Plano Program Helps Homeowners Renovate

The city of Plano rolled out its new housing reinvestment program in April in an attempt to spruce up some of the cities aging neighborhoods.


So far 49 projects have been approved, 25 of which are completed. The city has given out $98,446 in rebates, with $101,745 set aside for the 24 projects still under construction. The program is open to any home built that is at least 35 years old and has an appraised total value that is less than or equal to 70 percent of the Federal Housing Authority’s single-family mortgage limit for Collin County for the current year. Renovation or repair work must cost at least 10 percent of the overall value of the house.

Homeowners who wish to participate in the rebate program must get approval before any work is done. The city works to make sure homeowners know whether they’re approved no later than nine days after submitting an application, which is reviewed by city staff.

Plano’s rebate program is one of several throughout the Dallas area.

Richardson began a similar program in 2007. Farmers Branch has its own demolition-and-rebuild program.

Plano’s rebate program differs from Richardson and other area programs because homeowners don’t have to wait for an appraisal to show their house increased in value to get a rebate; they get a rebate within 30 days.

And unlike Farmers Branch or Richardson, Plano’s rebate program does not support tearing down houses. A separate HUD program for tearing down and rebuilding old homes is available for low-income residents who qualify.

The program should not only improve the look of properties, but could also result in an increase in property values, said Christina Day, planning director.

“We are really looking to improve the neighborhood’s health overall, so exterior improvements will be prioritized in order to make the neighborhood change more significant,” Day said.

The change in the program to prioritize exterior rebates was met with unanimous approval by the council, with Mayor Harry LaRosiliere saying improving the curb appeal of properties is one of his priorities.

“Putting the emphasis on the exterior is important,” he said. “One of the [real estate agents] said that, ‘Once we get them in the home, they will be inclined to want to buy. The problem sometimes is that they keep driving because they don’t like the exterior or how it looks.’ We want to be able to make it appealing for them to step inside.”


Source: Dallas Morning News, Star Local Media


Dallas Sees a Rise in Condo and Townhome Sales

0308terrellowenscondoSurprisingly, the fastest-growing segment of the Texas’ housing market was condominium and townhome sales, showing double-digit growth in the state’s four major markets.

In Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, the markets saw an average of 10.5 percent growth of condo and townhome sales year-over-year between January and May, according to a report conducted for the Texas Association of Realtors through The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Through this year, Dallas has recorded the sale of 2,383 condos and townhomes through May, which is up 4 percent year-over-year,. That is the lowest growth of a major market in Texas. San Antonio saw the highest increase of 18 percent year-over-year through the mid-year.

“I was a little surprised at the numbers and how strongly condo sales came back,” Mary Pat Coco, a Realtor with Ebby Halliday Realtors, told the Dallas Business Journal.” There seems to have been a break from the construction of new condos and baby boomers see this as a great option as they downsize with little to no maintenance.”

Coco has bought and sold condos and townhomes, as well as other single-family homes, in Dallas for the past 14 years.

The median condo price in Dallas was $165,000 through May, which is an increase of 4 percent year-over-year, according to the report. The average price per square foot is $136.

The average condo sits on the market in Dallas for 62 days.

As Dallas’ condo market improves, a number of developers — from Harwood International to Realty Capital Management — have plans to build condo towers throughout Dallas-Fort Worth. The West Plano market has also been targeted for condo development.

Source: Dallas Business Journal

CoreLogic: Dallas-area home prices up 10.4 percent in April

imgresDallas-area home prices are up by 10.4 percent in the latest residential value report by CoreLogic Inc.The Dallas increase compared median home prices in April with April 2013 data.

Dallas was among eight major U.S. cities that CoreLogic reports had double-digit percentage price gains.

The biggest increase was in Riverside, Calif where prices rose 19.7 percent from a year ago.

Nationwide prices were up 10.5 percent in April, according to CoreLogic.

Home prices are continuing to rise as we head into the summer months,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The purchase market continues to suffer from a dearth of inventory which we expect will continue to drive prices up over the year.”

Source: Dallas Morning News

Dallas homebuilders won’t build for less than $250,000

urlDallas is losing its competitive edge against the rest of the nation as more builders refuse to build houses that will be sold for less than a quarter of a million dollars.

In fact, Dallas is noticeably absent from Freddie Mac’s list of top Texas housing markets.

“For years, one of Dallas’ competitive advantages, specifically, was that it could build houses in that average price bracket,” said Jim Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, who is in regular contact with local homebuilders.

But this is no longer the case. “The market is being dominated by the upper end priced homes, which means affordability is an issue,” Gaines said.

Gaines said homebuilders told him a year ago they had a cancellation rate of 40% since borrowers would sign a contract and then proceed to buy a bunch of other stuff, ruining their debt-to-income ratio before closing the loan.

If they wanted to, builders could build thousands of affordable houses in the market, but they are not confident they could sell them.

However, the revelation is, so far, having a minimal impact on DFW’s overall housing market.

“All of the markets are doing very well, and in our research over the years, we have found the DFW metropolis tends to mirror the national economy more than any other place in Texas,” he explained.

HousingWire published an article on Tuesday noting that not all markets are struggling to survive, with luxury home sales skyrocketing and on pace to beat last year’s numbers.

Source: MetroTex

Uptown apartment tower breaks ground

uplazaExciting construction started on Tuesday for the next high-rise apartment tower in the booming Uptown district. The 23-story project is being built by StreetLights Residential on Maple Avenue just south of McKinney Avenue. The has been parking lot location will soon become a tower featuring 212 units. Units will be ready as soon as late next year.

“The project’s proximity to both Uptown and downtown Dallas provides an ideal location,” StreetLights CEO Doug Chesnut said. “We’ve tried to design a building that will fit into the existing neighborhood.”

StreetLights is also building a new rental community near Dallas North Tollway in Frisco.

With the start of StreetLights’ latest building, there are now four rental residential towers under construction in the area just north of downtown Dallas. All together these projects include about 1,200 apartments. And another couple of high-rise rental developments are in the works in Uptown.

StreetLights Residential is planning to start another apartment tower next year on Akard Street near Cedar Springs Road in the Akard Place development.

“I would love to do more, but we are just about out of land in Uptown,” he said. “Our city is high on Uptown and the high-end jobs that are coming and the retail and apartments.”

Source: The Dallas Morning News

Want to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster?

add to principalPaying off the mortgage on your Dallas home faster not only means that you’ll be able to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with completely owning your property earlier, but you may also save thousands of dollars in interest payments.

Below are seven clever tips to help you get your mortgage payments on the fast track.

1. Save for a large down payment

Pay as large a down payment as you can reasonably afford. The more you can put down, then the less you’ll have to borrow from the bank.

2. Read the fine print

When you are choosing a mortgage, look at the fine print to find out if any restrictions apply to paying early. Some lenders will charge you for making extra or early payments.

3. Prepay early in the life of the mortgage

This is when the loan is the most interest-heavy. In the first five to seven years you are likely paying mostly interest. Request an amortization schedule of your mortgage to get a clear picture of how this works.

4. Be smart with unforeseen fortune

If you get an unexpected chunk of cash, such as a gift, prize, work bonus, inheritance, tax refund or other windfall, consider applying it straight to paying down the principal on your mortgage.

5. Double-check your records

When you make extra payments, ensure that they are processed correctly. Sometimes when the lender receives a payment that is outside of the monthly cycle, they may not know what to do with it. Make a special note and keep track of the payments yourself, so you can make sure they’ve been applied to your principal.

6. Increase your payment

Even increasing your payment by a small amount every month may take years off the length of your mortgage. Consider how much you can afford to pay every month rather than just the minimum payment amount.

7. Think about a bi-weekly payment

You might want to switch to an accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payment rather than a monthly payment. This typically applies an extra payment each year.

These are just a few techniques you can use to pay off your mortgage faster.

Remember, the quicker you pay off your mortgage, the less interest you will be paying.

Home Prices in Dallas are Hitting Record Highs as Foreclose Rates Decline

Home Sales Dip 2.7 Percent In August After Four Months Of GainsThere were two positive reports on the Dallas real estate market released Tuesday.

Dallas’ home prices have hit a new index high of 134.51 on the S&P/Case-ShillerHome Price Indices report with a 10 percent increase in prices year-over-year. And, the foreclosure rates in the region continue to decline, accorindg to Corelogic.

“We hit a record high again and that’s not surprising given the tight supply of listing inventory and a strong demand for homes,” said Ted Wilson, principal of Dallas-based Residential Strategies, which tracks North Texas’ housing market, in reference to Tuesday’s releases.

“The market’s already been pretty tight and it’s been a seller’s market with very little inventory,” Wilson told the Dallas Business Journal.”You still hear stories of people paying above asking price and houses moving within 48 hours.”

Along with the tight housing market, the cost of new homes is going up as prices soar for building materials and builders grapple with the shortage of subcontractors in Dallas-Fort Worth, he told me.

Nationally, the 20-city composite gained nine-tenths of a percentage point month-to-month in March, with New York being the only city to show a decline in home prices. The composite showed a year-over-year increase of 12.4 percent in March.

Dallas, along with Denver, were the only two markets in the United States that reached new index peaks, according to Case-Shiller research. The two markets set new post-crisis highs, but experienced relatively lower peak levels than other cities in the nation, saidDavid Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“The year-over-year changes suggest that prices are rising more slowly,” he said, in a written statement.

As home prices rise in North Texas, the Dallas area also saw its foreclosure rate decrease year-over-year in March by half of a percentage point, according to data by CoreLogic, which has operations in Westlake.

Dallas’ foreclosure rate of 0.76 percent is lower than the national foreclosure rate of 1.86 percent, according to the data.

Source: Dallas Business Journal

Dallas Home Sellers are Getting 99% of Asking Price

GA-Exteriors-Sign-23With Dallas-area homes in such short supply, it’s no surprise that sellers are getting top dollar for their properties. During April, sellers of Dallas preowned houses got almost 99 percent of their asking prices, according to a new report by ZipRealty Inc.

Are you looking to sell your home for top dollar? If so, let us help you in your real estate journey!

Source: Dallas Morning News 

What will Dallas do with a million new residents?

Museum-Tower-Dallas-Highrise-CondoSeems pretty impossible, but almost a million new residents are expected in DFW by 2020. As more people move into our great city, how will we keep up with the high housing demand that is sure to ensue?

High Rises. That is the answer that many are debating. The investment in high rises would make Dallas a much denser city with a more walkable feel. Could Dallas become the next big walkable city in the United States?

We sure are well on our way there. Get ready to see a total transformation of our city into a completely new Dallas in the future.

Source: Dallas Morning News