Real Estate Center Online News

January 31, 2012

Amarillo One to Watch, Inman Says

NEW YORK (Inman News) – Amarillo is one of ten U.S. metro areas expected to outshine many other markets in real estate performance in 2012, reports Inman News.

The Panhandle city was the only Texas city to land on the news source's list of "Ten Real Estate Markets to Watch in 2012." It was number seven.

Reported Inman:

"Of the ten markets on this list, Amarillo had the second-highest rate of [home] sales in proportion to population in the year between November 2010 and October 2011, at one sale for every 53 people, compared to one sale for every 83 people at the national level. The area's median sales price rose 2.7 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter, to $131,000. Affordability remained high that quarter, with 81.1 percent of homes affordable to households earning the area's median income."

To compile the list, Inman selected markets with populations above 150,000 and ranked then based on a range of demographic, economic and real estate market data, including real estate sales volume and median sales price appreciation.

Galveston Pier: Something Old, Something New

GALVESTON (Houston Chronicle) – Landry's founder Tilman Fertitta is restoring a little of Galveston Island's history.

The Houston Chronicle reports that construction has begun on Fertitta's $60 million Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, an amusement attraction much like the one that opened in 1943 at 25th St. It was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.

The new attraction will be built at the same location, jutting out 1,000 feet over the Gulf. The site was most recently home to the Flagship Hotel.

Plans call for 16 rides (including a roller coaster and Ferris wheel), carnival games, souvenir shops, food vendors and the state's first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant.

Pleasure Pier is slated to open in May.

Texas' Existing Home Sales Up 4 Percent

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Sales of existing single-family Texas homes in December were up 4 percent from a year ago, according to the most recent Multiple Listing Services (MLS) data compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

More than 16,500 homes were sold, data showed. The median home price was $150,700, about the same as a year ago, and the state's overall inventory was at six months.

December 2011 MLS data for many Texas cities are available on the Center's website. Here is a sampling (data current as of Jan. 30, 2012):

  Sales Change from
Last Year
Change from
Last Year
Austin  1,738 up 11% $188,200 down 2% 4.2
Beaumont 151 up 2% $114,000 down 14% 11.1
Brownsville 39 down 33% $86,800 down 22% 12.4
Dallas 3,315 up 3% $162,800 up 1% 4.7
El Paso 420 down 9% $97,900 down 27% 7
Fort Worth 645 up 5% $112,500 down 6% 5.2
Houston 5,048 up 7% $160,400 up 2% 5.9
Midland 134 up 17% $184,000 down 1% 3.3
San Antonio 1,393 up 3% $148,400 down 6% 6.6
84 up 22% $96,700 up 3% 8.8
115 up 4% $120,700 down 13% 7.9
Tyler 198 down 5% $130,800 up 1% 11.4
Victoria 74 up 37% $131,100 down 2% 3.8
Waco 153 up 2% $116,200 down 1% 9
81 down 31% $102,300 down 9% 7.6
Texas 16,505 up 4% $150,700 no change 6


Hines' Legacy Restored

PLANO (Dallas Morning News, Hines) – Eight years after selling the seven-story Computer Associates building in Legacy business park, Hines is taking it back.

The Houston-based firm developed the roughly 215,500-sf office building — now called The Plaza at Legacy — in 2001, then sold it to IGN Clarion three years later.

The property is at 5455 Legacy Dr. east of the Dallas North Tollway. CA Technologies currently leases 77,000 sf.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management partnered with Hines on the purchase, which included an adjacent 12 acres. Hines Vice President Ran Holman said the site will accommodate up to a 300,000-sf corporate build-to-suit on the corner of Legacy and Hedgcoxe.

Dallas Mortgage Delinquencies Up

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – November marked the fifth month in a row that local home mortgage delinquency numbers increased.

According to data compiled by CoreLogic Inc., 5.01 percent of area homeowners with a loan were 90 days or more late with their mortgage payment in November, up from 4.94 percent the month before.

However, that's still below the 5.2 percent rate of November 2010. The highest the rate has ever been for the area was in January 2010, when it was at 6.08 percent.

Austin Multifamily Outlook: Employment High, Vacancies Low

AUSTIN (Marcus & Millichap) – Expect widespread job growth in Austin to bring apartment vacancy to its lowest level in more than a decade, says Marcus & Millichap in its 2012 multifamily market forecast.

According to the report, "The professional and business services sector will be the primary generator of top-tier apartment demand as relocating and growing firms add to payrolls. Several major tech companies have already announced expansion plans, offsetting losses in the public sector."

Among those is Rackspace, which Marcus & Millichap said plans to triple its local workforce over the next few years, supporting Class-A operations.

Meanwhile, "Class B- and -C apartments will benefit from job growth in the typically lower-paying leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation and utilities sectors, which will add 6,000 jobs. As operations improve, developers will begin moving projects through the planning stages to capture elevated demand."

Among the firm's other projections for the year:

  • Local employment will expand by 3.8 percent, an increase of 30,000 positions. Last year, job growth reached 3 percent, or 23,000 jobs.
  • Apartment construction will pick up, as 3,000 units are slated for delivery. In addition, approximately 21,000 units are in some stage of the planning pipeline.
  • Apartment vacancy will drop 70 basis points in 2012 to 4.3 percent, slowing down from the 200-basis-point plunge reported last year.
  • Average asking rents will rise 4.1 percent to $927 per month while effective rents gain 6.2 percent to reach $868 per month.
  • As operations strengthen, buyers will begin their search for Class-B assets near the University of Texas and major employers in Northwest and Southwest Austin.

News, News and More News

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – There's plenty more news that wasn't included in today's RECON, but you'll find it on NewsTalk Texas, our online news database.

Here are five of the latest stories:

NewsTalk Texas is updated each weekday, throughout the day.

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