North Texas is hanging onto its top spot for U.S. home construction. Annual home starts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area totaled 33,601 units - putting the D-FW area well ahead of second place Houston, according to data from Metrostudy Inc. Metrostudy's figures show that D-FW home starts were up almost 12 percent in the first quarter. "Yes, we're still number one," Metrostudy's regional director Paige Shipp said. "And, I believe we will remain so for the foreseeable future. "Now that D-FW developers and builders are delivering affordable lots and land, the momentum will continue," Shipp said. "By the way, affordable is what I call our 'new affordable' - $200,000 - $300,000." Median new home prices in North Texas have jumped buy about 40 percent in the last five years. In 2017, North Texas builders started more than 33,000 houses - the strongest production total in a decade.
The median value of a US home rose 8% to $213,146 while inventory shrunk by 9%
The U.S. housing market narrowed by 9 percent over the past 12 months, with the majority of available inventory out of reach for all but the highest earners, according to a new Zillow report.
With inventory in decline since 2015, home hunting this summer is expected to be among the most competitive seasons on record, with only about 22 percent of the available stock of 1,224,336 homes priced for first-time homebuyers, according to Zillow's March Report.
Home values nationwide have risen 8 percent year-over-year since March 2017, to a median of $213,146, with more than 51 percent of all available homes now priced on the high end, according to Zillow, which defines that category as home prices hovering around $375,000.
"This year's home-shopping season is shaping up to be even crazier than last, and sadly, the group that will have the hardest time is first-time and lower-income homebuyers," said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell on Thursday. "These buyers will be competing for the few entry-level homes on the market, which are also the ones appreciating the fastest because of extremely high demand."
Although cities such as Washington and the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area did experience an inventory spurt, the overall national trends show that those who want to buy an affordable home are in for a challenge. "There are some signals a shift may be coming — construction activity is at its highest point in a decade — but buyers shouldn't hold their breath," said Gudell.
A new Frisco residential development that's planning more than 3,000 homes and apartments will open its first phase this summer. The 735-acre Grove community, on Main Street west of Custer Road, is being built in partnership with Newland Communities and North America Sekisui House LLC, a Japanese builder. The companies bought the land in 2016. Home will be priced from the $400,000s to the $700,000s. American Legend Homes, Drees Custom Homes, Highland Homes and Southgate Homes are building in The Grove. The community also includes a farmhouse with a café and bakery, a fitness center, pools, 4.5 miles of nature and neighborhood trails, and a dog park. The Grove property is planned to have 1,800 homes and 1,400 apartments, plus retail and office space. Newland is based in San Diego and has more than 140 developments in 13 states completed or under construction. The company has developed portions of the Stonebridge Ranch community in McKinney since 2003.
Dallas-area home prices rose at the slowest rate in six years in the latest nationwide housing market comparison. Dallas home prices were 6.4 percent higher than in February 2017 in the monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The Dallas-area gain was just barely ahead of the nationwide average price increase of 6.3 percent in February from a year earlier. Dallas-area home price gains have been moderating since last year. Higher mortgage rates and a larger supply of houses on the market have slowed the appreciation rate in some North Texas neighborhoods. Still, North Texas' median home price is at a record high of about $260,000. Increasing employment supports rising home prices both nationally and locally," Blitzer said. Dallas-area home prices are more than 60 percent higher than they were during the worst of the recession in 2009. And Dallas prices are almost 45 percent ahead of where they were at the peak of the last housing market in 2007, according to Case-Shiller.
Dallas-Fort Worth homes was one of the fastest-selling home markets in the country last year. And the pace of local home buying is expected to remain rapid this year, according to analysts with Zillow. With an average home sales time of just 55 days, North Texas ranked sixth nationally in 2017 among markets with the shortest selling time. Nationwide it took on average more than 80 days to sell a house in 2017. "As demand has outpaced supply in the housing market over the past three years, buying a home has become an exercise in speed and agility," Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas said in the report. "This is shaping up to be another competitive home shopping season for buyers, who may have to linger on the market until they find the right home but then sprint across the finish line once they do." While the nationwide inventory of homes for sale has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 37 consecutive months, Zillow said that D-FW home listings are 15 percent higher than a year ago. The typical U.S. buyer spends more than four months searching for a property and makes at least two offers before buying. Last year, 40 percent of homes sold in the D-FW area fetched more than their listing prices, according to Zillow. Nationwide, just 25 percent of houses went for higher than the original asking price.
More than half of Dallas-area neighborhoods saw a decline in home purchases in early 2018 after years of rising sales. The largest decreases in sales came in high-priced neighborhoods in Colleyville (-30 percent), the Park Cities (-28 percent), Fairview (-26 percent) and Northeast Dallas including Lake Highlands (-20 percent). Median sales prices were $400,000 and more in each of these neighborhoods that saw the most significant first-quarter declines, according to data from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University and the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. "We are definitely seeing a slowdown in appreciation at the higher end," said housing analyst Paige Shipp with Metrostudy Inc. "We are seeing more demand at the lower price points. She said more than 60 percent of the preowned homes sold in the area were priced below $300,000. Sales of the most expensive million-dollar-plus homes were down by 5 percent in the first three months of 2018. Purchases of houses priced between $190,000 and $300,000 were up from 15 percent to 18 percent in the first quarter.
The political geography of Texas is byzantine, born from an idea that's been embraced since the state's creation: local control. Texans LOVE local control, and the progeny of that love is a glut of local governments. Texas has more counties than any other state in the nation: 254, nearly 100 more than the next state, Georgia. It has the most incorporated cities: 1,216. And it's neck and neck with California for the most independent school districts, with Texas narrowly in the lead at 1,023 ISDs (more than 1,200 when adding in charter school operators).
Let's take a look at the confusing boundaries of Dallas and its norther suburbs in relation to school district boundaries:
Given Texas' governmental complexity, sheer size and rich history, it's not surprising that school district, city and county boundaries often don't match up. How things got so complicated is all about the history of independent school districts in Texas.
First things first: Denton County was created in 1846, carved from Fannin County as part of a massive redrawing of county lines by the state's first legislature. The number of county jurisdictions in Texas leapt from 36 in 1845, when the state was admitted into the United States, to 66 by the end of 1846. Denton, Collin and Dallas counties were part of this expansion.
Today's map of school districts — which looks like interlocking puzzle pieces covering the entire state — is a relatively modern invention. In the state's early years, schools were hyperlocal, spread across the map like stars scattered in the night sky. They were created and funded by local communities without much regard to the next school around the bend.
When the state's Reconstruction government tried to apply order to the system following the Civil War, installing a highly centralized system with a state superintendent and 35 judicial districts — and compulsory attendance and a 1-cent tax for building schools — Texans revolted. Frederick Eby, one of the state's most renowned educational historians, wrote the following passage about the changes in 1954: "This radical system of education practicing the philosophy of stateism was the ultimate of tyranny. Furthermore it proved outrageously extravagant. In four years it heaped up a debt of over a million dollars, which was ruinous to a state so recently impoverished by war. Galling as the system was, physical violence was fortunately averted. In 1873 the Democratic party came back into power in the Texas Legislature."
The idea of "independent" school districts came about in 1875, when the state legislature authorized incorporated cities to assume control of the schools within their limits, build schoolhouses and levy local taxes for schools. Rural schools, in "common" school districts, weren't granted a similar taxing authority until much later, and their quality suffered until major reforms in the 1940s and 1950s.
According to Gene Preuss, an associate professor of history at University of Houston-Downtown, the School Law of 1884 — in addition to establishing a state board of education consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State and Comptroller — required commissioners courts in each county to establish school districts "as convenient as possible to the scholastic population. But a community of 20 or more families could establish a school district." At the meeting of the Texas State Teachers' Association in 1903, State Superintendent Arthur Lefevre said: "The idea that each little school and its teacher should have its separate district and separate board of trustees is the most disorganizing mistake in which our public school system has been involved."
By 1921-22, Texas had a whopping 7,369 common school districts — two-thirds of them one-room schools — in addition to 858 independent school districts found in the state's cities and towns. When the state produced a report on the adequacy of the Texas school system in 1939, Denton County had six independent districts — Denton, Krum, Lewisville, Pilot Point, Ponder and Sanger — as well as 59 common white schools and 19 common "colored" schools. Two of those schools were in Hebron Common School District, which separately served white and black students in the southeast corner of Denton County.
Prompted by reform movements, the number of common school districts began to plummet. Hebron Common School District fought off annexation by Carrollton ISD in 1949, but the school's territory was eventually absorbed by Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (Farmers Branch merged in 1954) and Lewisville ISD, which operates Hebron High School — in Carrollton's city limits — today.
Seeing the population boom headed its way, Dallas' northern neighbors — including Carrollton, Addison, Richardson, Lewisville and Plano — started to aggressively annex and consolidate farmland and smaller communities during the 1950s and 1960s. But as towns aggressively annexed farm land and small communities, such as the city of Dallas annexation of the town of Renner in 1977 (encompassing today's city of Dallas that lies within Collin and Denton counties), school district boundaries had already been established and approved the state of Texas many years prior.
It is estimated that last year another dozen Japanese companies settled in the Dallas-Ft Worth area, bringing the current company count to 164. Dallas, Irving, Richardson and Plano top the list of North Texas cities with the most Japan-based companies. Here are the North Texas cities that host the largest number of Japanese companies:
Japanese companies choose North Texas for many of the same reasons that other companies do. A strong workforce. A central location, giving executives a three-hour plane trip to either U.S. coast. Plenty of land on which to build and a variety of buildings to lease. Relatively affordable housing. A reasonable regulatory environment. Low taxes.
Also critically important is what Stich called "Japanese infrastructure." That includes a wide range, including a K-12 school in Carrollton that daughters and sons of Japanese ex-patriots attend on Saturday to keep up with their Japanese language, history and other lessons not taught in their regular Monday through Friday classes.
Here are 23 notable Japan-based companies in North Texas:
Californians may still love the beautiful weather and beaches, but more and more they are fed up with the high housing costs and taxes and deciding to flee to lower-cost states such as Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of research and consulting firm Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, said housing is the chief reason people are leaving California, pointing out there are frequently bidding wars for what limited inventory of homes is available. A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll of Californians last fall found that the high cost of living, including housing, was the most important issue facing the state. It also found more than half of Californians wanted to repeal the state's new gas tax, which raised fees by 40 percent. "The rate at which California has been losing people to other states has accelerated in the past couple of years, in part because of rising housing costs," said Jed Kolko, chief economist with employment website Indeed.com.
He said the latest Census Bureau data, from July 2016 to July 2017, show "more people moved out of California to other states than moved in from other states. In other words, California lost people due to domestic migration." During that 12-month period, California saw a net loss of just over 138,000 people, while Texas had a net increase of more than 79,000 people. Arizona gained more than 63,000 residents, and Nevada gained more than 38,000.
New office campuses by Toyota, shown above, FedEx Office, JPMorgan Chase, Liberty Mutual Insurance
and others have brought thousands of jobs to the Legacy business park and surrounding areas.
135,000 workers – Legacy 121/DNT Area by 2021
141,000 workers – Downtown Dallas by 2021
Plano's booming Legacy business park during the next few years will grow to have almost as many workers as downtown Dallas. That's what a new forecast by commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle predicts for the business district that is now home to huge employers including Toyota Motor Corp., JPMorgan Chase, FedEx Office and Liberty Mutual Insurance. The numbers include employers in the area and south Frisco. "Overall, we estimate that greater Legacy's job base has increased by 15,000 since 2015," JLL managing director Jack Crews said in a new report about the Legacy area. "This includes real move-ins to Toyota and JPMorgan, as well as companies taking smaller footprints like Fannie Mae, FedEx, Capital One and NTT Data. "We estimate that the daytime workforce is up to around 100,000 today," he said. "Looking out over the next few years, Legacy will continue to intensify as a business hub." JLL predicts that the Legacy area employment base will grow to nearly 135,000 by the end of 2021. Along with newcomers to the area, the job totals include workers for longtime West Plano employers including Frito-Lay, Bank of America, USAA and others.