RECON

Real Estate Center Online News

September 14, 2012


Texas' Resilient Housing Market No Surprise to Some

WASHINGTON, D.C. (U.S. News & World Report) – National news sources continue reporting on Texas' strong housing market, but not everyone is surprised.

In an article in yesterday's U.S. News & World Report, Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines said the state's recovery wasn't entirely unexpected, pointing out that Texas didn't suffer as severe a recession or housing bust as some other states.

"We started [the recession] later, and it didn't go as deep," Gaines said, adding that while Texas saw its share of subprime lending, the fact that the unemployment rate here wasn't as high as in other states helped lessen the housing market damage caused by the collapse of bad mortgages.

"We didn't have the financial leverage," Gaines says. "We had subprime lending, but that works as long as people have jobs, so you had these offsetting factors."

Gaines also attributed the market's strength to the lower-than-average property values in Texas' major metro areas.

"We had median prices go up, but we didn't have a true bubble," Gaines said. "Even now you can't find a new single-family home in most major metro areas for under $200,000. That's not the case in Houston or Dallas."

ULI Houston Announces Economic Forecast Conference Speakers

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Peter Rummell will be the keynote speaker at Urban Land Institute (ULI) Houston's 2013 Economic Forecast Conference Thursday, Nov. 1.

A former CEO of The St. Joe Company and Walt Disney Imagineering, Rummell is the current ULI global chairman.

ULI Houston is partnering with the Real Estate Center on the half-day event at the Westin Galleria at 5060 West Alabama.

Other speakers will include Paul Murphy (Cadence Bank), Murray Bowden (Hanover Company), John Mooz (Hines), Brad Freels (Midway), Tom Murray (Toll Brothers Development) and Jim Casey (Trammell Crow Company).

The conference begins at 11:30 a.m. and includes lunch. Cost and registration information is available on ULI Houston's website.

Want to Teach 'Broker Responsibility' Course? We'll Tell You How

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – "Broker Responsibility," a course created by the Texas Real Estate Commission with assistance from the Real Estate Center, recently won the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials' 2012 Education Award.

On this week's Real Estate Red Zone podcast, Center Education Coordinator Denise Whisenant tells licensees what they need to do if they'd like to teach this course.

You can listen to the free podcast from your computer by going to recenter.tamu.edu/podcast and clicking the “play” button beneath each episode. To subscribe, click on the RSS feed found on the podcast page. You can also subscribe through iTunes and download each episode to your iPod.

Land Market Questions? Ask Charles Gilliland

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – On last week's Red Zone podcast, Dr. Jim Gaines answered your housing market questions. Now we'd like to tackle your land questions.

Curious about what tract sizes are selling in your neck of the woods and for how much? Want some tips on buying or selling? Let us know, and we'll invite land expert Dr. Charles Gilliland to provide answers on an upcoming podcast.

E-mail your questions to bpope@mays.tamu.edu. Be sure to include your name and where you're from.

Frisco Firm Buys Austin Land for Apartments

AUSTIN (CoStar Group) – A Frisco-based real estate firm went south to buy land for a planned apartment complex.

Westwood Companies purchased 22.7 acres at 509 E. Slaughter Lane in Austin for $2.1 million.

CASE Commercial Real Estate Partners represented the seller, Branch Banking and Trust Co.

Two Texas Sites Added to Superfund NPL

WASHINGTON, D.C. (EPA) – Hazardous waste sites in Pasadena and Willow Park are among 12 nationally that have been targeted for cleanup under the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program.

The U.S. Oil Recovery site in Pasadena (near Houston) and the Circle Court Ground Water Plume in Willow Park (near Fort Worth) were added to the program's National Priorities List (NPL).

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. Since 1983, 1,676 sites have been listed on the NPL. Of these, 360 have been cleaned up.

More Hospitality for Austin?

AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – Another hotel could soon occupy prime downtown real estate if a newly formed partnership gets their way.

Harry Whittington, a local landowner, has joined forces with Carmel, Ind.-based REI Real Estate Services LLC and Merrillville, Ind.-based White Lodging Services Corp. to build a hotel at the corner of East Fifth St. and San Jacinto Blvd. The site was left vacant after a former building burned several years ago.

The two Indiana firms are also responsible for the new Hyatt Place being built two blocks away, and White Lodging is developing the 1,000-room JW Marriott at East Second St. and Congress Ave.

Despite these and other hotel projects, Randy McCaslin of PKF Consulting USA believes the Austin market can support the development.

“While the large hotels will add a lot of new rooms to the market, they will also create a lot of new demand,” McCaslin said.

Two Plano Shopping Centers Sold

PLANO (REBusinessOnline.com) – Two area shopping centers have been sold in separate transactions.

Texas investor Bo Avery acquired the 123,011-sf Ruisseau Village shopping center at 3303 N. Central Expy. Retail Realty represented the buyer. C-III Realty represented the seller, Wells Fargo Bank.

Nearby, Metropolitan Capital Advisors picked up the 192,267-sf Pitman Corners Shopping Center at the corner of W. 15th St. and Custer Rd. The center is anchored by an Albertsons grocery store.

Texas, Mexico Real Estate Organizations Form Partnership

HOUSTON (Houston Business Journal) – Thirteen Texas Realtor associations have signed a cross-border partnership agreement with Mexico’s real estate association, AMPI.

The agreement will allow the Texas and Mexico organizations to share information, marketing techniques and best practices.

For consumers, this could mean more buyers looking for property to purchase in local markets. For the commercial real estate industry, it could mean more Mexican investors looking within Texas for international real estate opportunities.

Texas Realtor associations included in the agreement are:

  • Amarillo Association of Realtors
  • Austin Board of Realtors
  • Brownsville/South Padre Board of Realtors
  • Corpus Christi Association of Realtors
  • Greater El Paso Association of Realtors
  • Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors
  • Greater McAllen Association of Realtors
  • Houston Association of Realtors
  • Lubbock Association of Realtors
  • MetroTex Association of Realtors (including Dallas)
  • San Antonio Board of Realtors
  • San Marcos Area Board of Realtors

Fewer Dallas, Texas Homeowners Underwater

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – More homeowners are getting their heads above water again after taking an equity hit during the recession.

During the second quarter, 10.9 percent of Dallas-area homeowners owed more than the value of their homes, according to CoreLogic Inc. That’s less than half of the 22.3 percent of U.S. homeowners underwater on their mortgages.

The latest findings are also a vast improvement over the 30 percent of upside down mortgages in the Dallas area in 2009.

While Texas’ 8.8 percent negative equity rate is among the lowest in the nation, other states are still struggling. The highest negative equity states include Nevada (59 percent), Florida (43 percent) and Arizona (40 percent).

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