Real Estate Center Online News

August 25, 2015

Property Tax Appraisal System at Center of New Lawsuit

AUSTIN (Associated Press) — The city yesterday filed a suit against the state comptroller’s office, arguing the state’s property appraisal system is unconstitutional because it provides no "equal and uniform" property value taxation.

The lawsuit follows a city petition in June that alleged commercial and vacant property in Travis County was valued at more than $30 billion below market value.

The ten-page suit says the current system routinely allows property values to be set well under market value, including for homeowners who can escape otherwise heavy tax burdens.

Among other things, the suit seeks to make disclosing sales prices mandatory. Texas currently is one of few states not requiring property sales price disclosure.

Two TREC Form Changes Effective September 1

AUSTIN (Texas Association of Realtors) – The Texas Real Estate Commission has taken two actions to address legislative requirements that go into effect Sept. 1.

A revision to the condominium resale certificate was adopted on an emergency basis. As required by Senate Bill 1168, the balance sheet of the condo owners association must be attached to the certificate. The updated certificate now states that the balance sheet is one of the three required attachments, and the resale certificate must provide more details on fees associated with transfer of ownership.

Another law that becomes effective on that date requires that all property owners — including commercial — selling real estate adjoining certain bodies of water with 5,000 acre-feet or more water-storage capacity disclose to buyers that the amount of water contained there could fluctuate. TREC will post language on its website that satisfies the disclosure requirement. License holders can add that language in the special provisions paragraph of any contract when a seller is required to make the disclosure.

Houston Commercial Real Estate Course Registration Now Open

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Registration is open for the Center's 18th Annual Commercial Real Estate Course. It is Oct. 19–20 at the Norris Conference Center in Houston.

The conference addresses residential real estate effects on commercial markets, demographics and transportation and provides an overview of the Texas economy. TREC CE credit includes nine elective hours plus six legal hours (Legal Update/Ethics).

Cost is $250 if registered by Sept. 28. After that, it's $275.

For more information or to register, visit the conference website.

Bascom Buys Grand Prairie Multifamily Property

GRAND PRAIRIE ( – The Bascom Group LLC of California has acquired Towns of Riverside, a 436-unit multifamily community.

Built in 1999, Towns of Riverside consists of 559 residential buildings and one stand-alone leasing center spread across 54 acres. Fifty-two percent of the property is one-bedroom units, 40 percent two-bedroom units and 8 percent three-bedroom units. Thirty-nine percent have direct-access garages, and 28 percent are townhome-style apartments.

Amenities include a clubhouse, media lounge, fitness center, pool and spa, volleyball court, tennis court, basketball court and a fishing pier overlooking the community lake.

ARA Newmark represented the seller. Debt financing was arranged by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. 

Westward Expansion of Austin Convention Center Proposed

AUSTIN (Community Impact Newspaper) – The city council got its first look at a proposed expansion to the existing Austin Convention Center, which could help provide enough extra meeting space for larger conventions.

In 2014, the city hired San Francisco-based consultant M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates Inc. to review potential expansion ideas. Gensler ultimately proposed expanding the center to the west, adding 200,000 sf of exhibit space, 65,000 sf of meeting space and a 56,700-sf ballroom as well as additional underground parking and loading-dock space.

The city proposal also calls for a three-acre "urban park" on top of the expanded convention center.

Voters may be asked in November 2016 to rededicate two cents from the existing hotel occupancy tax to expand the Austin Convention Center.

Construction could start by 2020 with renovated facilities opening by November 2021. The project could cost between $400 million and $600 million, excluding land acquisition.

What's New In Our Research Library?

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Never mind a library card, and don't worry about late fees. Just check out what's new in our online research library:

"Profitability of Texas Homes"
Texas homes are profitable investments, with yields exceeding the national average for homes in most metro areas when profitability is measured in terms of average yield. Average yields on Texas homes exceeded yields for McDonald’s Corporation, Home Depot and Lowe’s in the 2009–13 period. For more on this, read Research Economist Dr. Ali Anari's latest article.

"Property Tax Legislation 2015"
A $10,000 increase in the homestead exemption, appealing unequal appraisals and using an arbitrator to appeal an appraisal review board decision are among the property tax topics the Texas Legislature addressed this session. Research Economist Dr. Charles Gilliland's new article tells you what you need to know.

UT Southwestern Grabs Fort Worth by the Horns With New Medical Center

FORT WORTH (Dallas Business Journal) – The University of Texas System is planning the UT Southwestern Monty and Tex Moncrief Medical Center at Fort Worth after receiving a $25 million donation from W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr.

This center is the UT System's first named campus outside of Dallas. It adds to UT Southwestern Medical Center's recent expansions at the Moncrief Center Institute.

The campus' first building will sit on 6.3 acres at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Main St. It is earmarked for UT Southwestern faculty specialty physicians. Construction is slated for completion in September 2016.

In all, the campus will include the newly acquired property, the new facility and the Moncreif Cancer Institute, which is on a nearby 3.4-acre site at 400 W. Magnolia Ave.

New Service-Related Jobs Offset Oil Industry Losses

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy continues to create more jobs despite lower oil prices. Job gains in the service-providing industries are offsetting job losses in the mining and manufacturing industries.

According to the Real Estate Center’s latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy, the state’s economy gained 284,000 nonagricultural jobs from July 2014 to July 2015, an annual growth rate of 2.5 percent compared with 2.1 percent for the United States. The nongovernment sector added 268,400 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 2.4 percent for the nation’s private sector.

Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent last month from 5 percent a year ago. The nation’s rate decreased from 6.2 to 5.3 percent.

All Texas industries except mining and logging and manufacturing had more jobs. The state’s leisure and hospitality industry ranked first in job creation followed by education and health services, professional and business services, and transportation, warehousing and utilities.

All Texas metro areas except Wichita Falls had more jobs. Beaumont-Port Arthur ranked first in job creation, followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Victoria, Austin-Round Rock, Odessa and Laredo.

The state’s actual unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Amarillo, Austin-Round Rock, Lubbock and San Antonio-New Braunfels.

300,000-SF Data Center Replacing Dallas Hotel

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Lincoln Property Co. and T5 DataCenters are building a six-story data center complex on the site of the 52-year-old Cabana Motor Hotel near downtown.

The 300,000-sf facility at 899 N. Stemmons Fwy. will be one of the largest in the downtown area, handling a growing need for Internet, telecommunications and data transfer traffic.

Lincoln Rackhouse, the data center subsidiary of locally based Lincoln Property Co., is already hunting business for the center.

T5 and Lincoln plan to have the building open in early 2017.

Fort Worth Shopping Center Changes Hands

FORT WORTH (Disney Investment Group) – The 191,000-sf grocery-anchored Chapel Hill shopping center has been purchased by Kite Realty Group Trust from Strode Property Company.

Located at the southwest corner of I-30 and Hulen St., the center is anchored by Central Market and includes other national tenants such as Container Store, Cost Plus World Market, Ann Taylor Loft, Men's Wearhouse, Aaron Brothers and Mi Cocina.

Strode Property developed Chapel Hill in 1999.

Disney Investment Group represented the seller and also procured the buyer.

395-Unit Class-A Frisco Apartment Complex Sold

FRISCO (REBusiness Online) – Pure Multi-Family REIT LP has purchased Amalfi Stonebriar, a 395-unit, Class-A apartment complex.

Completed in 2014, Amalfi Stonebriar is at 5725 Town & Country Blvd. across from the future headquarters of Toyota and FedEx, as well as the new Liberty Mutual office campus. The property offers units ranging from 603 to 1,689 sf, with 69 percent of the units one-bedroom and 31 percent two-bedroom.

Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, grilling area, courtyard and a business center.

Amalfi Stonebriar is 94 percent occupied.

HFF worked on behalf of Pure Multi-Family to arrange $45 million in acquisition financing. The 12-year, fixed-rate loan was placed through TIAA-CREF.

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.

Store RedZone Podcast RSS logo Twitter Facebook YouTube Mays Business School