  • Include Travel Expenses In Your Budget
    Chances are you're going to want to make a trip to your new hometown at some point, whether it's during the house-hunting process or after your new home is under contract. Travel expenses can quickly eat into your funds, so make sure to factor travel expenses such as airfare, rental cars, gas, and hotel into your home-shopping budget.

  • Determine What You're Looking For
    Because your ability to tour homes in person may be limited, your buying decision will be naturally influenced by logic rather than emotion. Therefore, start by clearly defining your price range, and then create a list of the top 5 things you can't live without. Whether it's a specific location, a home office, or two full baths -- determine your non-negotiables and use them to narrow down your choices.

  • Don't Waive Your Inspection Contingencies
    Making an offer on a home sight unseen can be nerve-wracking, to say the least. If you aren't able to see the home in person, you can at least rely on your inspection contingencies to uncover any red flags. Be sure to consider the standard home inspection, pest inspection, radon, and sewer. These inspections give you the ability to back out of the deal without any penalty if problems arise and you can't come to terms on how to resolve them. Make sure to talk to your agent about what to expect with inspections.

Buying a home in a new city comes with its challenges, but it's actually never been easier than it is today. Contact us today to check out some great home listings in the Dallas area.

May
25

With North Texas home appraisals at an all-time high, here's how to protest

Home appraisals are up roughly 25% in Dallas County, 20% in Tarrant County, and more in Collin County and some of the other suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth. The last day property owners can file to protest their appraisals is May 16, and protests are expected to surge.

After a year of unprecedented price appreciation — with multiple offers the norm and houses selling far over the asking price along with inventory shortages that caused many buyers to waive appraisal contingencies in purchase contracts — the market values that appraisal districts placed on properties for 2022 tax purposes are up sharply across the state. How sharply varies widely from county to county and even neighborhood to neighborhood.

The average increase in home appraisals across Texas is 25%, according to the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts.  Home appraisals are up roughly 25% in Dallas County, 20% in Tarrant County, and more than 50% down in Travis County, where the housing market is even hotter than it is in North Texas. 

Homeowners can apply for a homestead exemption to limit the increase, but the deadline to apply for this year was April 30.  The good news for homeowners who missed the April 30 deadline is that late homestead exemption applications can be filed for up to two years after the tax delinquency date, which is usually Feb. 1. Homeowners who file late are eligible for a new tax bill with a lower amount or a refund if they've already paid.  The next important property tax deadline is fast approaching. The last day property owners can file to protest their appraisals is Monday (May 16).

The higher appraised values mean that if taxing entities such as cities, counties and especially school districts do not cut tax rates, many property owners will pay hundreds of dollars more in property taxes for 2022, if not thousands.  For people who own their home, that means writing a bigger check to their local tax office by the end of the year. For folks with a mortgage, the amount their lender collects in escrow will climb, typically translating into higher monthly house payments.

The number grabbing the attention of property owners when they open their 2022 appraisal envelopes is the market value — the amount the county appraisal district estimates their house would sell for as of January 1 of this year.   But in many cases, property owners won't pay taxes on the full market value because they'll qualify for tax breaks such as the homestead, over-65, and disabled veterans exemptions.  The homestead exemption, for example, puts a 10% cap on the amount the assessed value of a primary residence can go up. A homeowner claiming a homestead exemption whose market value increases from $500,000 to $600,00 would pay property taxes on $550,000.

Meanwhile, Texans who voted on Saturday overwhelmingly approved two amendments to the state constitution concerning property tax relief. One will set a lower property tax rate for over-65 and disabled homeowners starting in 2023. The second will lower independent school district property tax bills by increasing the homestead exemption from $25,000 currently to $40,000, saving an estimated $175 per homestead.  In Dallas County, Proposition 1 passed by 87.2% and Prop 2 passed by 85.4%, both mirroring the statewide passage rate, give or take 1%.

Home-buying clients and other residential property owners are urged to protest their appraisals most years and says this year there's more reason than ever.  Most appraisal districts have online portals that give property owners a way to protest informally. Those who aren't satisfied with the results can then formally protest with their local Appraisal Review Board, which will hold a hearing. Protest hearings began in late April 30 and finish in mid-July.  Homeowners should arm themselves with documentation of recent sales of comparable homes in their neighborhood. Most real estate agents will pull the comps for free.

The process to protest appraisal hikes varies from county to county and has changed substantially from past years due to COVID.  For more information about how individual North Texas counties are handling protests given COVID restrictions, here's how to contact appraisal districts in North Texas:

  • Dallas Business Journal, May 10, 2022
March
19

First Time Homebuyers Squeezed Out of the Market

As home prices soar, housing affordability is sinking to the lowest levels since 2008 and first-time buyers - who haven't benefited from rising home values and are also coping with rising rents - are being squeezed out.

First-time buyers accounted for 27% of existing home sales in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, near 2014 levels. With mortgage rates above 4%, around the highest in about three years, and expected to rise further, buyers on tight budgets may struggle even more to find homes they can afford.

  • Reuters, March 13, 2022
February
22

Out-of-town homebuyers are willing to spend more than DFW homebuyers – what's another 10%

Homebuyers looking to move to Dallas from other regions last year, especially from California and the west coast, were willing to pay 10.6% more than locals, new research finds.  People looking to move to Dallas are willing to pay an average maximum budget of $701,760, while locals are willing to pay up to an average of $634,465, according to a recent report from Redfin.   The company compiled the average maximum list price filters for homes in the saved home searches of its users. The analysis includes cities with at least 3,000 home searchers from inside the metro and 3,000 from outside the metro last year.

North Texas suburbs Plano and Frisco are prime examples of out of state transfreees willing to pay more.  Plano's average maximum for migrants was $695,729 and the average maximum was locals was $646,383 for a difference of 7.6% more. Frisco had an average maximum for migrants of $784,688 and the average maximum for locals was $802,154 for a difference of 2.2% less.

States without income taxes such as Texas and Tennessee are seeing many transplants from California who see that as a deal, said Redfin.   "People moving from the West Coast will pay way over asking price without batting an eye," Geyer said. "It's really hard for locals to compete right now, and it can be devastating for first-time buyers who aren't able to offset high prices by selling a home before they buy a new one."   The number one out of state buyer into Dallas-Fort Worth is from the Los Angeles suburbs.

  • Dallas Business Journal, February 16, 2022
February
9

Spring 2022 – Expect the Most Competitive in History

Homebuyers got crushed last year as home prices soared at their highest clip on record. Housing economists saw that price growth—which peaked at a year-over-year rate of 20% last year—as simply unsustainable. Their economic models agreed: Among the seven forecast models reviewed by Fortune heading into 2022, every single one predicted home price growth would slow significantly this year.

But over the past few weeks, that consensus is no longer so unified. Now, more industry insiders are throwing out their previous forecasts and replacing them with more bullish short-term outlooks. Indeed, some experts say the 2022 spring housing market might go down as one of the most competitive on record.

Look no further than Zillow. Back in December, the home listing site predicted that U.S. home values would climb 11% this year. Economists at Zillow now say that forecast is too conservative. Their latest forecast finds home prices are set to spike 16.4% between December 2021 and December 2022. If it comes to fruition, it would mark another brutal year for home shoppers.

  • Fortune, February 7, 2022
December
23

Home Inventory Hits All-Time Low

Fewer homes were available in November than in any period on record, driving prices 15% higher than last year, Redfin reports.   Home inventory has grown even more scarce as the number of houses on the market reached an all-time low last month, Redfin reports.
The seasonally adjusted number of homes for sale was 18 percent lower in November than it was at the same time last year, according to a new report from Redfin's data team.  "I wish I had better news for homebuyers this holiday season, but in many ways the housing market is more challenging than ever," Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said in the report. "At least buyers have the benefit of low mortgage rates.  But by next year, inflation may spread to more consumer goods." 
  • Inman News, December 20, 2021
November
8

Don't Fall for These Real Estate Myths

Real Estate Myths

Today's real estate market remains hot, hot, hot, with sellers enjoying high prices, while buyers are facing a highly competitive market that has made it difficult for some to land the home they're longing for. This is especially true for those selling homes in Dallas/Fort Worth or shopping for Dallas homes for sale and Fort Worth homes for sale

It's easy to get distracted during the buying or selling process by certain widespread real estate myths. Our real estate agents help many families in the area find their dream home and advise them to not fall for misconceptions they might hear from well-meaning friends and family members.

Read on about some common real estate myths you should not fall for.

  • Myth 1: You don't need to do any prep work
    Many home shoppers think the process starts by rushing out and touring houses either in person or online before you've gotten yourself organized. The best course of action to ensure a smooth transaction is to plan your financing. Get either a preapproval letter or perhaps even a prequalification letter, from the lender you choose. This will help you be prepared when it's time to make an offer, but you'll also be able to focus on searching within the price range you're qualified for -- rather than wasting time looking at homes that are out of reach.

  • Myth 2: You can do it alone
    You'll be missing the expertise an agent brings to the process, including knowledge of market conditions, and above all, the ability to negotiate the best deal. A good agent will also help you get your paperwork ready. Organized, complete paperwork can make the process flow much more smoothly than when papers and forms are shoddily prepared and incomplete.

  • Myth 3: You can rely solely on online sources
    These resources can tell you a lot, such as an estimate of what your home is worth, or a calculation of your monthly mortgage payment. What's missing is a visit to a property by an agent, who can determine if the data is all correct.

  • Myth 4: You won't need to worry about repairs
    Modern builders are tending to build quickly at minimal expense. That means you need to exercise caution regarding lower-quality construction. Hire a home inspector who is well versed in new home construction to suss out potential problems. Talk to your real estate agent about what to look for in new home construction  -- or older homes if you're looking at an older model.

  • Myth 5: You should always offer less than the asking price for a home
    Low-balling the seller can be annoying to the point they may move on to a potential buyer who's easier to work with. Do you really want the home? Is the price reasonable? Then offer the list price or a price that's close to it. In really hot markets, you may need to offer over the list price to make sure you're in the competition. Your real estate agent should be able to help you strategize the best approach.

Need more help navigating today's real estate market? Contact us today.

September
15

Homebuyer Bidding Wars Hit a New Low in August

The competition to snag a home continues to ease, with August seeing the fewest competing offers so far this year.   About 58.8% of the home offers by Redfin agents faced competition, a new low for 2021, according to the technology-powered real estate brokerage.   This is a decrease from the revised bidding-war rate of 62.1% a month prior and it's well below the "peak of 74.3% in April," according to Redfin.  

The August rate is also lower than the bidding-war rate of 59.4% reported a year ago.    "While sellers continue to have the upper hand, buying a home has become slightly easier this summer as the country's acute shortage of homes for sale is no longer intensifying and the market has undergone its typical seasonal slowdown," Redfin said.    Although sellers are still pricing their homes "very high," not all buyers aren't biting. 

Fox Business, September 14, 2021

September
10

DFW Area Home Prices Projected to Rise Another 21% Over Next 12 Months

If you're waiting for Dallas-Fort Worth's rapid home price appreciation to cool before buying a house, you may have to sit it out for at least another year.  Despite some indicators that the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market may be cooling, a new report projects that home prices will increase an eyebrow-raising 21.1% over the next year.  The projected increase is the ninth highest in the nation, according to online home services portal Porch.  Porch used national home sales data from Zillow, Redfin and the U.S. Census to make its home price predictions.

If DFW hits the 21.1% projection, it will exactly match the metro area's gain in home prices for the past year in the latest Case Schiller Index, which measured June 2020 through June 2021. The increase set a year-over-year record gain for the Dallas area.

Here is a summary of the data for the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area:

  • Forecasted one-year change in home price: +21.1%
  • Current median home price: $297,044
  • Sale-to-list price ratio: 102%
  • Median household income: $72,265
  • Home price-to-income ratio: 4.11X

For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States, according to Porch:

  • Forecasted one-year change in home price: +14.9%
  • Current median home price: $287,148
  • Sale-to-list price ratio: 102%
  • Median household income: $65,712
  • Home price-to-income ratio: 4.37X

Dallas Business Journal, September 6, 2021

October
26

Questions to Ask Your Realtor During a Video Tour

Questions During Video Tour - Home for Sale - RE/MAX DFW Associates

If you're interested in buying a home, you may live in another city and find it difficult to travel to see each house you're interested in. Or perhaps you'd simply like to save some time and rule some houses in or out without seeing them in person. That's why video tours of homes for sale are becoming more and more popular with prospective homebuyers.

Our real estate agents suggest that you ask your REALTOR the following questions during a video tour:

  • Do you notice any indoor or outside odors?
    Your agent should be able to tell you if there are any unusual or unpleasant smells in the home, including those associated with pets, sewage, or a musty odor. Outside smells are also important to note so you can make sure the home isn't located near a garbage dump, paper mill, or other industrial site.

  • Is there anything you see that might be a concern?
    Since your agent is actually in the home, he or she can spot details that may not be visible to you via video. Cracks, signs of water damage chipped molding, and other issues your agent sees can then be called to your attention.

  • Are there any noises you hear inside and outside the home? 
    You'll want to know if the agent can hear any noises such as traffic, loud music coming from the neighbors, or crowds from a nearby public area.

  • Can I see the views from the windows?
    You'll want to know what you'd be looking at from each of the windows if you bought the home, so ask your agent to open any window treatments and show you the view from each window.

  • Can I see the rooms from different angles?
    To get a true sense of what the home really looks like, you'll need to see each room from different angles. This will help you visualize where rooms and fixtures are in relation to one another and where doorways and windows are located.

  • Can you measure certain areas for me?
    You may need to know, for example, if your dining room table will fit in the room where you'll eat. Or maybe you wonder if your entertainment center will fit where you envision it. Ask your agent to measure certain specific areas so you'll know for sure if your furniture will fit as you'd like it to.

  • Does anything look different than what you expected?
    Photos can sometimes allow a seller to accentuate or minimize a particular feature, so ask your agent if he or she is surprised by how anything in the home actually looks in person.

  • Can you zoom in on certain areas?  
    You may want to get a good close look at certain areas, such as the kitchen appliances or cabinets, to see if they have any flaws when viewed more closely.

  • Can I see the landscaping, and does it look well maintained?
    Make sure you see the outside of the home, taking the time to see the landscaping to see if it's attractive and well maintained.

  • Can you show me the neighborhood?
    Ask your agent if he or she can show you the houses next door as well as a view down the street. You need to get a good idea of how close the home is to other houses and how well other homes are maintained.

Contact us at RE/MAX DFW Associates for more information about taking a video tour of Dallas homes for sale. We offer this service for your convenience and would be happy to answer any questions about the homes you tour. 

August
31

Don't Let Your Credit Score Hold You Back from Your First Home

Credit Score - First-Time Homebuyers – RE/MAX DFW Associates

Our real estate agents here at RE/MAX DFW Associates know that sellers have been bouncing back in our area for weeks now. It's about time for buyers to join the excitement and check out all of the great Dallas homes for sale that are hitting the market!

And that market is right for first-time home buyers.

Many people put off the decision to buy a home because they aren't sure about their finances or worry about their credit. With historic low interest rates, however, now's the time to test the waters. If you're interested in buying a home, you can begin working on your credit and make a big difference.

Your credit score is a numerical rating that helps lenders understand your financial habits. A higher credit score represents someone who is more likely to pay debts on time, making them a safer bet. 

Although your credit score is important, it doesn't have to be perfect!

By starting the right habits today, you can make a significant difference in your credit even if you only have a few weeks or months before you apply for a mortgage loan. Current "creditworthy" behavior is often weighed more heavily by lenders than any credit problems you had in the past.

Here's how you can get off to the right start by building your credit:

  1. Check Your Credit Report for Mistakes
    Your credit score is derived from information in your credit report, which can be hundreds of pages long. It lists all your current debts and obligations as well as your payment history. You can access your report for free online once a year – contest any mistakes you find and you could gain a few credit points.

  2. Pay Debts in Full If You Can
    If you have a few credit cards you can pay off quickly, go for it! Reducing the amount of total credit you use (while still having access to it) raises your score. For larger debts, it's best to start with the card that has the highest APR, then go on to the next highest, and so on in order.

  3. Put Other Plans on Pause for Now
    When you're looking for a new home, pump the brakes on a new auto loan or any other major debts. If you get approved for other financing, it can throw off your debt-to-income ratio, which makes it harder to get the best mortgage interest rates. A better rate could save you thousands of dollars!

  4. Mop Up Older Debts
    When it comes to debt, it's always best to communicate, agree on a payment plan, or make partial payment. If any debts fall into collections, always deal with those first. If you pay off a debt that has been around for a while, be sure you get written proof showing that it is paid in full.

  5. Revisit Your Budget
    Opportunities to spend less can help you improve your credit when the money you save goes to your debts. It's always a wise idea to take a close look at your budget and see if anything could be changed. That can give you a head start on writing a household budget and finding a great, affordable home.

  6. Use Programs for First-Time Buyers
    The federal government has created many different programs for first-time buyers. These allow buyers with lower credit scores to access funding with low or no down payment, and are often insured by the government, helping lenders and borrowers alike.

Getting a great mortgage starts with finding the right home – and there's no better ally than RE/MAX DFW Associates. Contact us to learn more.

July
13

Buyers: Should You Put in an Offer Sight Unseen?

Buy a House Sight Unseen - RE/MAX DFW Associates

If you're looking to move to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, house hunting can be complicated by the commute to open houses and other viewings. If you spot a particularly appealing choice among the Dallas homes for sale, you may consider making an offer before you're able to tour the house in person. This option has its risks, but with some caution, making an offer before you have a chance to see the house in real life can pay off. 

  • Take A New Look 
    Making an offer sight unseen is much less literal than it used to be. With services such as Facetime, Zoom, and Skype, it's possible to take a virtual tour. A seller may arrange for a virtual open house to show off their home to potential buyers, or you may ask for a personal virtual viewing. Low-tech options include hiring a home inspector or even a trusted friend to tour the property and take notes. Our real estate agents will be happy to facilitate a viewing that meets the needs of buyers and sellers alike.

  • Working In The Dark
    Virtual tours can be challenging if you're not used to the technology and may gloss over elements you should inspect more closely. Virtual tours may pay little attention to the outdoor spaces, focusing instead on the house itself. You don't get a chance to tour the neighborhood or view the street the house is on, and online data on the neighborhood may be outdated. A virtual tour, while helpful, shouldn't be your only information on the house or the area the house is in. You'll need to do more careful research when making an offer on a house you cannot personally view.

  • A New Insight 
    Online research into the neighborhood, combined with virtual tours and the help of a real estate agent and a licensed house inspector, can help you expand the area of your house hunt well beyond the areas you can commute to for in-person viewings. You may get broader insights into the area where you plan to move than if you'd stuck to just in-person viewings alone. A house inspector can spot issues that homebuyers just don't have the experience to readily identify. A friend you trust to inspect the house won't be under the same pressure you might feel to make an offer, and is free to be more discerning.  Every precaution you should take when making an offer sight unseen will make your house hunt a better one, even with properties you have the chance to view in person. 

While you may prefer to wait to view a property in person, making an offer before you can see a house can be a sound purchasing decision. We'd love to discuss your home viewing options with you. Please contact us today. 

June
19

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM

A recent survey by Lending Tree tapped into behaviors of over 1,000 prospective buyers. The results indicated 53% of all homebuyers are more likely to buy a home in the next year, even amid the current health crisis. The survey further revealed why, naming several reasons buyers are more likely to move this year (see graph below):Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM

Let's break down why these are a few of the key factors motivating buyers to actively engage in the home search process, and the corresponding wins for sellers as well.

1. Low Mortgage Rates

The biggest reason potential homebuyers indicated they're eager to purchase this year is due to current mortgage rates, which are hovering near all-time lows. Today's low rates are making it more affordable than ever to buy a home, which is a huge incentive for purchasers. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Lending Tree survey want to take advantage of low mortgage rates. This is no surprise when comparing historic mortgage rates by decade (see below):

Three Reasons Homebuyers Are Ready to Purchase This Year | MyKCM

Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac recently said:

"As the economy is slowly rebounding, all signs continue to point to a solid recovery in home sales activity heading into the summer as prospective buyers jump back into the market. Low mortgage rates are a key factor in this recovery."

2. Reduced Spending

Some people have also been able to save a little extra money over the past few months while sheltering in place. One of the upsides of staying home recently is that many have been able to work remotely and minimize extra spending on things like commuting expenses, social events, and more. For those who fall into this category, they may have a bit more saved up for down payments and closing costs, making purchasing a home more feasible today.

3. Re-Evaluating Their Space

Spending time at home has also given buyers a chance to really evaluate their living space, whether renting or as a current homeowner. With time available to craft a wish list of what they really need in their next home, from more square footage to a more spacious neighborhood, they're ready to make it happen.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

With these three factors in play, the demand for housing will keep growing this year, especially over the summer as more communities continue their phased approach to reopening. Buyers can take advantage of additional savings and low mortgage rates. And if you're thinking of selling, know that your home may be in high demand as buyer interest grows and the number of homes for sale continues to dwindle. This may be your moment to list your house and make a move into a new space as well.

Bottom Line

If you're ready to buy or sell – or maybe both – let's connect to put your plans in motion. With low mortgage rates leading the way, it's a great time to take advantage of your position in today's market.

  • Keeping Current Matters, June 16, 2020
October
18

Forecasters – What to Expect Over Next 12 Months

Paige Shipp, regional director with housing analyst MetroStudy Inc. fears home sales might slow next year in the ramp up to presidential and congressional elections.  "We typically have much slower selling seasons right before an election," she said. "After that happens, the flood gates open and people come out. It's not a matter of who wins."   Worries about a recession may also impact the home market.  "We spent the better part of the last decade still looking over our shoulder," said George Ratiu, senior economist with Realtor.com.  "The last recession was so bad that we are still carrying some of the scars from that."   However, Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University states that Texas economy is still expanding.  "And we are extremely unlikely to be in a recession by the end of this calendar year," he said. "We are probably pretty safe through the first six months of next year."

  • Dallas Morning News, October 14, 2019

 

August
26

First-Time Buyers: How to Spur Credit Score Improvement

Credit Score Improvement for First-Time Buyers - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Our real estate agents are always glad to support your search for the best Dallas homes for sale. First-time buyers, in particular, find the process easier when they connect with the right real estate agent—someone with plenty of experience in their situation. Many of the big questions first-time buyers have usually deal with obtaining a mortgage loan.

They often worry about the effect of credit score on their hopes for a favorable mortgage. Most people don't have perfect credit, so they wonder if their credit will stop them from getting the home they want. Luckily, the answer to this is almost always "no." A few credit blemishes here or there will not usually disqualify you from getting a home loan. Even if you've had credit problems in the past, many lenders are willing to look at your current income and credit behavior to determine how much you can borrow.

That said, your credit score is still relevant. A good credit score can improve your loan terms. Raising your score just a few points can make a worthwhile difference, so don't feel you need perfection. Even if you have only a few months before you begin your home search, there are steps you can take to raise your credit score. This may translate to better loan rates and substantial savings over time. Let's look at some ways you can raise your credit score faster.

  1. Pay Off Any Credit Debts You Can
    As a general rule, paying credit card debts with a higher APR (annual percentage rate) will help you reduce your total debt load while paying less in interest. Look at the APR of each of your credit debts and pay off any that combine a low balance with a high APR.

  2. Don't Close Any Unused Credit Accounts
    Closing an unused credit account may seem like a good idea, but it's actually self-sabotaging. This is because the total amount of credit you have influences your score. Simply pay off each credit card and leave it. You can use cards occasionally for small purchases to keep them active.

  3. Don't Take on New Loan Obligations
    When planning to buy a home, it's best to make it your sole financial focus if you can. Lenders will tend to be suspicious of buyers who take on a new car loan or other major debt before a home search. In the early stages of getting a loan, this may endanger your plans.

  4. Choose a First-Time Buyer Loan Program
    This won't affect your credit score directly, but it may help you boost it in the long run. First-time homebuyers can benefit from many state and federal programs that make it easier to access a mortgage loan. Most of them put less emphasis on credit score or may not consider it at all.

  5. Examine Your Credit Report for Errors
    Credit data is collected from a number of sources and compiled by several different companies. When mistakes are made, they can negatively impact your credit score. Use the official site to get your free annual credit report and follow up with creditors on any errors you catch.

  6. Consider a Side Gig
    If you can raise your income even a hundred dollars a month, you'll be able to pay off your debts that much faster. There are many legitimate opportunities to make more money out there on the web, but be careful you don't end up working around the clock!

Contact us to find out more about your options as a first-time home buyer here in the Dallas area. The team at RE/MAX DFW Associates looks forward to helping you.

July
29

Choosing a Dallas Neighborhood: HOA Pros and Cons

HOA Neighborhood in Dallas - RE/MAX DFW Associates

If you're looking into purchasing a home in Dallas, then one of the big questions you'll have to ask yourself is whether or not to buy in a neighborhood with a homeowners association. Our real estate agents are familiar with HOAs and have put together this handy guide on choosing a Dallas neighborhood with one—and the pros and cons that go along with it.

HOA Pros

By design, pretty much any HOA worth its mettle focuses on making life in a neighborhood easier, simpler, and more uniform for its homeowners. In most situations, the pros of joining an HOA or buying in an HOA-run neighborhood usually far outweigh the cons. Here's why you want to join an HOA:

  • Less Maintenance
    Most HOAs will maintain landscaping around your home, which means you don't have to worry about doing it yourself. In addition to basic yard work, you can expect your HOA to handle most of the aesthetics for your home.

  • Utilities May Be Included
    Depending on the HOA, some, or maybe all, of your utilities may be included as part of your HOA membership dues. If you prefer to live with all of your expenses covered in one payment each month, then this is certainly the way to go! Make sure you hammer out the details with the HOA on exactly what they cover before you sign any contract.

  • HOAs Have Rules
    To some, rules are a bad thing, but to many homeowners, they're a godsend. HOAs explicitly outline the rules and regulations for the neighborhood, which means there are no gray areas for noisy neighbors, barking dogs, or any other common homeowner issues. Additionally, the HOA will be the ones to issue any "citations" for breaking the rules, which means you won't have to!

HOA Cons

While HOAs have many positives, there can be some negatives. Some things you should be aware of before committing to a neighborhood with an HOA:

  • They Can Be Expensive
    For everything you get in return, HOAs can be notoriously expensive and can quickly put an unsuspecting buyer out of their housing budget in no time. For all of the nice amenities you desire such as landscaping, maintenance, and the like, you may also be on the hook for amenities you don't care about, such as community pool access or golf course.

  • Personalization is Out
    If your HOA is big on maintaining a consistent aesthetic from home to home, then you may very well have to adhere to those standards. What this means is that you likely won't have much leniency for personal touches to the exterior or landscaping of your home. If you're the type that wants to "make a house a home," then you may want to be very careful what HOA you choose.

  • Management is Crucial
    There's always the chance that your HOA isn't run by homeowners and is actually managed by an outside company. In either case, management could be less-than-stellar, meaning all of your hard-earned money that goes toward HOA dues and membership may not live up to your expectations. This can cause problems when needs and expectations aren't met, so do your homework ahead of time.

To find the best Dallas homes for sale with the best HOAs, contact us and let one of our real estate agents guide you through the buying process.

April
24

Frisco ISD Sued Over Alleged Elections Discrimination Against Asians

The Frisco school district's at-large system for electing trustees discriminates against the rapidly growing Asian population in the area, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.  The voting-rights lawsuit is the third in a year against a North Texas school district, all brought by the Brewer Storefront, the pro bono affiliate of the firm Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors, which has also filed voting-rights suits against several other districts and cities.  Frisco demographics have changed rapidly over the past 15 years, as it has been one of the fastest-growing communities in the state.  More than 70% of the district's 13,284 students were white in the 2003-04 school year, according to state data. Now FISD has about 60,000 students, of which about 42% are white, 29% Asian and 13.5% Hispanic. (Some 11% are African-American.)

"So less than half of the children in public schools are white, but they're not able to elect any candidates of color?" said William Brewer, a partner at the storefront. "The voting is clearly polarized in Frisco."

Frisco is one of the few Texas school districts where students of Asian heritage make up a majority on some campuses. The others are Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Coppell, Plano, Fort Bend, Round Rock and Alief.   The Asian population in Frisco has increased in recent years as an active word-of-mouth pipeline drew more and more families as workers from India came to work for the booming software and technology companies in the area.  Then in 2008, a well-known Hindu priest blessed the land in the eastern part of the school district. Many Indian families bought homes in the area, and a Hindu temple was built.

The Brewer Storefront filed a lawsuit against the Lewisville school district in February alleging that all seven trustees there come from affluent, white neighborhoods, so students of color receive a "second-rate" education. That suit is pending.  The Richardson district recently settled the voting-rights lawsuit filed against it last year. That district is moving toward five single-member districts; two board members will continue to be elected at large.  In 2016, Brewer sued Coppell ISD over concerns that the Asian-American community there was being disenfranchised, but that suit was dismissed.

  • Dallas Morning News, April 17, 2019
April
16

Texas Senate Passes Homeowner Property Tax Overhaul Bill

Currently city and school districts can raise taxes 8% a year without voter approval.

This new bill, passed by the Texas Senate, and now heads to the House, would limit the increase to 2.5% per year.

AUSTIN — Legislation that would slow property tax increases for home and business owners cleared the Texas Senate on Monday, after the sole Republican opponent of the bill stepped aside to allow the vote.

The vote was a victory for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a longtime proponent of property tax relief and champion of the Senate bill. He was again pitted against his political foil, Amarillo Sen. Kel Seliger, the only Republican who openly opposes the bill. Seliger held it up for weeks before changing his mind Monday morning and voting to allow the debate to proceed.

"Today is a historic day," Patrick said after the vote. "We heard a lot of comments from the floor ... from those in opposition who were concerned about cities and counties and their budgets. We're concerned about the people's budget — that's what we're concerned about."

Senate Bill 2 passed 18-12 with Seliger joining the Democrats in opposition. One senator, Brownsville Democrat Eddie Lucio, was present but did not vote. The bill will be debated in the Texas House, which has written its own version of the priority legislation, a week from Wednesday.

Authored by Houston Republican Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a former tax assessor-collector, SB2 would slow property tax growth by limiting how much revenue local governments and school districts can collect each year. It would not make tax bills smaller.

SB2, which was changed on the Senate floor Monday, caps property tax revenue growth for counties, cities and special taxing districts at 3.5% a year, up from 2.5% in the original version. School districts would stay capped at 2.5% a year; however, they are getting a boost of new funding under separate legislation this session.

The cap could be exceeded if taxing districts hold elections and voters approve the increase. Currently, local governments can increase property tax revenue by up to 8% a year without an election.

  • Dallas Morning News, April 15, 2019
March
31

Dallas Home Price Hikes Are Turning Buyers Into Renters

 

Should you buy or rent?

Dallas is one of the U.S. metro areas where rising home prices have hurt homeownership the most. Dallas, Denver and Houston were identified as the markets where there is the most downward pressure on homeownership, according to a new report by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty. The study ranked areas where the markets have tilted in favor of renting over buying homes. Researchers traced housing conditions in 23 markets for the report. Dallas was the most unfavorable for homeownership among the cities surveyed. "Of the metros in our index, Dallas is the highest and exhibiting the greatest downward pressure on the demand for homeownership," said Ken Johnson, real estate economist in FAU's College of Business. "The extraordinary appreciation in the area is a major driver of this score."  Dallas' housing market has taken off since the Great Recession, with soaring prices.

  • Dallas Morning News, March 20, 2019
March
30

Dallas Ranks #1 For Millennials Nationwide

 

Meyers Millennial Desirability Index (MDI)

        SOURCE: Meyers Research

 

Dallas and Houston are the hottest spots in the country for millennial homebuyers. That's what analysts at California-based Meyers Research found in their annual "millennial desirability index" that rated the country's largest housing markets. Austin ranked third on the same list, which compared data on housing affordability, job growth, cost of living and other factors for major metro areas across the country. Meyers Research's director of research, Ali Wolf, said factors such as Texas' relatively low new home prices, strong economy and high quality of life push the state's major cities to the top of the list. Job opportunities, affordability and lifestyle were key factors millennials said they would consider in moving to a new city. Meyers' study is one of two recent studies that give North Texas high marks for first-time homebuyers.

  • Dallas Morning News, March 24, 2019
March
27

Home Prices Fell in Dallas County in February

Home Prices Fell in Dallas CountyThe latest North Texas housing market numbers are not very encouraging, to say the least. Home sales were down in many Dallas-Fort Worth neighborhoods in February, and median home sales prices dropped for the first time since 2008-2009 in both Dallas and Rockwall counties.  Dallas County home sales prices fell 2.5 percent in February from a year ago, according to the latest figures from the MetroTex Association of Realtors. Median sales prices slid 4.5 percent in Rockwall County.  Collin and Denton counties eked out tiny year-over-year home price gains last month — less that 1 percent ahead of February 2018.  The only solid home price gain in the region came in Tarrant County, where houses are still relatively affordable.  Lower and moderate-priced house sales are still strong while purchases of expensive properties have lagged.

  • Dallas Morning News, March 22, 2019

 

February
27

2019: New Home Sales Up 2%, Preowned Sales Down 2-4% Nationwide

U.S. Home Starts

Homebuilders are starting off 2019 with hopes of another increase in U.S. sales, especially newly built houses. But the building industry also sees an upcoming drop nationally in purchases of preowned homes because of rising affordability issues. "2019 looks like a year of solid, if not spectacular, growth," said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders. "I think new-home sales will be up a tad and existing home sales down." The building industry forecasts a 2 percent rise in nationwide home starts in 2019, making it the best year since the Great Recession. That's the most positive sign in this year's outlook. "We actually have existing home sales declining year-over-year in 2019," Dietz said at the industry's annual meeting this week in Las Vegas. The drop in existing home sales is likely to be between 2 percent and 4 percent this year, according to the latest industry outlook. Preowned home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth fell slightly in 2018 after several years of increases. The decline continued into the new year. Higher mortgage rates and record prices are blamed for the slowdown.

  • Dallas Morning News, February 19, 2019

 

February
20

Home Sales Fall by 10-13% in January

DFW January Home Sales UpdateIn Dallas County, home sales by real estate agents fell more than 12 percent in January from the same month in 2018. Sales were down almost 13 percent in Denton County and down 10.5 percent year-over-year in Collin County. The smallest sales decline was in Tarrant County — 8.5 percent — where a larger inventory of more affordable houses on the market has made purchase activity stronger. Real estate agents are scrambling to adjust to the downshift in the local home market. "We are being realistic with our sellers, telling them you need to price your house at what it will sell for," said Cathy Mitchell, 2019 president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. "I think this market correction is good for us." There was about a four-month supply of houses on the market in North Texas at the end of January.

  • Dallas Morning News, January 16, 2019
January
30

Dallas, Texas Housing Market Forecast: One of the 'Hottest' in 2019?

 

Dallas, Texas Housing Market Forecast: One of the 'Hottest' in 2019?

 

By Brandon Cornett | January 18, 2019 | © HBI,

 

Recent forecasts for the real estate market in Dallas, Texas suggest that home prices in the area could rise faster than the national average in 2019. A separate forecast from Zillow ranked Dallas as one of the top ten "hottest" housing markets of 2019.

Bold Outlook for Dallas Housing Market in 2019

At the start of 2019, the median home value for Dallas, Texas was around $201,000. (The median for the broader DFW metro area was a bit higher.) That was a gain of more than 13% from a year earlier, according to data collected by Zillow.

Predictions from housing analysts point to continued home-price growth throughout 2019. In fact, the Dallas real estate market is expected to outperform the nation this year, in terms of annual home-value appreciation.  Given the current rate of appreciation, it would not be surprising to see the median house price in Dallas rise somewhere between 7% and 10% over the next year.

Zillow's research team recently predicted that the median value in Dallas would climb by 11.2% over the next 12 months. That was a much bolder forecast than the one they issued for the nation as a whole, which predicted 6.4% growth.

Housing Supply on the Rise

Inventory is another important trend that could shape the Dallas-area housing market in 2019. This year, home buyers across the metro area could have more properties to choose from.  At the end of 2018, the Dallas real estate market had more than a 4-month supply of homes for sale. That was a higher level of inventory than most metro areas across the U.S., and also higher than the national average during that same timeframe.

The key takeaway here is that housing inventory in Dallas (i.e., the number of homes listed for sale) increased during the latter part of 2018. As a result, buyers who enter the market this year should have more options when it comes to choosing a property.

Dallas Makes Zillow's "Hottest" List

In January, Zillow published a forecast that included what they felt would be the ten "hottest U.S. housing markets for 2019." Dallas was ranked at number seven on that list.  To create their "hot list," Zillow examined a number of factors for the nation's 50 largest metro areas. They then combined these variables to create a "hotness" score. They looked for metro areas with strong income growth, growing populations, and low unemployment — among other factors.

A Cooling Trend Could Prevent Affordability Issues

The Dallas real estate market is something of a paradox right now, as we move into 2019. Home prices in the area continue to rise faster than the national average. At the same, however, there is clearly a cooling trend taking place.

Paige Shipp, regional director at MetroStudy, recently told The Dallas Morning News: "Dallas-Fort Worth, the nation's top new home market, is slowing from a frenzied, overheated pace to a more stable, normalized market. Builders and developers are hard at work delivering product to meet the strong demand for affordable new homes."

Dallas currently leads the nation in terms of new-home construction, according to MetroStudy and other sources. There were nearly 35,000 housing starts in the DFW area during the third quarter of 2018, more than any other metro. (A "housing start" is the beginning of construction for a house.)

If inventory continues to grow in this market — as expected — it will likely lead to smaller home-price gains in the future. And that's probably a good thing. When house prices rise at a much faster pace than local wages and income, it can create affordability problems. So a cooling trend could actually be beneficial at this point.

Disclaimer: This article includes housing market predictions for the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area in 2019. They were provided by third parties not associated with the Home Buying Institute. Real estate forecasts are the equivalent of an educated and are far from certain.

 

January
22

And Another Reason to Own a Home in Texas

2019 Real Estate Transfer Tax

No Real Estate Transfer Tax

Texas is one of a handful of states that does not have a transfer tax when a seller sells their home. Dallas is one of the few cities in the nation that does not have a city transfer tax. Several years ago the voters in the state of Texas passed a constitutional amendment that disallowed any such taxes in the future. So not only do some 40 states have a transfer tax, the cities as well have an additional transfer tax. Another reason so many are moving to Texas. See below the city and state transfer tax on a home sale of $500,000 in selected northern cities.

2019 - Real Estate Transfer Tax

Based on a $500,000 Sales Price

CITY

 

STATE TRANSFER TAX

 

CITY TRANSFER TAX

 

TOTAL TAX

                 

Boston, MA

$2,280.00

   

$0.00

   

$2,280.00

Chicago, IL

$750.00

   

$3,750.00

   

$4,500.00

Los Angeles, CA

$550.00

   

$550.00

   

$1,100.00

New York City, NY

$2,000.00

   

$7,125.00

   

$9,125.00

Philadelphia, PA

$5,000.00

   

$15,000.00

   

$20,000.00

San Francisco, CA

$550.00

   

$3,400.00

   

$3,950.00

Seattle, WA

$6,400.00

   

$2,500.00

   

$8,900.00

 

January
10

North Texas Home Prices Stumbled in December

Home Prices Stumbled in December

Local real estate agents sold 9 percent fewer homes in December than they did a year earlier — the fifth month in a row of year-over-year declines in home purchases.  Last month 7,786 homes were sold through the agents' multiple listing service, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information System. Last year's slight decline in home purchases in the area followed almost eight years of increases.  "It's still the second-best year ever," said Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center. "The whole state is reverting to a more normal market.  "We've been going really, really strong for years, and ultimately that slows down." Higher mortgage rates and record home prices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have caused some prospective buyers to pull back from the market.

 

The number of homes for sale in the almost two dozen North Texas counties included in the report was 22 percent higher than a year earlier, with more than 21,000 preowned single-family homes listed for sale with real estate agents. On average it took 57 days to sell a property -- 8 percent longer than a year earlier. Even with the increase in inventory, there was only about a 2.4-month supply of houses listed for sale in the area at the end of December.

  • Dallas Morning News, January 8, 2019

 

January
9

Dallas Home Prices Up 5% in 2018

Home Prices have risen over 40% in the last five years

Dallas-area home price gains slightly outperformed the national average in 2018.Dallas home prices rose 5.3 percent from 2017 levels while the U.S. price increase was 5.1 percent, CoreLogic reports. CoreLogic is forecasting that nationwide home prices will grow less than 5 percent in the year ahead."The rise in mortgage rates has dampened buyer demand and slowed home-price growth," Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said in the report. "These higher rates and home prices have reduced buyer affordability," he said. "Home sellers are responding by lowering their asking price, which is reflected in the slowing growth of the CoreLogic Home Price Index." Along with Dallas' 5.3 percent year-over-year home price gain, CoreLogic found that prices were up 6.9 percent annually in the Fort Worth area and were 5.8 percent higher in San Antonio. Houston prices rose by just under 4 percent from a year ago. And prices in the Austin area were only 3.4 percent higher than in November 2017. 

Homeowners that CoreLogic surveyed attributed the growing home values as part of a strong national and local economy. "A strong economy helps homeowners feel confident about the value of their property," said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "If recent declines in the stock market shake consumer confidence in the national economy, we may see homeowners' perception of home values change and a subsequent buyers' market emerge in 2019." Even with the declines in the rate of home appreciation, Dallas-Fort Worth home prices are at record levels and have risen more than 40 percent in the last five years.

  • Dallas Morning News, January 2, 2019
January
7

Home Buyers: Understand Applying for a Mortgage

Applying for a Mortgage - RE/MAX DFW Associates

Buying a home is a big decision, but paying for a home is an even bigger deal. Naturally, if you're looking at purchasing a home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, then you'll most likely be looking toward a mortgage to finance your home purchase. 

The mortgage process is complex, multifaceted, and became even more so since the housing crash from a decade ago, so our real estate agents have put together some tips to help you understand the mortgage application process.

  • Applying for a Mortgage
    First things first, regardless of who you end up going with as your lender, you need to apply for a mortgage. Most mortgage applications can be filled out online from your lender of choice, and some online services offer a "catch-all" mortgage application that can be submitted to multiple lenders saving you a lot of time. After all, most mortgage applications take 45 minutes or more to complete and submit!

    Once you've applied, your lender will likely give you pre-approval or pre-qualification for a certain amount of funds. In other words, based on what you provided in your mortgage application, the lender will give you a fair ballpark of how much they can lend you. From there, you can budget and shop within that price range.

  • Get Your Documents Ready
    As you're working through the mortgage application process, your lender will want to see quite a few financial documents to prove your financial standing. Your lender will want documentation proving your monthly or annual income, the total of all of your debt obligations, your credit score, how much you can use for a down payment, and what you can afford in a home. 

    Prepping these items early in the process will give both your lender and yourself a good picture of your financial standing and allow either one of you to make adjustments to financing as needed.

  • Clear Up Debts
    One thing that your lender will be looking for is your income to debt ratio. In other words, how much do your current liabilities weigh on your gross income?  If you're preparing to buy a home and you haven't started the mortgage process, or if you're just trying to prove your position as a worthy borrower, then pay off any small debts.
    Small debts such as credit cards, small amounts in collections, or car notes that you can clear up will improve your position as a borrower worthy of a mortgage. Additionally, clearing up any unnecessary debts will improve your credit score and give lenders more confidence in you.

  • Credit Score
    Your credit score will say a lot about you as a borrower. Credit scores effectively give lenders a numerical value of your creditworthiness and your overall risk as a borrower to them.

    A FICO score is usually the number that most lenders and credit companies use to compare a borrower's creditworthiness. FICO takes into account debts owed, how long they've been owed, and how frequently you make payments on those debts among other things. Getting rid of small debts or paying down loans will help improve your credit score.

Buy a Home in the Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Area

If buying a home is part of your plan for 2019, and you're looking to settle in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, then contact us today. Our agents at RE/MAX DFW Associates have an ear to the ground in the Dallas Fort Worth housing market and can help you find the home that's right for you.

December
14

Dallas – One of Top 10 Cities With Market Change

It's no secret that Dallas' home market has a winter chill.Home sales have slowed, along with the rate of home price increase in North Texas.The market changes have put Dallas on Realtor.com's list of the 10 cities hit hardest by a housing slowdown."In the last few months, the real estate market has actually begun slowing down. including in some of the big cities that have been leading the go-go post-recession housing boom," according to a report on the website. "To be clear, prices aren't always dropping in these places, which are predominantly located on the West Coast."Mostly, they're decelerating, coming back down to earth."

Realtor.com based its rankings on a year-over-year rise in home price markdowns, increases in listings and changes in overall list prices."There's a rebalancing that needs to happen," Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, told Realtor.com. "Prices have risen so high in some of these markets that it's very tough from an affordability perspective [for buyers]. ... It's not surprising to me that we're seeing a little bit of a leveling off."

Median home prices in North Texas are still up about 5 percent compared with 2017 levels. But that's a much smaller number than the double-digit annual gains seen in recent years. Home list prices in the Dallas area are down 1.4 percent from a year ago, and the number of listings has grown 15 percent year over year, according to Realtor.com

  • Dallas Morning News, December 11, 2018
December
13

Buyer Perceptions in this Changing Market

Buyer Perceptions in this Changing MarketThe declines in D-FW home sales and slower price appreciation are having a bigger impact on consumers' attitudes than their pocketbooks, analysts said.  "I am more concerned about the psychological impact of not-so-rosy housing news than I am about the actual underlying fundamentals of the housing market in the Dallas-Fort Worth market," said Daren Blomquist, top economist with Attom Data Solutions. "Certainly the data shows that the market has gotten somewhat overheated and is due for a slowdown, but that slowdown should just be a chance for the market to catch its breath rather than a trigger a panic attack.  "Jobs and people are still moving to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in large numbers, which ultimately should keep demand for housing solid," Blomquist said. "But the psychology of the market is more of a wild card and could result in a bigger slowdown or correction."

North Texas home sales would be higher if there were more moderately priced properties up for grabs, Paige Shipp of housing analyst Metrostudy Inc. said. "I believe the 1 percent decrease in sales this year is due to the lack of homes on the market below $200,000, not a lack of buyers," Shipp said. "D-FW has strong job and population growth, which equates to demand for homes.  "However, the increasing interest rates have exposed the fact that D-FW buyers cannot all afford homes priced above $400,000, she said.

  • Dallas Morning News, December 11, 2018
December
12

New Forecast: Dallas' Home Market Will Outperform U.S. in 2019 Even as Growth Slows

New Forecast: Dallas' Home Market Will Outperform U.S. in 2019 Even as Growth SlowsNot so fast with the gloomy forecasts for Dallas' housing economy. Yes, the local home market appears to be cooling after years of scorching hot sales. And some analysts have suggested there's a Dallas home price bubble getting ready to burst.  But a new forecast by Zillow says the market is likely to outperform the rest of the country in 2019 when it comes to home price gains and housing market health.

Zillow surveyed more than 100 real estate economists and investment experts for their take on the U.S. housing market and future home value growth.  According to Zillow's research, markets in Denver; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Dallas; Las Vegas; Phoenix; and San Jose, Calif., are likely to outperform the rest of America in 2019.  The economists on Zillow's panel said they expected U.S. home value to grow an average of 3.8 percent in 2019.

North Texas home prices are about 5 percent higher in 2018 after several years of double-digit annual appreciation. D-FW home prices were forecast to grow 4.3 percent next year in a recent Realtor.com report. Local analysts don't expect declines in home values in 2019. Instead, they say the rate of home price gains and overall home sales are likely to moderate.

  • Dallas Morning News, December 7, 2018
December
4

Five Favorite Holiday Markets in the DFW

DFW Holiday Markets
The Christmas season is upon us, which means that holiday shopping is in full swing. For people who are new to the area or are in town to see our real estate agents about buying a Dallas-Fort Worth area home, finding out where to go for the best shopping experience is essential. To give those new or potential residents a head start, here are five holiday shopping destinations in Dallas-Fort Worth:

  1. Texas Christkindl Market - The Plaza at Texas Live! 1650 E. Randol Mill Road, Arlington
    The Texas Christkindl Market is a traditional German holiday market. This family-friendly community market offers a unique shopping experience, featuring a great selection of handcrafted gifts and authentic German gifts and collectibles, among many other types of merchandise. For the 2018 season, it is open from November 23 to December 23 and runs seven days per week during that time. From Sunday through Thursday, shoppers can enjoy the market from 11 am to 9 pm On Fridays and Saturdays, the market an hour longer, until 10 pm. If you are in town to shop Arlington homes for sale, stopping by the the Texas Christkindl Market is a great way to get a feel for the local community.

  2. Holiday Local Night Market and Christmas Celebration - 47 Highland Park Village, Dallas
    If you are looking at homes in Highland Park, the Holiday Local Night Market and Christmas Celebration is a great holiday shopping destination in this area. This seasonal community market has a lot to offer during the holidays, with a special, one-night event that provides a great shopping experience, with special offers and sales, along with a lot of family-friendly entertainment, including live music, a Ferris wheel, face painting and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The 2018 holiday market and Christmas Celebration happens on Wednesday, December 12 from 5 pm to 9 pm.

  3. Farmers Branch Market Holiday Market - The Grove @ Mustang Crossing, 12700 Denton Road, Farmers Branch
    The Farmers Branch Market holds annual holiday markets, which are happening on December 1, 8 and 15 for the 2018 season, running from 4 pm to 8 pm The market features handmade and homemade items from more than 30 vendors, as well as lots of family-friendly entertainment and activities, and tasty treats available from a range of concession stands. If you'll be shopping Farmer's Branch homes this holiday season, this is a local holiday shopping destination you won't want to miss.

  4. 3rd Annual It's Christmas Market Expo - Will Rogers Memorial Center & Facilities, 3401 W Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth
    Will you be shopping Fort Worth homes for sale this holiday season? If so, the 3rd Annual It's Christmas Market Expo is a great holiday shopping destination. Held on December 22, 2018, this event offers a terrific venue for last minute holiday shopping, with thousands of unique gift items to choose from as well as drawings, prizes, and entertainment. It is open from 9 am to 4 pm

  5. Treats of Christmas - Northpark, 8687 North Central Expressway, Dallas
    If you will be in town to see Dallas homes for sale, the Treats of Christmas event is a holiday shopping destination that you should not miss. This holiday market happens on Saturday, December 22, 2018, and is presented by the Dallas branch of the Texas Chefs Association. Gourmet cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweets are offered for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Contact us at RE/MAX DFW Associates when you're shopping for real estate in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

November
27

5 Smart Reasons to Buy a Home at the Holidays

Buying a Home at the Holidays

The real estate market is booming in North Texas. You'll find Dallas homes for sale in a variety of neighborhoods to suit many potential homebuyers' needs. However, when is the best season to purchase a new home? Surprisingly, it's not always in the spring. The holiday season is an ideal time to buy a new house. While it may seem like another stressor with the holiday baking, shopping, and family commitments, our real estate agents have listed these five reasons for house hunting during the holiday season.

  1. Less Competition
    During the winter, there is around 25 percent fewer houses for homebuyers to consider; however, there are also fewer house hunters during the holiday season. Many take a month off to attend that holiday party, which means fewer open houses to walk through or less home-buying competition in a bidding war.

  2. Motivated and Desperate Sellers
    These sellers are likely motivated and more willing to negotiate to with serious buyers. Most sellers aren't any more enthusiastic to be selling their house during the holiday season than you are about house hunting during it. However, they've got a reason for it.

    Some homes listed in early fall are still not sold.  Therefore,  homeowners may be willing to negotiate to complete the sale year's end. Others may be relocating for a new job and need to sell quickly.

  3. Faster Closings
    Both parties are motivated to close on the house to complete everything before the holiday with a goal to move and unpack before Christmas. If the sellers are relocating, they'll have everything taken care of as well.   Nearly all professionals from the real estate agent to the mortgage broker want to report the home as closed before the end of the year.

  4. Tax Advantages
    Closing near the end of the year can also bring you more significant tax breaks. Recently, the House of Representatives passed a GOP bill that allows new homeowners to subtract the interest of their mortgage up to $500,000. Also, some states have a homeowner's tax exemption. Therefore, closing by the end of December can make a huge difference whether you receive those valuable tax savings.

  5. Envision the House in Winter
    Touring houses in the winter allows you to see both positive and negative issues.  While you can see the neighborhood trimmed in lights, you'll also notice how quickly the city plows so you know you won't be driving on a poorly maintained road.  Also, you can check that the heating system works correctly throughout the house or if the front door jams in freezing and icy conditions. These issues don't often appear on a warm spring day.

If you're interested in DFW real estate opportunities, contact us at RE/MAX DFW Associates today.

November
20

Why the Housing Market Is Slumping Despite a Booming Economy

Home prices are out of reach relative to incomes and mortgage rates. The big question for the economy is how the imbalance adjusts.

These should be happy times for the housing sector. The economy is booming, with more people working at higher pay, and with the sizable millennial generation reaching prime home buying age.  Instead, the housing market has gone soft, acting as a drag on the overall economy rather than as a force propelling it forward.

Sales of new single-family homes were down 22 percent in September from their recent high in November 2017, and existing home sales in September were down 10 percent. This tepid residential investment subtracted from G.D.P. growth in each of the first three quarters of 2018.

Home prices have not declined nationally, at least according to the most widely followed indexes. But their rate of increase has declined, and more and more home sellers are finding they must reduce asking prices to find a buyer.  Given how central housing is to the broader economy — it is the biggest driver of both wealth and indebtedness for most families, and its fluctuations have frequently been major factors in past booms and busts — this slump isn't something to be taken lightly for anyone hoping the good times will last.

So what's going on?

When you look closely at the data, it appears this paradox of a strong economy and a weak housing market is, at its core, an illustration of a fundamental rule in economics: If something can't go on forever, it won't.  Home prices in a given location are ultimately tethered to the incomes of the people who either live there or want to. But for much of the last six years, that relationship has come undone.  Nationally, personal income per capita has risen 25 percent since the end of 2011, while the S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index is up 48 percent (neither figure is adjusted for inflation).

The gap is even larger in the big coastal cities with high wages and booming job markets, but where legal and other barriers make it hard for builders to add to the supply of homes. In the San Francisco metro area, per capita personal income rose 40 percent from 2011 to 2017, while home prices rose 96 percent. Similar patterns are evident in Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New York and Washington.  In less high-flying markets, there was still a disconnect. In the Minneapolis area, for example, incomes rose 22 percent while home prices rose 46 percent.

Those rising home prices got help from years of very low mortgage rates, which put more expensive homes within reach for people at a given income level. Activity was also probably boosted by some bounce-back effect after the housing market crash of 2007-09, a result of pent-up demand for homes that were not bought while the market was collapsing.

Rates bottomed out in late 2012 at 3.31 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. They have been moving upward in fits and starts since, including a full percentage point in the last year alone to nearly 5 percent — still low by historical standards, but high compared with the ultralow levels that had enabled these huge price gains.

There's no doubt that demographics are favorable for housing demand. The peak birth year for millennials was 1990; it's a group that is turning 28 this year and thus entering prime years for home buying. As it happens, 28 is exactly the median response in a Bankrate survey that asked adults for the ideal age to buy a home.

But that doesn't matter if prices are out of reach relative to incomes. Moreover, lending standards have remained more rigorous than they were during the last housing boom, so it has been harder for people to stretch to buy a home. The inability of people to buy homes they can't really afford is great news in terms of avoiding another crisis, but not so great for the near-term outlook for housing.

"Buyers can only stomach so many price increases until it gets unsustainable," said Daryl Fairweather, the chief economist at the online brokerage Redfin. "Prices reached a breaking point where buyers were fed up and started to consider other options," she said, including renting and moving away from the expensive coastal markets where prices are most out of whack with incomes. 

As Economics 101 teaches, price movements are the way that supply and demand match up with each other. But in the housing sector especially, that adjustment can take a while.  In contrast with the stock market, where relatively unemotional traders are buying and selling shares every day and the market stays liquid, home purchase and sales decisions can take months and are deeply emotional for the participants.

What seems to be happening is that sellers are trying to cling to the spring 2018 prices that their neighbors received, while there aren't enough buyers in late 2018 willing or able to pay those prices.  In a Fannie Mae survey of home purchase sentiment, the proportion of people who think it is a good time to buy a home has decreased significantly since the spring, to a net 21 percent from 29 percent. But so has the proportion who think it is a good time to sell, which has dropped to 35 percent from 45 percent.

You would expect, in a zero-sum transaction like a home sale, for those numbers to move in opposite directions. Instead, it seems that sellers are unhappily realizing that they aren't going to get what they thought their house was worth six months ago, and buyers still think homes are too expensive.  That helps explain why transaction volume, especially for new houses, has fallen substantially while prices haven't (at least yet). It's a standoff. And the outcome of the standoff will, in the aggregate, play a role in shaping the future of the economy.

There is precedent for this, and it isn't a happy one. In the last housing boom, new home sales peaked in July 2005, and home prices didn't start declining until May 2006. It didn't start to hurt the overall economy until December 2007, when the damage had spread through an overleveraged global financial system.

But that doesn't mean this episode has to end in tears. Home prices are not nearly as out of line with incomes as they were then; speculative activity hasn't been nearly as frothy; and consumer debt levels are considerably more measured.   "I think income growth will help us get out of this period," said Robert Dietz, the chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders. "We're probably looking at a period where existing home sales volume is flat to declining, and it now looks like 2017 was the peak year for transaction volume."

A strong (nonhousing) economy makes it more likely that this housing slump will end without a steep 2008-style downturn. So does the basic reality that young adults are forming families and need a place to house them.

But in the meantime, it could be a soft few months or even years of standoffs between buyers and sellers, with the big question of which comes first: sellers who settle for less after recognizing that the price they thought they would get is beyond the reach of buyers, or incomes that catch up with a housing market that got a little ahead of itself.

 

  • Neil Irwin, New York Times, November 15, 2018
November
5

Dallas Area Home Prices Grew By Less Than 5%

Case Chart

Dallas-area home prices grew less than 5 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the latest nationwide comparison.  It was the first time in almost six years that Dallas-area home appreciation has been at such a low level in the closely-watched Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  "Following reports that home sales are flat to down, price gains are beginning to moderate," S&P's David M. Blitzer said in the report. "The seasonally adjusted monthly data show that 10 cities experienced declining prices.  Other housing data tell a similar story: prices and sales of new single family homes are weakening, housing starts are mixed and residential fixed investment is down in the last three quarters."

 

Home prices in North Texas have cooled in 2018 after years of double-digit percentage annual gains. Still, Dallas-area prices are about 45 percent higher than a decade ago, before the economic downturn and housing crash.  "There are no signs that the current weakness will become a repeat of the crisis," Blitzer said. "Without a collapse in housing finance like the one seen 12 years ago, a crash in home prices is unlikely." 

 

The slowdown in home price growth may be good news for potential buyers who have struggled to find homes they can afford.  "It's more welcome news for would-be homebuyers, who must be breathing a collective sigh of relief that home price growth finally has slowed," Skylar Olsen, Zillow's director of economic research, said in a statement. "Softening appreciation after the rapid growth of just a few months earlier is a sign that fierce competition is dying down.  Potential buyers who were intimidated during the heat of the market may find the breathing space now to make a calm, considered decision about whether to lock in a mortgage before rates rise further."

  • Dallas Morning News October 31, 2018

 

October
19

DFW Homes Sales Stumbled in 3rd Quarter

Texas Quarterly Report

Dallas Morning News, October 18, 2018

Dallas-Fort Worth was the only major Texas market that saw a decline in third quarter home sales. D-FW preowned homes sales fell 2.3 percent from third quarter 2017, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. Statewide sales were 4.4 percent higher than in the previous year. Among the big metro areas, the largest sales increase was in Houston were real estate agents sold 11.6 percent more houses than they did in third quarter 2017. 

"Our market remains extremely strong but is still slowly moving toward normalization," Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said in the report. "Median home prices and home sales are up, but the rate of increase statewide is beginning to slow compared to prior years."

Even with the year-over-year sales decline, D-FW had the largest number of preowned property sales in the state with 27,660 properties changing hands, according to the Realtors association. The Houston-area was second with 24,028 home sales. Median home sales prices rose 4.4 percent in the third quarter from the previous year to $235,000. In D-FW, prices were up 3.9 percent to a median of $265,034.

Residential appreciation in North Texas has slowed this year after median home values grew by more than 40 percent during the last five years. D-FW had the largest inventory increase of any of the major metros - up 14.5 percent from third quarter 2017. "At the current rate that home sales and active listings are increasing, we are trending towards another record-breaking year in Texas real estate," Kaki Lybbert, chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, said.

October
18

Dallas Expected to Have Only 2.7% Home Price Growth in 2019

The latest forecast from CoreLogic calls for only about 2.7 percent home price growth in D-FW in the next 12 months.  -	Dallas Morning News, October 15, 2018

The latest forecast from CoreLogic calls for only about 2.7 percent home price growth in D-FW in the next 12 months.
- Dallas Morning News, October 15, 2018

Don't look for Dallas-Fort Worth on the list of cities economists expect to have the biggest home price gains in the year ahead. Nationwide prices are expected to rise by less than 5 percent in the year ahead, according Veros, a risk management and valuation firm. "Our latest VeroForecast indicates that on average, for the top 100 most populated metro areas, we expect 4.5 percent appreciation over the next 12 months," Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling at Veros, said in the report. "We are forecasting that the overwhelming number of metros across the nation, approximately 97 percent, will appreciate, with just three percent depreciating during this period."

"The days of easy 10 percent price gains in one year are over," Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, told real estate agents. For sure that is so in Dallas-Fort Worth. Median sales prices in North Texas were up 9 percent last year, and rose 10 percent in 2016 and 2015 and were 11 percent higher in 2014. Through the first nine months of 2018, median sales prices of houses sold by local real estate agents are just 5 percent greater than the same period last year.

A forecast for the next 12 months sees 2.1 percent home price growth in the D-FW area, according to CoreLogic. That's much less than their U.S. 1-year price forecast rise of 4.7 percent. After several years of double-digit percentage home appreciation in North Texas, the latest price forecasts may seem dismal. But a slowdown in home price gains is just what the D-FW area needs at this point in the cycle. The best way to prevent another housing bubble is to let a little air out of the market before things get too overvalued.

 

September
15

Texas Home Sales Are Slowing as Prices Are Rising

Texas Home Sales Update

Texas has been one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country in the last few years. The state has led the nation in homebuilding and Texas' major metros - Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin - have had big increases in the number of preowned home sales. But the latest snapshot of the Lone Star State's hot housing market is a mixed bag. While statewide home sales rose almost 3 percent in the second quarter from 2017 levels, sales in the D-FW area slowed for the first time in years.  And sales barely rose in the Austin area, according to the latest data from the Texas Association of Realtors.

"The demand for housing remains at an all-time high, but statewide we're seeing a slower rate of increase in sales compared to previous quarters due to the lack of inventory of properties for sale," Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said. Rising prices and higher mortgage rates have also dampened buying in some neighborhoods. Even with the dip in sales, the D-FW led the state in second quarter home sales by real estate agents with 28,934 properties changing hands.

D-FW home sales were 0.8 percent lower than in second quarter 2017. Statewide median home sales prices rose by 4.4 percent in the period ending with June. D-FW had the biggest jump in the number of homes for sale in the second quarter of any major Texas metro area. The number of homes on the market in North Texas grew by 14 percent, according to the Realtors.

  • Dallas Morning News, September 13, 2018 (online)
June
20

Buyers Are Paying 19% More Than One Year Ago

Buyers Are Paying 19% More Than One Year Ago

Homebuyers are getting a double whammy. "Home prices are up and mortgage rates are up," said Frank Nothaft, chief economist with CoreLogic. Nationwide home prices are almost 7 percent higher than a year ago. And the average long-term mortgage cost has risen by seven tenths of a percentage point interest compared with this time in 2017, according to CoreLogic. "That translates into a 16 percent increase in the monthly principal and interest payments to buy the same house," Nothaft said. For the first-time homebuyer there is a 19 percent increase from one year ago. "Average wages around the country are up only 2.5 percent to 3 percent from a year ago. Each passing month as prices rise and mortgage rates rise, it's increasingly challenging for home buyers, especially entry-level homebuyers," he said. "The pinch it takes out of their monthly budget starts to affect more and more buyers across the country." Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the markets with record-high home costs. While overall median home prices in North Texas are up about 5 percent so far in 2018, prices for the most affordable houses — under $200,000 — are rising at almost twice that rate.  CoreLogic is forecasting further increases in home prices and interest rates in the year ahead.

  • Dallas Morning News, June 15, 2018
May
30

The Real Estate Slowdown is Real: Don't Panic as Buyers Bring Balance

by Seth Fowler

 

(This article appeared in Candy's Dirt.  It is specific to the Ft Worth side of the Metroplex, but the facts are the same for all of North Texas.)

 

Real Estate Slowdown

Some will agree, and some won't,  but data doesn't lie — we are heading into a real estate slowdown.

 

First of all…R-E-L-A-X.  No, we are not heading toward a recession.  No, the housing market isn't crumbling.  No, it's not time to sell your home, stock up on canned beans, ammo, and get off the grid.  But the real estate market is changing … dare we call it a slowdown?

How Can You Say It's a Slowdown?

How can I say this? We are in the midst of an historical real estate boom like we've never seen before and everything we hear and read says the market is hot, hotter, hottest!  Please hear me: the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is still by far the absolute best place in the world to live, work, play, and own real estate.  The daily, weekly, monthly growth that is happening to this part of the state is still out of this world.

But the market is experiencing a slowdown.  Interest rates are rising .  Municipalities are getting more and more greedy with property taxes.  Home values are increasing at a rapid pace.  New home construction is increasingly expensive and not meeting demand.  Wages aren't increasing as quickly as prices and that's causing a slowdown in the real estate market.

 

In Part One we will look at those factors and how they combine to cause this slowdown.  In Part Two next week, we will discuss whether or not an actual slowdown in the real estate market is a good thing, a precursor to doom-and-gloom (again, R-E-L-A-X), and what it means for buyers and sellers in this brave new world.

Just The Facts Ma'am

According to the Fort Worth Housing Report distributed by the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, the median sales price of homes is going up, up, and up.  Up 9.7 percent from February 2017 to 2018 at $214,000.  Up 9.3 percent from March 2017 to 2018 at $219,750.  Up 7.3 percent from April 2017 to 2018 at $220,000.  We see that the overall price continues to increase, but the percentage from year-to-year is falling a little bit.  Across the country home prices increased 8.7 percent over the past year according to a recent Zillow report.  Increases like this simply are not sustainable in the long run for a stable economy.  While sellers enjoy their large return on their investment, fewer and fewer buyers are able or willing to pay these steep increases.

Active Listings And Days on Market

From same reports active listings were up 3.4 percent from February 2017 to 2018 at 1,668 homes.  Up 6.4 percent from March 2017 to 2018 at 1,851. Up 17.1 percent from April 2017 to 2018 at 2,105.  The more listings the better right?  Well, yes and no is the answer.  Yes more listings on the market the better for buyers.  But that's only if they are good listings that are priced correctly.  Days on market has also increased.  Homes sat for one day longer in February 2018 than 2017 at 43 days.  Seven days longer in March 2018 than 2017 at 44 days.  Seven days longer in April 2018 than 2017 at 37 days.

No — not time to panic — but numbers don't lie.  Buyers are gaining some control.

Word on The Street

While considering this article over the past month or more, I have talked to many agents, lenders, and title company officers in the D/FW area and 100 percent of them have mentioned how it appears that the buyers are finally pushing back at the skyrocketing prices.  Sellers have been in control for a number of years when it comes to asking price.  Depending on the range, sellers have tended toward higher asking prices and buyers have very little recourse.  If a buyer wants a house then they'll meet asking price … or go higher.  As inventory increases (albeit slightly) we are seeing buyers be a little pickier and price conscious.  It's not as if buyers are offering 50 cents on the dollar, but more than ever in the past year we are seeing lower offers as homes sit longer on the market.  Of course there are variables like price range and location and condition of homes — I know that — so these stats might not apply for all homes universally.

In Summary

We have been living in the longest real estate boom in the history of ever.  It's not going away, it's just not booming like it was, and I contest that it will not boom like that again.  A slowdown is happening and will continue to happen.  While this might cause panic for some, it could also be just what our overall economy needs — balance.  Come back next week and see what else I have to say.  If you disagree with this article — or if you agree — hit me up, let me know, I'd love to hear YOUR perspective.

Well that's all from Tarrant County this week Dirty Readers.  Thanks for reading and following and sharing!  As always, if you have questions, comments or great ideas for a blog … hit me up!

Seth Fowler is a licensed Real Estate Sales Professional for Williams Trew Real Estate in Fort Worth, TX.  Statements and opinions are his and his alone.  Seth has been involved with the home sales and real estate industry in the Fort Worth area since 2004.  He and his family have lived in the area for over 15  years.  Seth also loves bowties!  You can reach Seth at: 817.980.6636 or seth.fowler@williamstrew.com.

 

May
3

Forget the Millennials: DFW Area Builders Are Betting on the Upsurge of the Over 55 Age Crowd

Forget about the millennials.  Homebuilders are betting that boomers will be among the biggest buyers of new houses in the next few years.  And North Texas residential communities are gearing up for the coming gray wave of residents with new neighborhoods aimed at the 55-plus crowd. These older buyers tend to have higher incomes and are more interested in a new house compared with young, first-time buyers.

One of Dallas-Fort Worth's biggest residential projects — the 2,000-acre Viridian development in Arlington — just announced plans for a 500-home neighborhood for older buyers. The first homes in the 141-acre Viridian Elements neighborhood will be ready later this year.  "There is a tsunami of seniors coming in and we didn't have the right product for them," said Robert Kembel, general manager of Viridian. "We are hoping to start selling these houses in the high $200,000s and low $300,000s.  "A lot of these older buyers want to downsize from larger and more expensive homes."  Viridian, which started in 2011, is home to more than 1,000 residents.  "We have a lot of families here and our amenities have been geared toward them," Kembel said.  Viridian's new 55-plus community will have a separate neighborhood center with demonstration kitchen, fitness center, pool and game tables and meeting facilities.  "I think this will be an absolute winner for us," Kembel said. "A lot of these older buyers will come from Arlington, Hurst, Euless and Bedford and don't want to leave the area."

When McKinney residents Erin and David Bush decided to downsize, they wound up in the Windsong Ranch development in Prosper, where they purchased from builder Grenadier Homes.  They went from a three- to a two-bedroom home in Grenadier's Villa townhome project. The 1,301-2,286-square-foot, single-story homes have sold to mostly 55-plus buyers.  "My husband and I are older and it was time for us to have something smaller," said Erin Bush. "We had already downsized once. We wanted to get into a nice community but we hadn't been able to find a one-story house."  Bush said they were the first buyers in the neighborhood.

Grenadier Homes co-founder Anthony Natale said his firm's Villa townhouses start at less than $300,000 and have been a big hit with older buyers.  "One of the reasons they are buying from us is their kids are living in neighborhoods nearby," Natale said. "We have grandparents moving from California or the Northeast and they want to live down here near their kids."  While previous generations of aging buyers often headed to separate seniors communities, Natale said his firm's 55-plus buyers don't want that.  "There are a larger number of people who want to be mixed in with younger people," he said. "A lot of these 55-and-older people don't consider themselves old and they don't want to be with people all the same age." 

Fewer boomer buyers want to relocate to a segregated seniors-only community in the far 'burbs, said Dallas housing analyst Ted Wilson of Residential Strategies.  'There has been a complete rethinking on how to approach these buyers," Wilson said. "It used to be golf courses and million of dollars for amenity centers. Now it's about being close to the grandkids and being part of a bigger community."

Active Adult Buyer Pool (Age 50-74)

With the aging U.S. population, the building industry is banking on thousands of 55-plus buyers in the next decade. The industry index of potential buyers from this demographic is at an all-time high, according to the National Association of Home Builders.  Boomers already make up about a third of U.S. homebuyers. And 38 percent of all homebuyers last year were 55 or older, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Wilson said a quarter of the D-FW area's population is 50 or older, and this pool of homebuyers will swell by 188,000 in the next five years.  "There are amazing stats on the growth of active adult buyers," he said. "That's why the builders are doing it."

One of Texas' largest residential project developers, Dallas-based Hillwood Communities, sold land last year for 600 homes, targeting 55-plus buyers in its Union Park community in Denton County.  Builder Del Webb will have the first phase of the project ready this year. Del Webb is a subsidiary of Pulte Group and is the largest builder of 55-plus housing in the country.  "Prices will range from high $200,000s to high $300,000s and I expect them to do well," Hillwood Communities CEO Fred Balda said. "Currently, in both our Harvest and Union Park projects (both in Denton County), we are experiencing a sales rate of approximately 20 percent to the empty-nester segment."

 

55+ Housing Market Index: Single-family

Nationwide housing industry demand from 55-plus buyers is at an all-time high.

(National Association of Home Builders)

- Dallas Morning News, March 19, 2018

 

 

March
5

6 Secrets for Getting Your D-FW Home Offer Accepted

DFW Home Offer Accepted
If you follow local real estate news, you already know that North Texas has been identified as one of the country's hottest real estate markets. Home prices are rising and sellers are expecting to sell their homes at their asking price or better. Whether you're considering Dallas homes or Fort Worth homes, you're negotiating in a seller's market. You must bid conscientiously or risk missing out on a home you love. 

Our REALTORS® understand it can be difficult for your offer to get a seller's attention, especially when they realize that the next buyer might be willing to pay more. When you're ready to begin your home search, we'll be here to help with "Six Secrets for Getting Your Offer Accepted."

  1. Get Pre-approved
    You may have heard this before, but it's worth repeating. For sellers and realtors to take you seriously, you must get pre-approved. No one wants to waste time on home tours and bidding wars with unqualified buyers.

    During the approval process, your mortgage company reviews your financial data and decides whether or not they would finance you and for how much. The letter they issue isn't a guarantee, but it tells the buyer that the mortgage company considers you financially ready to buy.

  2. Don't procrastinate
    When you're serious about buying a home, you must put a lock on any indecisive tendencies. You won't have forever to make up your mind about a home you love. You have to decide quickly and get your offer on the record. With so many buyers out there, you're destined to lose your dream home if you spend too much time mulling it over.

  3. Go big or stay put
    If you find the right home at the right price, don't try and lowball an offer. When home prices are rising, sellers know they can sell. They won't be tempted by a half-hearted offer. It's important to make a good offer the first time around or you might not get another chance. Maintain a little wiggle room to negotiate if you must, but don't nickel and dime the seller.

  4. Be a person
    Sometimes money isn't enough to win a bidding war. Sellers are human so they respond to humanness. They want to know who's buying their home, so let them know when you bid. Send a personal note. Identify yourself. Talk about sipping coffee on the porch while your children play in the backyard. Your bid will be coming from a real person.

  5. Pay cash if you can
    Cash is a wonderful option for sellers. Cash is simple. It speeds up the closing process and eliminates the mortgage company's complicated documents. When you make pay cash, the built-in benefits encourage a seller to accept a lower offer.

  6. Give the seller more than one option
    It's a known selling norm that people prefer to choose between something and something as opposed to choosing between something and nothing. Try making a two-part offer that forces the seller to think.

    - Bid a cash offer for one amount. (i.e. $200,000).
    - Supplement that with an offer that's higher (i.e. $220,000) because it requires financing.

    With two offers, the seller has options. They can accept the lower offer, take the cash, and avoid a lengthy mortgage approval process. Or they can take the bigger offer and wait.

The bidding process can be complicated, especially when there's a lot of buyer competition. Contact us when you're ready to begin your Texas home search.

January
26

8 Tips for Millennials Entering the Dallas Housing Market

Tips for Millennials Entering the Dallas Market
Purchasing your first home has long been a part of the American dream.  While some cities across the country are considered Millennial Magnets, according to a report by ABODO Apartments, Dallas ranks near the bottom of the list of major US cities for this new wave of home buyer.

Dallas, Texas has experienced a boom in its employment market because of huge economic opportunities.  Consequently, the increase in the job market has also caused an increase in demand for housing making it difficult for Millennials to afford Dallas homes for sale.

But despite these challenges, some continue to push forward with buying their first home in the DFW.  Our REALTORS® know the local market well and offer these eight tips when you're ready to buy a home in Dallas.

  1. Have Your Finances in Order
    With Millennials having higher student debt than previous generations, you will want to make sure that your finances are in order. Know your credit score and make sure to review your credit history and resolve any credit issues. A lower credit score and poor credit history will cost you with higher interest rates.

  2. Saving for a Down Payment
    The National Association of REALTORS® recommends saving approximately $34,000, which is 20 percent of a Dallas-area starter home priced at $168,300. If you are starting at zero savings, and can only afford to save $300 a month, it could take you up to 10 years to save that amount. There are low down payment programs available for first-time home buyers.

  3. Closing Costs
    In addition to a down payment, you will need to factor in closing costs that are included with most home purchases. Your REALTOR® can give you an estimation of how much these costs could be.

  4. Think of the Future
    When purchasing your first home, consider its future resale potential. Look for features that are appealing not just to you but will be appealing to potential buyers. This could be as simple as the house being on a quiet street or having a master suite on the main floor.

  5. Don't Go Overboard with Contingencies
    When you make an offer on a home, don't ask the seller to make minor repairs like replacing light bulbs or re-caulking the tubs. However, if there are obvious signs that major repairs are needed, like repairs to the roof, air conditioner or foundation, it's not unreasonable to ask for repairs. Your REALTOR® can create an amendment to your offer requesting these repairs be made.

  6. Make a Strong Offer
    In a seller's market, you need to make a strong offer for your purchase price to be taken seriously. Other buyers could be offering the asking price or higher. If you make a low offer, your offer may not initially be accepted.

  7. Don't Delay
    If you find a Dallas home that you really love and it's at the right price, don't delay in making your offer. The current market for real estate in Dallas is hot and taking time to "sleep on it" or ask your friends or family for their opinions could cause you to miss out.

  8. Choosing a REALTOR®
    It's a good idea to interview a few real estate agents before choosing one. It's important to ask about their familiarity with the Dallas area and its housing market. You should also get an idea of their negotiation style, the technology they have available to help you during your search and buying process and their track-record.

If you're getting ready to take your first steps to homeownership, there is no better time than now to start. Contact RE/MAX DFW Associates to speak with an experienced realtor that knows the Dallas market and understands the needs of first-time home buyers.

January
3

Is Home Buying Going to the Dogs?

More Millennials Consider Dogs in Their Home-Buying Decision

Home Buying Dogs

There are many people in the world who love dogs, but you can't always include landlords on that list. While a landlord may love their own dog, they're typically less enthusiastic about the four-legged friends of their tenants. Combine that with the fact that dog owners love giving their pets room to roam the outdoors, and you can see one of the hidden motivations that inspire many renters to purchase a house of their own. So in a way, home-buying really is going to the dogs, and that's not a bad thing!

Our REALTORS® have the details on this growing trend, along with other key reasons buyers choose to purchase a home for the first time. 

Motivations for Owning a Home

It's no surprise that house hunters consider their dog when shopping for Dallas homes for sale. In fact, a third of Americans from the Millennial generation has stated that a better space/yard for their dog was an important motivating factor in choosing to purchase a home for the first time. A great space for their four-legged friends is one of the motivators which influence young home buyers:

  • A Home with a Yard – Whether it provides space for your pet, a fun place for outdoor parties, or simply a beautiful view while you're eating dinner, owning a home with a yard comes with many perks. Many renters are motivated to buy in order to have an outdoor space of their own which they can customize to their heart's content. Want an outdoor barbecue area, a dog-run, or both? With a yard of your own, you can set up your outdoor space any way you please.

  • Tying the Knot – For many young homeowners, getting married was the moment when they decided to get serious about purchasing a home and saying goodbye to rental agreements. The idea of "settling down" means different things to different people, but there's no doubt that owning a home makes it easier to pursue long-term goals. With two people to save, budget, and shop, tying the knot can also make it easier to navigate the real estate market for the first time.

  • Starting a Family – While many newly married couples do choose to buy a home, there are also those who keep on renting... until they add a new member to the family. Having a child has always been a major motivator for owning a home, and for good reason. A home will often offer much more space than an apartment for a family, including outdoors. Owning a home also gives you the opportunity to get a head start on choosing a school district where your child can thrive.

  • Building Equity – For some young buyers, owning a home is one important step on the path to financial planning. A home allows you to build equity over time, maintain a great credit score, and invest in your future. Planning your purchase well – and considering the future of the neighborhood – can also allow you to recoup a great return on your investment if you ever do choose to sell. Starting young has many benefits, allowing you to get a head start on your financial future.

  • Room to Grow – Renting a property has its perks, but one of the main drawbacks is that it will never truly be yours. Owning a home is the opposite. Rather than seeking approval for every little thing, you can customize the home as you see fit. Whether you want to paint the walls or renovate the whole room, the choice is yours. Owning a home also provides you with plenty of room to grow, whether that means expanding the home or simply updating it until everything is just right. Home-buyers of all ages love the freedom that comes with owning the space that they call home.

Looking for the perfect DFW home for you, your family, and your favorite pets? We can help! Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Dallas, TX area.

September
27

Open House Etiquette for Dallas Home Buyers

Open House Dos & Don'ts
A Buyer's Guide to Open House Etiquette

An open house is a great opportunity to tour homes for sale in your community without having to schedule an appointment.

Hitting open houses on a given Sunday can also help you gauge available homes in a market and begin a relationship with a REALTOR® if you have not already found one. If you're new to "Open House Sundays," here are easy tips for making your search for Dallas homes more enjoyable and productive.

  1. It's okay to walk in.
    You don't need to ring the doorbell or knock, unless there is a sign posted instructing you to do so. Someone may be outside or at the door to greet you.

  2. Introduce yourself.
    The person hosting the open house may not be the agent who is selling the home, but an associate agent who is hoping to represent a buyer. If you don't have a REALTOR® representing you, let them know that you are still looking for a buyer's agent. Getting there early allows you to talk with the agent and determine if you want to work with that person.

  3. Sign in.
    You may be asked to sign in and provide contact information. This makes it easier for the seller's agent to follow up with you. Even if you don't like the house, it's still a good idea to leave your phone number or email address, as the agent could have other listings that may interest you. If you prefer not to sign in, make sure to introduce yourself and say hello so the agent can keep an eye on who's touring the home.

  4. Beat the crowd.
    Try to arrive as soon as the open house starts. (NOT before that time!) The agent will have time to show you around and give your personal attention.

  5. Don't show up last minute.
    Don't wait until the last minute to arrive. The REALTOR® has most likely been there all day and is ready to pack it up and head home. You want to take your time when looking at the house, so contact the seller's agent and arrange a personal showing if you're running late.

  6. Wear appropriate, comfortable clothing and shoes.
    You don't want to look under or overdressed, so choose something casual you'd wear every day. Nice jeans and a t-shirt or are fine for attending an open house. You're probably going to be doing a lot of walking, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

  7. It's okay to politely ask valid questions.
    Ask about the seller's motivation and if there are any offers. REALTORS® can also give you insight on the neighborhood and nearby schools. Be prepared to ask questions about plumbing, electrical systems, roof and other major components of the home. Please don't take an antagonistic tone or corner the agent with countless questions during a busy open house.

  8. Don't be nosy.
    Of course you want to check out closets and other storage space, but don't go through personal belongings. It's okay to a quick peek, but don't disturb any items that are stored in them.

  9. Don't criticize.
    Remember this is the seller's home. Don't criticize it during the tour. If there are multiple offers, you don't want the seller selecting another buyer because they heard you saying something negative about their home.

Our Dallas REALTORS® can guide you every step of the way during your search for a home. Contact RE/MAX DFW Associates today.

August
16

Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas

Mandalay Canal Walk Las Colinas
Visitors have called the Mandalay Canal Walk at Las Colinas a "hidden secret path." Those of us with homes in Irving know the walkway is easy to find. It follows the path of the man-made waterway as it joins Lake Carolyn. The Canal Walk is one of the unique features that help make the Las Colinas planned community a wonderful place to call home.

Our REALTORS® in Irving understand that the Canal Walk at Las Colinas is no secret. Still, we believe it's important to offer friendly reminders of just how beautiful and peaceful our community can be.

When you walk the canal
The Canal Walk gives you access to a beautiful ground level city view. You follow a patterned-brick path that syncs with the waterway's arcs and curves. You wander past gleaming office buildings, hotels, arched entryways, and architecture with a distinctive European flair.

Walking the path is a unique way to appreciate the Las Colinas fusion of futuristic growth and old world charm. Best of all, it's a great way to see the commercial district without traffic getting in the way.

More than just a walk
The path is tree-lined and peaceful, ideal for a solo morning walk, an afternoon lunch with coworkers, or a romantic evening stroll. Some restaurants, shops, hotels, and local entertainment venues border the walkway. Others are nearby or a doable walking distance.

As you walk, you'll also see towering buildings, floral accents, and secluded inlets with man-made waterfalls. The celebrated Mustangs of Colinas sculpture and museum are nearby as well.

Mandalay Canal Gondola RideAnd if you don't feel like walking
If a peaceful walk isn't enough to satisfy your need for motion, you'll find a few options along the way.

  • Stand Up Paddle
    If you can imagine yourself surfing and rowing at the same time, you might enjoy stand up paddling. As a Stand Up Paddle participant, you'll learn to "walk on water" using a boat/surf board style device. After you complete your introductory training you'll be able to paddle the canal instead of walking the path.

  • Gondola Cruises
    When you see a gondola cruising the Las Colinas canal, you'll feel you've been transported to Venice. Gondola Adventures will schedule your tour on a traditional or electric-powered gondola. You can ride a gondola simply for access to a unique view of Las Colinas or arrange a special occasion cruise. P.S. Be prepared to kiss your partner as you pass under a bridge.

  • DART Transportation
    If you want to see the canal but prefer not to walk, you can hop aboard a DART Area Personal Transit train. It's easy to make an APT connection from the Las Colinas Urban Center Station. It will speed you along the canal route if you decide not to walk.

    Station stops provide People Movers to transport you throughout the community. APT service is free.

Get to know your community
We believe it's important to know your community. Contact RE/MAX DFW Associates when you need information on buying or selling your Irving home or if you simply want information about the businesses, activities, and entertainment in your community.

March
27

How to Find the Right Dallas Neighborhood for You

Finding the Right Dallas Neighborhood to Buy a HomeDallas is a big city in every sense of the word, and one of the great things about buying a house here is that the city has a neighborhood to suit every taste. Narrowing down your list to find the right Dallas neighborhood for you is one of the most important steps in the preparation process that leads to finding a home that you will love long-term. Whether you love the arts, the outdoors, or simply want the best education possible for your children, there's a Dallas neighborhood with your name on it.

Dreaming of Dallas: How to Find a Neighborhood You'll Truly Love

The first step in finding the right neighborhood is doing your research, and if possible hands-on is preferable to learning from a distance. You can learn about school districts, employment opportunities, and economic indicators online, and then make in-person visits to the neighborhoods that pique your interest. Ahead, we'll provide examples of some of the types of neighborhoods you'll find around Dallas, along with more tips on finding the right match.

  • Trophy Club, TX – Master Planned Community – Homes in Trophy Club are designed with convenience and aesthetic appeal in mind, just like the community itself. Master Planned Communities like Trophy Club are popular around Dallas, and each community is designed from the ground up to make life as pleasant as possible for residents. Trophy Club is also home to a world-class golf course, and outdoor fun is typically a big part of life when you live in a Master Planned Community.

  • Prosper, TX – Dallas Suburb – The city of Dallas is surrounded by smaller suburbs that allow you to enjoy the charms of small-town living while still residing close to the big city. Suburbs like Prosper, TX tend to be laid back, but never boring. These communities often feature ample outdoor spaces, including parks, trails, gardens, and golf courses. Prosper homes are a perfect fit if you want the excitement of DFW but prefer buying a house in a place with a little less population density than you'll find in larger communities.

  • McKinney, TX – Suburban City/Superb School District – The suburban cities around Dallas are large enough to be their own cities, but close enough to be part of the DFW Metro Area. DFW suburban cities like McKinney, TX boast some of the best school districts in the entire country, and are very popular among families for that reason. McKinney homes often feature a very luxurious design touch, and hold their value well over time.

  • Out-of-Town Shoppers – If you currently live far away from the city, connecting with social media groups for Dallas neighborhoods will allow you to chat with locals about what life is like in each location before buying a house. Many Dallas neighborhoods also have their own dedicated websites, including the Bishop Arts District, Downtown Dallas, and the Dallas Arts District.

  • Ask Your Agent – Whether you're shopping from afar or exploring first-hand, your real estate agent should be a valuable resource throughout the process of shopping for Dallas homes. Ask questions, bounce around ideas, and keep in touch with your agent so you have a finger on the pulse of the local real estate market. Buying a home is a big decision, and you deserve the right real estate agent in your corner.

Need a hand narrowing down your neighborhood options in Dallas and throughout DFW? Contact RE/MAX DFW Associates to buy and sell homes in Dallas, TX, and for all the help you need to find the right Dallas neighborhood for you.

February
28

The Rookies Guide to Buying a Home in Dallas

Rookies Guide Buying a Home in Dallas
Are you a first-time homebuyer searching for the perfect spot in Dallas to call your own? Our city has seen a big influx of new residents in recent years and helping new homebuyers is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work at RE/MAX DFW Associates. The real estate market in Dallas is hot with homes of every variety and neighborhoods to suit every taste. So we've assembled our best tips for first-time homebuyers in Dallas to help you find a home you'll love with plenty left in your budget to explore all that this great city has to offer.  

Dreaming of Dallas: The Rookie's Guide to Buying a House in the City

  • Research Neighborhoods – Dallas is a big city in terms of both population size and area, so narrowing down the neighborhoods where you want to shop will help you focus your effort more efficiently. Hands-on research is the best way to learn before buying a house, and you're sure to have some fun in the process. If you currently live too far from Dallas to research in person, there are plenty of good resources online to help you learn about popular Dallas neighborhoods from afar.
  • Know Your Budget – Homes in Dallas come in all shapes and sizes, so it's wise to have a firm idea of how much you're prepared to spend before hitting the market. When you have a strong idea of your preferred neighborhoods, the type of home you want, and how much you have to spend, it's easier to identify a home that fits your needs. Just as importantly, it will help you avoid investing significant energy in homes that don't fully fit your needs.
  • Know Your Real Estate Agent – You may be buying a home for the first time, but your real estate agent has done this dance many times before. Choosing an agent who you trust and enjoy working with will make life much easier when buying a house. Our REALTORS® in Dallas love helping first-time buyers learn about the city, study the market, and land the right home for their needs.
  • Hiring a Home Inspector – No matter which home in the city catches your eye, it's a good idea to have a thorough home inspection before getting serious about making a purchase. Look for an inspector with good attention to detail, and a willingness to answer your questions throughout the process. An inspection may reveal major issues that make you think twice about making an offer, while repairs for minor issues that pop up during inspection can be negotiated as part of the purchase of the home.
  • Connect with TDHCA – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) is an organization that exists to help first-time homebuyers throughout the state, including in Dallas. The organization provides free educational resources geared toward first-time buyers, along with special loan programs.
  • Check the Suburbs – Dallas is surrounded by smaller cities and suburbs that each have something unique to offer, so it's also worth looking beyond the borders of the city to see if anything catches your eye. Some of the best school districts in Texas are located in Dallas suburbs, making those communities very popular among families.

Looking for more help navigating the Dallas real estate market for the first time? Our experienced team at RE/MAX DFW Associates is here for you. Contact us to learn everything you need to buy your first home in Dallas.

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