Monthly Archives: October 2012

Real Estate Market in some Dallas Neighborhoods Affected by the Low Supply of Available Homes for Sale This Year

The real estate market in the US is hugely affected by economic issues as well as the stricter standards in acquiring home loans today. However, in most Dallas neighborhoods, the main reason for the poor real estate market is the scarcity of homes available for sale on the market.

In North Texas for example, there has been a decrease of about forty percent in the list of available pre-owned homes for sale for the last 2-year period. Various real estate listing services have shown that in many Dallas areas, this has been the lowest supply of available homes for sale in the last decade.

Records of the Real Estate Center at the Texas A&M University reveal that there has been an increase of about fifteen percent in real estate home sales across North Texas during the first 9 months of 2012 and overall the supply could not keep up with the increased demands especially in areas where the inventory of available homes for sale is already so low. With the lack of supply to meet the demands, the prices have gone up.

In the real estate market, what is considered as normal & balanced is a 6 month listing or inventory of pre-owned real estate homes, but currently most of the Dallas areas are not able to meet this standard. For example, by the month of September this year, Realtors only had an available supply equivalent to 4.5 months. You may think this is already so low but in fact, other areas have even lower supply.

Grapevine for example only has about 2.4 month supply of available homes for sale. Allen only has 2.3 months of inventory while Frisco has about 2.8 months’ supply.

The chief executive of Metro Texas Association of Realtors revealed that a lot of buyers are surprised of the major change in the real estate market in Dallas as compared to the previous year. He added that many of them were surprised that there aren’t many choices to choose from and that sellers are not willing to lower down or negotiate prices as expected.

Real estate agent Mary Poss said that in a normal real estate market, buyers should have plenty of choices to choose from but currently, there aren’t many choices available.

Despite the current situation in the real estate market in Dallas, local real estate agents are positive and hopeful that this will only be temporary and by early next year, they will be able to see an increase in the inventory of available houses and then the real estate market in Dallas will return to normal.

Mondrian Cityplace in Dallas Texas is now owned by MEPT

The final announcement of the purchase of the final announcement of the purchase of he Mondrian Cityplace from the USAA Real Estate Company by Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) has been recently made along with the help of the real estate advisor of MEPT, Bentall Kennedy. Mondrian City is an apartment in Dallas, which has a total of 218 units. It is also highly occupied with about ninety eight percent occupancy rate.

MEPT, a real estate equity fund purchased this 20 floor apartment for two main reasons; to increase its allocation in the apartment industry and to also increase its investment in the Southern part of USA.

According to the Executive Vice President & Portfolio Manager of MEPT at Bentall Kennedy David Antonelli, the apartment is indeed a good asset and a wise property acquisition for MEPT for the reason that it is a high quality and stable apartment with a good location. It is situated in the Uptown area of Dallas, one of the markets in the US that has the strongest and most flourishing rental industry.

Mondrian Cityplace is considered as a “Class A” real estate property. It is known for its highly contemporary design and architecture and is loved by many for its wide range of amenities fit for the needs of the type of demographic in Uptown Dallas. The apartment has about 16 bars and restaurants as well as a movie house and many boutique shops. It has a 24/7 fitness gym facility for those who love to exercise and keep themselves fit. Other amenities found in the area are business centers, a swimming pool, internet cafes, and a garden where residents can enjoy a barbecue party or a fireplace setup in the evening. Furthermore, it has a 24/7concierge service to cater to the needs of its dwellers. What more could you ask for? You’ll definitely never run out of fun activities to do on your spare time at Mondrian Cityplace. This is one of the reasons why this apartment has a high occupancy rate.

The other main factor Uptown is an ideal location for professionals, businessmen and young adults is its proximity to the largest employment centers in Dallas. Anyone would want to live in an environment that allows people to live, work and play without having to go so far and this is why apartment spaces at Mondrian Cityplace are quickly selling.

Mondrian Cityplace also offers quick access to transportation services, which stop on the street just across where the property is.

WHEN COMPARING HOME CHOICES

Invariably, the home hunters in the real estate market will have to narrow down their choices, perhaps covering a pair of short-listed residences. For couples and more so for a large family, there could be protracted debates on which is the best option. Even just between two persons, there could be varying needs and preferences, which to a great extent dictate the residential choice to be made. A much-prolonged discussion, however, on the pros and cons of home choices may be ill advised at present. Home inventories in the market are generally on the decline this year, be it single-family homes or condominium units.

Available properties in some regions, like the Sarasota real estate market where home inventories have been hovering around for the four-month level, can be so thin that many of the better residential choices receive multiple purchase offers. Taking too long to decide may blow a home buyer’s chance to land a good deal. A checklist on the residential features to compare should help in determining which home alternative is the most preferred. Discussing such a list can also prevent aggravation among family members who may have conflicting opinions on the candidate homes for purchase. Some of the items that are important to be included in this checklist are:

Location

The localities of the home options should be evaluated as to their pros and cons with regards to the needs and preferences of each individual family member. If a family has kids, for instance, the home they buy should be near schools, parks, and retail shops.

Security

A quick visit to the local sheriff or police department should help determine the peace and order situation within the neighborhood.

Neighborhood

Examine how the choices compare with other homes within their respective communities. Some realtors would find it advisable to shy away from the biggest house in the area. They believe that the lower value of the other residences near these “monster homes” would drag down their value should these be sold later. This leads then to property appreciation. Inquire from your realtor on the historical sales value of the residences within the neighborhood. A favorable decision, of course, will have to tilt in favor of a home within a neighborhood where the property appreciation is higher during a certain period of time.

Days on Market

Ask the real estate agent on the length of time each of the candidate homes have been on the market. Chances are great that a home that has been listed for a longer period can be purchased below its asking prices.  Conversely, the seller of a house with just a few days in the market may be still be waiting for competitive offers.

ABCs ON TRADING OF HOME REPOS

Buying and reselling foreclosed properties can be a lucrative business. Seasoned entrepreneurs who go into this venture can earn anything from 15 percent to 20 percent of their original investment. Roughly, that is about $20,000 for every $100,000 they risk in buying homes on the foreclosed list, renovating them, and flipping the houses back on the market.

It can take a lot of work though to succeed in this undertaking. First and foremost, the list of distressed properties available in the market is quickly diminishing. For instance, Sarasota, Florida, maybe losing its luster as one of the favorite hunting grounds for short sales and REOs (real estate owned properties redeemed by lenders after the borrowers defaulted on the loans). Notably, there has been a sharp decline in the number of distressed properties listed on the Sarasota real estate market. As of September this year, there were 94 REOs and 171 short sales, for a total of 265 in the distressed list in the Sarasota area for the month. This total compares with the 449 combined REOs and short sales on the market in the locality around the same time last year.

Some Groundwork to Cover

True, there are real estate industry expectations that a large “shadow inventory,” or foreclosed properties still locked in the court system, will soon be released into the market. However, this expected flood of shadow inventory has not materialized. Many people believe banks are reluctant to have these distressed properties immediately released into the market for fear of adversely affecting the current spike in real estate prices.

The take from all this is that it will take some groundwork to cash in on buying and selling repossessed homes. Tyros in this business would be well advised to look at the lay of the land so to speak. First, it is a must for a novice in this trade to have in his/her corner a real estate agent who is a master of short sales and REOs.

Some homework will have to be done too by reading literature on the subject of dealing with distressed properties. Two reference materials worth mentioning are The Complete Guide to Flipping Properties by Steve Berges and Flipping Properties: Generate Instant Cash Profits in Real Estate by William Bronchick. A reliable data source on foreclosed properties is likewise a prerequisite. For starters, some can be accessed for a fee from the website of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov).

Top Rated Halloween Events in Dallas and McKinney, Texas

It’s Spooktober in Dallas, and starting this weekend, there’s an endless variety of family-oriented activities guaranteed to be spooktacular!

Perhaps you’re looking for Haunted Houses, Ghost Tours, Spooky Story Telling or the more unusual ethereal events. Dallas has it all on offer this Halloween.

We list a few here that come more highly recommended. There’s something for everyone, and with varying costs and locations. Try them this Halloween…if you dare! (muhahaha)

Slaughterhouse Dallas

Times: Open every day during the last week of October. Events start at 8:00p.m and run late.

Cost: $20 per person, cash at the door.

Location: 2615 Elm Street, Dallas, TX.

Description: 16,000 square feet of terrifying special effects, walking zombies, macabre characters and frightening music, make the Slaughterhouse Dallas a unique and unnerving experience. Perhaps not for the younger kids, but for those who think everything is “so lame”, it’s a must!

Zombie Manor Haunted House

Times: 8:00p.m till 11:00p.m on Halloween night

Cost: $17 per person

Location: 7501 US Highway 287 Arlington, TX.

Description: Claiming to be the most terrifying event in Dallas, and selected by Hauntworld as one of the best rated attractions in Dallas, Zombie Manor Haunted House contains movie quality sets and stunning special effects that will leave you praying for daylight!

A cast of ghoulish interactive performers will transport you into the world of the walking dead. The makeup and costuming is second to none in Dallas, and indeed Texas as a whole. It’s great value for money, and right now you can even nab a $2 discount coupon.

You might want to leave the young ones at home for this one!

Scare On The Square

Times: Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012 4:00p.m to 6:00p.m

Cost: Free

Location: Historic Downtown McKinney

Description: You and the family are invited to venture out on Halloween evening to enjoy the sights of hundreds of ghosts and goblins young and old in Historic Downtown McKinney. This annual spook-night event has grown to hundreds of trick or treaters enjoying treats and interactive activities to celebrate a safe, secure family fun Halloween event.

Historic Downtown McKinney is closed off for trick or treaters to cross the streets safely, going shop to shop for goodies. Great for the entire family, or groups of families and friends who want to hang out together in a family-oriented environment.

The Undead Date Night

Times: 6:30p.m till 10:30p.m on Saturday, October 27

Cost: No cost

Location: Tucker Hill, off hwy 380, McKinney, TX

Description: My personal favorite, the 3rd annual Undead Date Night is a terrific family event in one of my favorite McKinney communities – Tucker Hill. The Undead Date Night is presented by the McKinney Performing Arts Center and is an interactive Halloween event like no other!

It’s free and open to adults and children of all ages and includes the following activities:

  • Trick-or-Treat at the local homes. The residents of Tucker Hill have their homes sensationally decorated for this event, and they are generous and friendly
  • Dare to venture into the Haunted Graveyard
  • Roast marshmallows while you listen to ghost stories
  • Creep through the Boo-tanical gardens
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Invade the movie set of legendary monsters
  • Do the Monster Mash
  • Traverse the Inflatable Maze – if you can!
  • Run from zombies as they perform “Thriller”, every hour on the hour!
  • Hop on a traditional Hay Ride

We hope you enjoy your pick of the above Halloween offerings. Remember to stay safe, don’t drink and drive and keep a steely eye on the kids. Happy Halloween from all of us here at Trinity Real Estate Group!

Home Development Stimulated With System Development Charge Discount

Building a home isn’t cheap, which is why some builders of lavish residences choose to maximize their budgets by spending less on other aspects of the house, such as its location. To stimulate residential development in Dallas, the city council passed a temporary systems development charge (SDC) discount for the construction of new homes in Dallas.

This special discount, which was first approved back in February 2012, cuts the SDC in half, and completely waives the sewer SDC as well. Applicable to houses less than 1,700 square feet, the deduction is believed to have played a big role in the increase of new home building permits issued so far in 2012.

Ted Cuno of the City of Dallas building department reports that a total of twenty-nine building applications for duplexes and single-family dwellings were turned into the city this year, which is much higher than the total of 13 permits which were given last 2011.

Cuno also believes that the SDC discount has played a part in the increase of applications, as twenty-three of these were for properties less than 1,700 square meters, thereby allowing them to qualify for the deduction.

While the SDC discount was scheduled to end by September 30, the council has agreed to extend the “promotion” to October 15. Their decision to do so was heavily influenced by a real estate agent and Dallas homebuilder who said that the ending of the program could affect impending sales negatively.

Paul Trahan, current vice president of land acquisition and development for J.W. Fowler Co.’s development division of the Fife group, attended a meeting with the council and expressed his thoughts on how the SDC discount played several roles in the sales he made so far, and how terminating the program this early would affect three of his impending sales.

“It stimulated a growth of seven to eight of them, possibly more,” said Trahan.

Fortunately, the council has decided to extend the discount until another council meeting is scheduled this Monday. Pleased with their decision, Trahan intends to attend the gathering, hoping that the home construction stimulation plan will be extended for a longer period of time.

News On Behringer Harvard’s Success And Failure Confusing People

Behringer Harvard has provided alternative investment opportunities for investors over the past few decades. This organization is no stranger to the real estate industry, so hearing news about it acquiring new and successful properties is hardly ever surprising.

However, what has people confused is the bad news about the firm – some individuals get puzzled when they hear how Behringer Harvard files for bankruptcy on one of its biggest properties, and then news comes out regarding their acquisition of a couple of other developments.

For instance, this real estate investment corporation announced all-new apartment developments in Dallas, as well as the construction of an office tower within the Houston area, over the past few weeks.

Despite its apparent growth, bad news such as a Behringer Harvard fund putting its property in Frisco under bankruptcy exists at the same time. Moreover, the firm permitted its lenders to foreclose on the Palomar Residences development, which is its northeast Dallas condo tower.

Furthermore, another Behringer Harvard fund is in the process of handing over its North Dallas office property, that’s operating without any tenants, to a mortgage lender.

“We are confusing to people when they see the news about us,” said Robert Aisner, CEO of Behringer Harvard. “We are working on some old stuff and moving forward with new stuff.”

The “old stuff” Aisner speaks about is in reference to deals which turned sour before the economy was plunged into a financial crisis. This includes its move to borrow $40 million to acquire a large portion of the Frisco Square development.

While the property is performing well today, Behringer was unable to neither extend nor refinance the debt, and was eventually forced to file for bankruptcy.

Regardless, the investment corporation likes to segregate its properties into different groups, wherein separate funds and investors are used for each one. With $11 billion worth of assets, they substantially make a lot more than they lose, which is what allows them to press forward despite running into a few financial bumps along the way.

“Behringer Harvard is the entity that raises the capital and manages the real estate,” said Aisner. “They are all closed-end funds.They have different time frames — some shorter, some longer.”

Frisco, Texas, Restaurant of the Month

Welcome to our restaurant of the month blog post.

When it comes to eating out, Frisco Texas offers a seemingly endless array of choices. This week, we’re featuring Endoko Sushi and Robata, located at 5490 Highway 121, Frisco.

Endoko Sushi and Robata is the number one ranked restaurant in Frisco according to a number of prime ranking sources including tripadvisor.com and urbanspoon.com to name just two, and for very good reason. Endoko’s exciting, unique and scrumptious menus are as famous as their fresh and trendy décor.

Endoko is not a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It’s a beautiful environment, suitable for everything from an attention grabbing first date to a business dinner. Try their insanely delicious Endoko Tower, or equally mouth-watering Salmon Avocado appetizer washed down with a Lychee Rose Martini, or a Robata Infused Martini. This stunning drink, both visually and taste-wise, is a tantalizing blend of citrus-infused vodka, Chambord, Triple Sec and guava juice. What a way to start a weekend!

Rated just as highly for their attentive and polite service, you’ll be glad you tried Endoko, where their imaginative food and drinks are expressions of art!

Behringer Harvard Investing In Luxury Multifamily Development in Dallas’ Metro Area

The City of Allen is quickly growing in various aspects, which is why investment firms from all over are looking to capitalize on its progress. Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I, Inc. is one company taking advantage of the opportunities presented by Allen, as it recently announced its investment in a 444-unit luxury multifamily community within the city’s heart.

Provided with mezzanine financing from Behringer Harvard, this residential project took off just last August. The 19-acre site showcases a desirable location at the northeast corner of Custer Road, just south of the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

“The strategically located construction site is in the desirable Plano/Allen/McKinney submarket, within the path of growth for the northern metro area,” said Mr. Mark T. Alfieri, the investment firm’s Chief Operating Officer.

“We believe the community will appeal to young professionals who appreciate high-quality amenities and convenient access to the Hall, Legacy and Granite office parks, as well as other employment centers in north Dallas and Frisco.”

Other companies involved in the project include TDI Real Estate Holdings LLC, an investment firm that’ll be handling structural developments in a joint venture with Catyln Capital Corporation. Moreover, funding for the actual construction of this project will come from Texas Capital Bank.

This community is expected to be quite impressive, as it’ll be comprised of nine residential buildings measuring three-stories high, surface/garage parking structures, and a separate clubhouse. Apartments inside the extravagant erections will come in one to three-bedroom variations, sport one or two bathrooms, and boast a floor area of 943 square feet each on average.

Each unit is spaciously built and outfitted with everything future residents will ever need or want. Notable features include hardwood flooring, washers/dryers, walk-in closets, and kitchens outfitted with state-of-the-art appliances.

Investors of this development also believe that its attractive amenities will play a big part in attracting tenants. Such includes a business center, club house, fully-equipped gym, pool, game room, and coffee bar.

The location of this project is also worth mentioning, as future occupants gain the advantage of being within close proximity to a major metropolitan area.

Foreclosure Postings Reduced In Dallas

The real estate market in Dallas is unquestionably one of the nation’s strongest, as it has displayed signs of resilience in the face of economic troubles over the past five years. Regardless of its noticeably better performance, this city still has its share of bad days, including the foreclosure of several notable commercial properties earlier this year.

The vast majority of these properties were financed at the top of the market before the financial crisis struck in 2008. Some investors had financing for buildings which apparently couldn’t be renewed or extended. In such scenarios, an investor is left with no choice but to gather enough money to pay for his loan, or handover the property to his lender.

Today, the number of these cases is dropping, as experts predict only a hundred commercial properties (mostly undeveloped land and apartments) to close in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this month. These figures are comparatively lower to that of 2010, wherein roughly 300 commercial properties were shut down on a monthly basis.

According to research, commercial foreclosure listings within the Dallas-Fort Worth area has decreased by 14% during the year 2011, and it’s expected to drop even lower before the end of 2012. Back in 2010, foreclosures reached their peak with a total of 3,300 properties shutdown. Studies suggest that this number is going to significantly decrease to less than 2,000 foreclosure postings this year.

Trepp LLC, a company which specializes in tracking commercial property debt, says that the mortgage market is evidently performing better in comparison to recent years. “Over the last month or so we have seen improvement pretty much everywhere,” says Joe McBride, a research analyst of Trepp LLC. “We saw a spike in delinquency rates nationally in the first half of this year. But it has peaked and started to come down.”

In addition to this, McBride says there’s a surprisingly “pleasant” trend going on within the market: mortgagees and mortgagors are coming into terms on many problem-ridden deals. “We are seeing a lot more deed backs in lieu of foreclosure,” said McBride. “Real estate-wise, I think we’ve hit the bottom.”