Real Estate Center Online News

March 3, 2015

CRE Magazine Hands Texas Another Governor's Cup

AUSTIN (Site Selection) – Site Selection magazine has awarded Texas a Governor's Cup for total commercial project activity last year.

The Lone Star State boasted 689 project finishes in 2014, up from 657 the year before (incidentally, Texas took home a Governor's Cup that year, too).

Ohio and Illinois came in second and third with 582 and 394 projects, respectively.

Texas New Home Sales, Income Growth Outperform U.S.

AUSTIN (Texas Association of Realtors) – Texas continues to be a national leader in median household income growth and new home sales, according to the 2015 Texas Homebuyers and Sellers Report released yesterday by the Texas Association of Realtors.

From July 2013 to June 2014, the median household income of Texas homebuyers increased 5.9 percent to $97,500. This is more than four times the increase in median household income among homebuyers nationally, which rose 1.4 percent to $84,500 during the same time frame.

Additionally, 28 percent of Texas homes purchased between July 2013 and June 2014 were new homes, a 1 percent decrease from the previous one-year period yet nearly double the share of new homes among U.S. home sales during the same period. Nationally, the share of new home sales remained constant at 16 percent of all U.S. home purchases.

Increased restrictions in lending standards and rising home prices in certain local markets continue to stifle the growth of first-time homebuyers in Texas. The percentage of first-time homebuyers in Texas decreased 4 percent to 29 percent of all homebuyers between July 2013 and June 2014. Nationally, the percentage of first-time homebuyers decreased 5 percent to 33 percent during the same time frame.

As a result, Texas homebuyers are older and more likely to be married couples. From July 2013 to June 2014, the typical Texas homebuyer was 45 years old, an increase of two years from the previous report. The percentage of married homebuyers increased 1 percent year-over-year to 72 percent, compared to a 1 percent decrease to 65 percent nationally.

Other key statistics from the report include:

  • Median household income among first-time homebuyers increased 5.8 percent year-over-year to $72,000 for first-time homebuyers in Texas and 2.3 percent to $68,300 for first-time homebuyers nationally.
  • Meanwhile, median household income among repeat buyers decreased, dropping 8.9 percent to $97,500 in Texas and dipping 1 percent nationally to $95,000 year-over-year.
  • Texans are buying newer, larger homes than homebuyers nationwide. The typical three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Texas was 2,100 sf and built in 2002. Nationally, the typical three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was 1,870 sf and built in 1993.
  • Sixteen percent of homebuyers in Texas purchased a multigenerational home due to children over the age of 18 or aging parents moving into the house. Nationally this was 13 percent.
  • The tenure of owning a home increased one year for both Texas and the nation from July 2013 to June 2014, to nine years in Texas and ten years nationally.
  • For Sale by Owner (FSBO) homes in Texas sold for 30 percent less than homes sold using a Texas Realtor. The average Texas FSBO home sold for $160,000, compared with $228,000 for the average Realtor-assisted home sale.

Fort Worth Commercial Realtor Appointed to Advisory Committee

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Fort Worth commercial Realtor W. Douglas Jennings is the newest member of the Advisory Committee for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Jennings, who succeeds Mike Boyd of Houston in representing the commercial real estate sector, is a vice president and principal for William C. Jennings Company. His father, William C. Jennings, served on the advisory committee in the 1980s.

The University of Texas alumnus is a member and past commercial chairman of the Texas Association of Realtors, member and past governmental affairs chairman of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors (GFWAR), member and past chairman of the Society of Commercial Realtors and a member of the National Association of Realtors.

In 2004, he was named GFWAR’s Realtor of the Year. He was also the 1997 recipient of the Lone Star Trophy Award for the year’s most outstanding commercial transaction in Texas, and the 2002 recipient of the Charles D. Tandy Award for most outstanding commercial Realtor.

Jennings is also a board member and past president of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, member and past president of Arlington Heights High School Booster Club and a member of Fort Worth Young Life Steering Committee and Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

The Advisory Committee was created by a 1971 law establishing the Real Estate Center and placing it at Texas A&M. Nine members are appointed by the governor for six-year terms. Six are real estate brokers licensed for at least five years. The brokers represent finance, improvements, residential properties, commercial properties and industrial properties. Three members represent the public.

JV Rings Up 258,000-SF South Austin Shopping Center

AUSTIN (CBRE) – A joint venture between The Rainier Companies and Harbert Management Corporation has purchased Southpark Meadows III, a 257,988-sf shopping center on the city's south side. The seller was locally based Endeavor Real Estate Group.

Southpark Meadows III, located at 9900 I-35, is within Southpark Meadows, Endeavor’s 425-acre mixed-use development that includes 1.6 million sf of retail.

The Class-A shopping center was developed in 2007 and is 93.8 percent occupied. It is anchored by Conn’s, Cinemark Theatre, Spec’s, Sheplers Western Wear and Half Price Books. It is shadow-anchored by Sam’s Club and Ashley Furniture.

Endeavor retains management and leasing. CBRE and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented the seller.

Webster Shopping Center Sold

WEBSTER ( – The 236,854-sf Baybrook Gateway shopping center has been sold.

The center, which is on I-45 south of Houston, was 65 percent occupied at the time of sale. Tenants include Ashley Furniture, World Market, Barnes & Noble, Aaron Brothers, Michaels and Jared Jewelers.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Texas Retail Advisors Capital Markets Group represented the seller.

San Antonio Office Market Finishes 2014 Strong

SAN ANTONIO (REOC San Antonio) – Demand for area office space yielded a third consecutive year of positive net absorption, according to REOC San Antonio's survey of nearly 29 million sf of office lease space. New leases and expansions signed in the fourth quarter generated 42,716 sf of positive net absorption, raising the year-end total to 685,675 sf — the highest level recorded since 2006.

Nearly 250,000 sf of new office lease space was delivered in 2014, and more than 900,000 sf of speculative space moved through the development pipeline. The eight major projects currently under construction and scattered throughout the northwest, far north and far west sectors will increase the city’s office lease space inventory by 3 percent. More than 260,000 sf has reportedly been preleased, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the total amount under construction.

The addition of new supply along with tenant moves offset positive absorption in the fourth quarter. The UT Health Science Center, for example, vacated 45,324 sf at Med Centre Plaza, and UTSA emptied 11,168 sf at 4350 Lockhill Selma — both opting to consolidate into existing owner-occupied space.

As a result, the local office market closed the year with an 18.3 percent vacancy rate, up slightly from 17.8 percent last quarter but improved compared with 19.5 percent recorded in the same quarter last year.

Vacancy within the subset of top-tier Class-A properties remained relatively stable at just under the 10 percent mark, which is better than the 11.1 percent vacancy rate recorded a year ago. While the downtown office market remains challenged with a vacancy rate of 26.9 percent, the Class-A vacancy rate stands at a much healthier 8.1 percent.

The average quoted full-service rental rate for area office space was $20.37 per sf per year on a full-service basis, which is up $0.65 or 3.3 percent from year-end 2013. The citywide average cost for renting Class-A space currently stands at $25.70 — up $0.35 or 1.4 percent compared with a year ago.

New Midland Business Park Planned

MIDLAND (Odessa American) – The city recently approved the rezoning and a final plat for a new I-20 Business Park being developed by Western LLC, a local real estate development and design-build firm.

Spanish Trails Station's 48 acres will accommodate new facilities for various types of companies. The property was once home to Desert Thunder Raceway.

The site is off the I-20 frontage road and CR 1250 next to Schlumberger’s new corporate office.

Natural Resources Workshop April 23-24

KERRVILLE (AgriLife Today) – New, relatively new or absentee landowners in the Hill Country will have an opportunity to get an extensive education on managing natural resources at the second annual Bennett Land Stewardship Conference April 23-24.

"Keys to Hill Country Living" will be at the Inn of the Hills Resort and Conference Center in Kerrville. It is funded by the Ruth and Eskel Bennett Endowment and hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

"Many times people have inherited land or they moved away at an early age only to want to return to the country, or they made enough money in the city to purchase a piece of Texas," said Bennett Trust AgriLife Extension Specialist Dr. Larry Redmon. "Most of these individuals have little understanding about managing natural resources. Our goal is to help them gain important knowledge regarding management of this environmentally sensitive, multi-use region."

Cost of the two-day conference is $75 and includes all meals, break refreshments and tour transportation costs.

Register online or by calling 979-845-2604.

TDI Announces $352.5 Million in Refunds to State Farm Policyholders

AUSTIN (Texas Department of Insurance) – The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has resolved a more than decade-long dispute with the state’s largest homeowners insurer, State Farm Lloyds.

The agreement with State Farm Lloyds will refund about $352.5 million to policyholders who were overcharged between September 2003 and July 2008.

For more information about the terms of the agreement, visit TDI's FAQ page.

News, News and More News

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Hungry for more Texas real estate news? Then feast your eyes on NewsTalk Texas, our online news database. Here are a few of the stories you'll find there this week:

NewsTalk Texas is updated each weekday, throughout the day.

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