Real Estate Center Online News

March 20, 2012

Two Texas Cities Added to Improving Markets Index

WASHINGTON (National Association of Home Builders) – The latest Improving Markets Index (IMI), released last week by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), shows significant improvement in 99 housing markets in the United States.

The index, which identifies metropolitan areas with at least six consecutive months of improvements in housing permits, home prices and employment, now has 12 Texas cities, including newcomers Austin and San Antonio.

Other Texas cities making the list are Amarillo, College Station, Dallas, Laredo, Longview, McAllen, Midland, Odessa, Tyler and Victoria.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe believes the improvements are significant.

“The bottom line is that roughly one quarter of all U.S. metropolitan areas are showing signs that their housing markets have turned the corner, which is a very positive development," he said.

The latest IMI is available at the NAHB website.

Controversial Ashby High-Rise Still Likely

HOUSTON (Houston Business Journal) – The controversial Ashby high-rise apartment project will likely get built near Rice University, despite nearly five years of opposition from neighborhood residents.

The City of Houston reached an agreement with Buckhead Investment Partners, which plans to build the 228-unit, 21-story building at the corner of Ashby and Bissonnet.

Terms of the agreement require Buckhead to design the parking structure so that traffic is diverted away from the neighborhood. They are also required to revise the design to reduce light and noise from the structure.

The agreement came after Houston Mayor Annise Parker recommended settling the $40 million lawsuit filed against the city in 2010.

Loan Servicing Co. Spreads Wings in Dallas

DALLAS (Dallas Business Journal) – Wingspan Portfolio Advisors LLC, a company that services delinquent loans, is expanding its operations to Dallas.

The Carrollton-based company signed a lease for the 135,000-sf Gramercy Center South building at 18451 N. Dallas Pkwy.

Jones Lang LaSalle represented Wingspan in the transaction, which was negotiated and executed in just eight days to meet a contract that required 500 additional loan servicing employees to be operational immediately.

Trinity Falls Rising From Bankruptcy

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – The 1,700-acre Trinity Falls project in Collin County has been sold to a private investor for $27.5 million.

The residential development, north of McKinney, was planned with 4,100 residential lots but was delayed after Dallas-based Marlin Atlantis went into bankruptcy during the recession.

The sale is expected to bring the property out of bankruptcy, said broker Landry Burdine.

“The supply of lots and raw land is diminishing [in the Dallas-Fort Worth MSA]," Burdine said, "so the timing for delivery of the existing finished lots to the marketplace will be very well received.”

More Class-A Office in Westchase? We 'Spec' So

HOUSTON (Houston Business Journal) – Dallas-based Granite Properties will break ground this spring on a 300,000-sf Class-A speculative office building in H-Town's Westchase submarket.

The 12-story Granite Briarpark Green will be on a four-acre site at 3141 Briarpark Dr., next to a building owned by PGAL Architects.

PGAL will design the new building, and Hoar Construction will serve as general contractor.

Construction is estimated to take 14 months. Granite will aim for LEED Gold certification.

Austin Home Sales Up 16 Percent

AUSTIN (Austin Board of Realtors) – Sales of existing single-family homes in the Capital City were up 16 percent last month from a year ago, reports the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR).

According to MLS data released today by ABoR, 1,283 homes were sold in February 2012, while the median price was $195,000, 3 percent more than the same time last year.

“For nine months in a row, Austin has seen year-over-year increases in sales volume," said ABoR Chair Leonard Guerrero. "In addition, we also saw a modest increase in the median home price in February 2012, which could indicate more competition among buyers for a shrinking inventory of homes.”

The local market had 4.2 months of inventory last month, 1.5 months less than February 2011. The market had 9 percent more new listings, 20 percent fewer active listings and 25 percent more pending sales than a year ago. On average, homes spent 86 days on the market, 12 days less than February 2011.

Waco Foreclosures Up Slightly in December

WACO (Waco Tribune) – Home foreclosures in Waco were up slightly in December 2011 but remained well below the national level, according to the latest report from property tracking company CoreLogic.

The California-based firm said the city's foreclosure rate was at 1.2 percent, up 0.7 of 1 percent from December 2010. The national foreclosure rate in December 2011 was 3.37 percent.

In addition, 4.11 percent of mortgage loans in the area were 90 or more days delinquent in December. The previous December, 3.83 percent were delinquent.

Spire Advances to Park Place

HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) – An 18-story Houston office building overlooking Memorial Park has been purchased by Spire Realty of Dallas.

The 341,947-sf building at 1177 West Loop South was sold by locally based Griffin Partners and Urdang.

The building, which is 96 percent leased, recently underwent more than $2.6 million in renovations.

CBRE represented the sellers.

JV Picks Up Westchase Creek

HOUSTON (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler) – A joint venture partnership has purchased a 456-unit multifamily property in the city's Westchase District from Camden Property Trust.

Westchase Creek (formerly known as Camden Creek) is at 3000 Woodland Park Dr. Units average 639 sf. The property is 96 percent leased.

The joint venture includes Allen Harrison Company LLC, Dome Equities LLC and Equity Resource Investments LLC.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler represented the seller and secured the seven-year, fixed-rate Freddie Mac loan with two years of interest-only payments.

Want More News?

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – There's more news happening around Texas than we can include in RECON, which is why you'll want to check out NewsTalk Texas, our online real estate news database.

Here's a sample of this week's stories:

NewsTalk Texas is updated each weekday, throughout the day.

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