WHAT’S THE GOOD NEWS FOR SEPTEMBER 2015 IN DFW?

Apple Inc. is transforming a 38-acre wooded lot in Austin into its largest global operation outside of Silicon Valley.  Apple has pledged to create 3,600 new jobs while retaining at least 3,100 existing jobs.  If Apple reaches those hiring figures, it would make it the second-largest technology employer in Central Texas behind Dell Inc., which has about 14,000 local workers.  When Apple completes its Austin campus next year, it will boast 1.1 million square feet of space including restaurants, a gym and a wellness center.  Apple’s new campus is responsible for running the company’s business operations for the Western Hemisphere.

TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, reports that this year 700,000 U.S. consumers will be capable of re-entering the housing market, and within the next five years, that population (called “Boomerang Buyers”) is expected to grow to 2.2 million.Between 2006 and 2014, TransUnion was able to track 180 million consumers, and in 2006, 48% (78 million) of that population had a mortgage, and 8% (7 million) of that group had trouble repaying that loan between 2006 and 2009. By December 2014, 18% (about 1.3 million) had rebuilt their credit to meet Fannie Mae underwriting guidelines, and TransUnion estimates 2.2 million of the remaining 5.7 million former homeowners will rebuild their credit to that point within the next five years.To be considered eligible to re-enter the mortgage market for this study, consumers have to have no unpaid judgments, garnishments or outstanding liens; no accounts past due; a FICO credit score of at least 620; and enough time elapsed between the negative event occurred and when they wish to re-enter the mortgage market (i.e. four years after a short sale and seven years after a foreclosure), according to TransUnion. Even among the 18% of consumers who have rebounded from the credit damage they sustained during the financial crisis, the majority (58%) have yet to re-enter the mortgage market.

Fort Worth-based Dollamur, is the largest manufacturer of wrestling, martial arts, gymnastics and cheerleading mats in the US.  Dollamur expects to ship about 6.3 million square feet of mats in 2015 to customers all over the US and sales are up 20% over 2014.  The company’s high-density vinyl mats are used at more than 5,000 high schools and colleges, as well as at U.S. Olympic trials, Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments, and World Cup and NCAA competitions.  The company has grown from 80 employees in 2013 to over 100 full times employees in 2015, and plans to continue growing at or above 20% each year.

The Texas Comptroller’s early September report shows the pre-recession Texas employment peaked at 10,638,100 in August 2008, a level that was surpassed in November 2011, and by July 2015 Texas added an additional 1,188,400 jobs. Job growth, sales tax collections and building permits all signal that the Texas economy continues to outpace the national economy.  Over the past year, Texas added jobs in 9 of the 11 major industries, including professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, government, financial activities, information, and other services. The Texas unemployment rate has been at or below the national rate for 103 consecutive months.

Developers are launching construction of the largest new real estate project yet in Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood. Investor Westdale Properties and StreetLights Residential plan to build a 17-story apartment tower just south of Baylor Medical Center. Called The Case Building, the 337-unit tower at Main and Hall streets will be the first high-rise apartment in Deep Ellum. To fit into the old commercial district, the new apartment tower will be built in what the developers call an “industrial style.” Rental units will have 10-foot concrete ceilings, exposed brick walls and open metal shelving in the kitchens.

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