Red Day 2017: Blood Drive, Blankets & Bikes!

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RED Day, Keller Williams’ world-wide day of service, is Thursday, May 11, 2017!

To observe RED Day, Keller Williams Dallas Metro North associates will be building bikes, making blankets and assembling military care packages. We are also hosting a blood drive and hope to collect 60 pints of blood!

RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) is built upon the belief that people can and should come together to achieve extraordinary things to help others”, said Anne Lakusta, Team Leader, KW Dallas Metro North. “This year’s projects are no exception.”

RED Day was introduced in 2009 as Keller Williams’ annual day of service. Held on the second Thursday of May, associates are asked to “give where they live” and dedicate a day to renewing and energizing the communities they serve.

Community Members are welcome to participate in the blood drive. Register in advance at https://ww2.greatpartners.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/87833 Walk-ins are welcome.

Questions? Please call 972.874.1905.

Past RED Day projects by the KW Dallas Metro North associates:

When to get excited about the housing market

shutterstock_627512981Real estate professionals get that consumers, by and large, ignore housing statistics and the market until they become involved in the purchase or sale of a home. It’s only natural then that what impacts the market is a bit of a mystery to many. What determines a buyers’ or sellers’ market? What factors influence home prices?

Of course the answers to these questions and more may be multi-faceted, but it’s important to pay attention to them if you hope to keep more of your money when it’s time to buy or sell real estate.

Believe it or not, even in what seems like the gloomiest of real estate markets, there will be a glimmer of light for some.

Pay Attention to Interest Rates

It certainly is no secret that obtaining a lower interest rate for a mortgage typically allows for a lower payment. Naturally then, low interest rates make home-buying an attractive venture—and, even whispers of a rate hike can spur folks to get out into the market.

For instance, by the end of 2015, the U.S. saw 5.26 million home sales, which was the most robust housing market since 2006. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), attributed the robust market, in part, to the mere “prospect of higher mortgage rates in coming months.”

And, rise they did, throughout the following year. In fact, late in 2016, mortgage interest rates rose eight times in nine weeks, according to bankrate.com. Sounds rather gloomy until one recognizes that, post-hike, rates were still at historic lows.

The bottom line is that if you’re in the market for a home and interest rates decrease or remain attractively low, it’s time to get excited about the housing market.

The Economy

The current economy is a key factor affecting the real estate market. “Broadly speaking, when the economy is sluggish, so is real estate,” claims Joseph Nguyen at Investopedia. Rather than look at the glass half-full, however, we choose to take the opposite tack—when the economy is humming along, the housing market is at its most attractive.

When job growth is robust, consumer confidence rises and we’re more apt to spend money on high-ticket items, such as cars, appliances, vacations and, yes, homes.

Exciting Markets for Sellers

There’s an old saying in the real estate industry that counsels homeowners that the best time to sell a home is when you need to sell your home. Yes, we understand that isn’t very helpful. If you’re one of the fortunate who has no compelling reason to sell (such as a job offer in a different town or divorce), you have the luxury of choosing when to put the home on the market.

Get excited if real estate professionals mention the words “sellers’ market.” This is a period in which there are few homes for sale but buyer demand is high. During sellers’ markets prices typically increase rapidly and homes sell at or above list price.

One of the biggest mistakes we see in sellers’ markets is the homeowner who feels that the market itself will bring top dollar for the home, regardless of condition. Be aware that it’s the homes in good condition that sell the quickest and for the most amount of money. Regardless if market conditions favor sellers, if your home isn’t in move-in condition, it may be passed over by home buyers.

Buying a Home This Year?

A buyers’ market—when there is a large selection of homes for sale and few other buyers in the market—is a great time to purchase a home. Unlike a sellers’ market, prices aren’t shutterstock_626492420rapidly escalating and you won’t be competing against a slew of other buyers. These markets are more relaxed so homebuyers can take their time deciding.

In a sellers’ market, however, it’s more important than ever to have all your ducks in a row before making an offer on a property. Ensure you know exactly how much you can spend and that you’ve obtained a preapproval letter from your lender. Make your offer stand out from others by keeping it lean and mean, with the shortest time periods for contingencies as possible. Finally, come in with your highest and best offer. A sellers’ market moves too quickly to assume the homeowner will negotiate over price.

While the type of market may determine when to jump in, as mentioned earlier, interest rates can also cause excitement in the housing market. Low rates and relaxed lending guidelines, such as we saw in 2015 and 2016, presented a prime opportunity for many would-be buyers who previously couldn’t afford to purchase.

Lower mortgage rates mean a lower monthly payment, which means you have more purchasing power, and that additional power can “mean the difference between buying a 2-bedroom home versus a 3-bedroom one; between buying a home with large closets versus small closets; and, between buying an upgraded home versus a dated one,” according to Dan Green at The Mortgage Reports.

Regardless of the media’s perception of the housing market, there is always a mix of good and bad news, depending on whether you are in the market to buy or to sell. Arm yourself with a professional real estate agent who can supply you with current and local market information (too often what you read in the news is stale and based on nationwide statistics), follow his or her advice and buying or selling a home in any market will be an exciting process.

Good News – April 2017

Dickies Arena – Construction is beginning on the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, next to the Will Rogers Memorial Center in the city’s Cultural District at the Fort Worth Skylineintersection of Harley Avenue & Gendy Street.  The 14,000 seat venue, going by the brand name of Fort Worth-based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., is expected to open in November 2019.  The facility has already landed a major college basketball event — the first and second rounds of the 2022 March Madness tournament.  It’s the first time since 1970 that Fort Worth will host the NCAA event.   Fort Worth also will host the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships for four years, beginning in 2019. The event will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center the first year and then move to the new arena in 2020.  

AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group Construction on a $113 million, 40-acre campus for AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group will start this month in Carrollton, which will make enough room for the North Texas company to add more than 1,000 employees.  The company plans to relocate its regional office to the OfficAmerisourceBergenes at Austin Ranch near Parker Road and Plano Parkway in Carrollton upon completion of the facility.  The company plans to initially bring 1,184 employees to the new campus in 2018, with another wave of 800 employees joining the group a few years later.

Carrollton expects the company will employ up to 3,023 workers in the future, with an average annual salary of $72,000.  Based in Pennsylvania, the company is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical service companies with over $140 billion in annual sales.

Housing starts—the metric tracking the number of homes on which construction has already begun—dropped 6.8% from February to March 2017…however, it was up 9.2% from the same month a year ago.  The number of finished new homes, overall, hit just over 1.2 million homes in March, according to the report. That’s up 3.2% from February and 13.4% over the same time last year. Builders secured more permits, about 1.26 million, in March, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Permits are a strong indication of how many new homes will go up over the next few months.  That was a 3.6% jump from February and an impressive 17% increase from March 2016.  Permits for buildings with five or more units soared 18.3% from February and 26.1% year-over-year, according to the report.  Meanwhile, permits issued for single-family homes dipped ever so slightly, by 1.1% from February to March. However, they were up 13.5% from the same month a year earlier.

Farmer Brothers Coffee currently has about 175 employees at the Northlake headquarters, with employment expected to reach about 225.  Employees moved into the $90 milshutterstock_624512828lion corporate complex, at the northeast corner of Texas 114 and Interstate 35W across from the Texas Motor Speedway, earlier this year. It includes executive and administrative offices, 100,000 square feet of space for roasting beans, 300,000 square feet for distribution and labs where new blends are tested.  After coffee beans arrive in burlap sacks from about 25 different countries in Central America, South America or Africa, the beans are cleaned in a machine to remove chaff or twigs and move through tubing into the roasting area. There, large roasters prepare beans in batches, producing 26 to 28 million pounds of coffee per year. The roasted beans are then packaged into bags, sometimes ground and then moved to the shipping area.  Farmer Brothers recently performed its first test brew in Northlake and expects its full new roasting area to become operational in the next quarter. The company also roasts coffee in Houston and Portland, Ore.   The company supplies coffee to a variety of food-service clients from restaurant chains such as Einstein’s Bagels and McDonald’s to airports, convenience stores and casinos including the Hard Rock.  Farmer Brothers has consolidated distribution centers from Oklahoma City and Houston into the new Northlake facility. The warehouse, which is heavily automated, handles about 255,000 pounds of coffee each week.  So the next time you enjoy a cup of coffee in a restaurant or an airport, remember that the beans may have come from Northlake, Texas.  

New Jobs in DFW – More than 119,000 new jobs were added in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the 12-month period ending in February. The total employment base inJobsAmerisourceBergen North Texas grew by about 3.5%.  That’s second only to the New York City metro area for total employment gains during the year, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Atlanta area was third, with 95,400 new jobs.  D-FW’s employment market has been growing by more than 100,000 new jobs a year for the last few years.  More than 200 people a day are moving to North Texas — many of them seeking new jobs, economists say.  D-FW had more new jobs during the year ending February than all of the other major Texas metro areas combined.  Austin added 27,000 jobs in the 12-month period, and San Antonio saw a 21,700 job increase. Even Houston — which has been hard hit in the last couple of years by lower oil prices — had a 19,300 year-over-year job gain as of February.

What was the good news for the DFW in March?

Zinwave, a global provider of wideband distributed network solutions for in-building wireless, announced on March 15, 2017 that it has relocated its headquarters from Cambridge, UK to Dallas, Texas.  The firm plans to bring about 100 workers to its new 5,000 square foot space in Dallas on McKinnon near Victory Park and Klyde Warren Park.  The projections are to hire an additional 100 workers in the next 18 months.

 

“The simple message is that the economy is doing well,” said the Federal Reserve’s Janet Yellen in a press conference on Wednesday, March 15th.  This comment followed a hike of the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points, or 0.25%.  This is the first interest rate increase in 2017, the second increase since December and only the third increase since the financial crisis.  Most experts believe this is the first of several increases to come in 2017, and that the increases bring more stability to the economy as a whole. The rate hikes are evidence that the Fed is becoming increasingly confident in the economy, as they follow reports showing that employers have added jobs for the last 77 straight months, unemployment has edged lower and wage growth has slowly been increasing.

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The Dallas-Fort Worth market, along with Austin, remains a strong market for hotels in both occupancy and development. Both the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the Austin area saw hotel revenues rise in 2016. The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw an increase of 7.6%, just below Austin’s 8% increase, according to Source Strategies Inc. Statewide, in 2016, occupancy averaged 63.3%, down from 64.9% last year but still well above the long-term annual average of 60%, according to Source Strategies.  A new Choice Hotels property, Cambria Southlake DFW North officially opened its doors on March 8, part of the Kimball Park development. Grapevine has selected Tulsa-based Coury Hospitality as the developer of its boutique hotel that will be built in historic downtown area near a TEX Rail station.

 

Construction of The Lakeside Tower, which has been planned for more than two year, has officially begun. The long-awaited 16-story, 48-unit building is part of a $1 billion mixed-use development. In all, the condo tower will bring about 226,000 square feet of living space to Flower Mound, with a three-story enclosed parking garage and four 3,000-square-foot bungalows on the perimeter of the high-rise building. About 60 percent of the condo tower is pre-sold to homebuyers. Construction is slated for completion in July 2018.

 

Midwestern_State_Mustangs_logoMidwestern State University has agreed to partner with 2,000-student NCTC in Flower Mound, with plans to double the total enrollment to over 4,000 students.  NCTC will continue to teach freshman and sophomore classes, while MSU will teach upper level and some graduate classes. The first subjects MSU will offer are courses in respiratory care and radiologic sciences, nursing, education and possibly business, according to Keith Lamb, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at MSU.  Classes will begin this fall in a new, two story, 30,000-square-foot building being constructed adjacent to NCTC’s Flower Mound college.

 

The Visa brand is 40 years old.  Visa chose to have a large presence at SXSW this year, as a way to spread the message that they are agnostic about which payment technologies succeed or fail – whether you pay with your phone, your watch, by pressing a button on your frig or by using a plastic card does not matter to the company…and in fact they are currently prototyping a pair of RayBans that allow you to tap on the side of the glasses when you want to make a purchase.  Visa claims that they are focusing on security innovations including fingerprint, voice recognition and iris scans, and is spreading the message that they are a large, secure payment network ready to work with any and all technologies.  Brand Finance recently ranked Visa as the 5th most powerful brand in the world behind Lego, Google, Nike, and Ferrari.  As we increasingly move towards a cashless society, how we pay for things could get interesting.

What Was The Good News For November?

1.*   The 2016 Home Buyer & Home Seller Survey by the National Association of Realtors, with results published in late October, shows a small rebound from two key segments of buyers who have been missing in action in recent years: first-time buyers and single women. In the past year, single women made up 17% of all homebuyers, purchasing at twice the rate of single men, according to the new annual report.  Despite having a much lower income ($55,300) than single male buyers ($69,600), female buyers made up over double the amount of men (7%)  Like men, three-quarters of the properties the women buy are single-family, detached homes.  And after slipping for 3 straight years, the share of sales to first-time home buyers in the 2016 survey ticked up to 35%, which is the highest since 2013 (38%) and a revival from the near 30-year low of 32% in 2015. In the 35-year history of NAR’s survey, the long-term average of first-time buyer transactions is 40%.

2.*   Trinity Groves opened four years ago as a dining and drinking destination.  With the success of the restaurant venue confirmed, developers are betting some of those same folks who dine there will want to live at Trinity Groves, work in an office and stay in hotel rooms with a postcard view of the nearby skyline.  Development designs show a 349-unit apartment and retail building just across the street from the Trinity Groves restaurant park.  The first apartments are expected to be ready in early 2017.  Next door to the new apartments on the site of an old concrete plant, designs show an 11-story hotel.  And across the street on a parking lot, the latest architectural renderings picture an office tower.  Watch for tremendous growth near the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

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3.*   Ground was broken November 2, 2016 on Wise Health Surgical Hospital near Argyle.  The 44,782 square-foot, single-story facility at I-35W and Crawford Rd. in Denton, about a mile from Robson Ranch, will focus on orthopedics and spine surgery with six surgical suites and 12 patient beds.   With the orthopedic concentration, it will have a full complement of imaging services, including a CT scanner, MRI, X-rays and separate exam rooms.  There will also be an on-site emergency area with two treatment rooms that have the capabilities necessary to stabilize a patient for transfer to a hospital.  Several medical office buildings will eventually be built near the hospital.  The hospital is expected to open in fall 2017.

 

4.*   One of the largest independent suppliers of tires — North Carolina-based American Tire Distributors — plans to open a large regional distribution hub within the Roanoke/Denton County portion of the 18,000-acre Alliance Texas development.  In all, the hub will create 60 new North Texas jobs.  American Tire Distributors expects to move into the new building in early 2017.

 

5.*  OKI Data Americas — a printing technology firm — plans to move its headquarters to Irving from New Jersey following a national real estate search that will bring 100 jobs and $3.5 million of capital investment into the North Texas city.  The average annual salary of the firm’s employees is projected to be $86,000.  The company is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based OKI Data Corp.  This is Irving’s 35th business to join the city with connections to Japan. Other companies include NEC Corporation of America, American Honda Motor Company and Canon USA.

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6.*   The 13th annual Lone Star Christmas “Ice” event has opened at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine.

It is a chilly 9 degrees inside winter wonderland that includes 2 million holiday lights, 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice, a 6,000-square-foot ice-skating rink and a 54-foot-tall Christmas tree.

Forty master ice artisans from China traveled to Grapevine to carve the ice into an ice bar, five ice slides, holiday scenes and characters.  The theme for this year’s event is “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town”, and it is open every day through January 1st.