Business Growth

Bounce Back in Pending Home Sales a Welcoming Sign

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After declining for three straight months, pending home sales reversed course in June as all major regions, except for the Midwest, saw an increase in contract activity, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index, a measure of housing contract activity, climbed 1.5 percent to 110.2 in June from an upwardly revised 108.6 in May. At 0.5 percent, the June index increased annually for the first time since March.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the bounce back in pending sales in most of the country in June is a welcoming sign. “The first half of 2017 ended with a nearly identical number of contract signings as one year ago, even as the economy added 2.2 million net new jobs,” he said. “Market conditions in many areas continue to be fast paced, with few properties to choose from, which is forcing buyers to act almost immediately on an available home that fits their criteria.” Added Yun, “Low supply is an ongoing issue holding back activity. Housing inventory declined last month and is a staggering 7.1 percent lower than a year ago.”

Couple Cheering 02Yun noted that there could potentially be a sliver of increased hope in the months ahead for prospective first-time buyers, who continue to struggle reaching the market. Sales to investors last month were the lowest of the year (13 percent), which helped push all cash transactions to 18 percent – the smallest share since June 2009 (13 percent).

Source: National Association of Realtors

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What’s the GOOD News for July

Good News1July 25, 2017

Uber Freight – Uber’s going big into trucking and nowhere bigger than Texas. This spring, Uber launched Uber Freight, an app that matches truck drivers with loads of goods to pick up and deliver.  Texas, and routes between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, served as the test ground before the app’s launch.  Texas’ large truckingUber_logo.svg business made it an obvious place to start, since about 14%  of U.S. freight comes in and out of Texas.  About 70% of Uber Freight’s loads and drivers are based in Texas.  Similar to the ride-hailing app, Uber Freight allows truck drivers to pick up extra work when they want to. They also can find a job that fills up their truck on the way home.  Nearly 10% of the nation’s truck transportation workforce lives in Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has the third highest number of tractor-trailer drivers, trailing only New York and Chicago, according a recent study by Dallas consulting firm Site Selection Group, so Uber Freight will continue to be active in the North Texas trucking industry.

Flag_of_Plano,_TexasFrontgate –  On July 21st,  the choices for furniture shopping in North Texas improved with the opening of the flagship store of Frontgate in Plano’s Legacy West.   The luxury lifestyle brand already has more than 20,000 catalog customers in this area.  In total, today Frontgate sends monthly catalogs to 10 million affluent households, and its website has 25 million visitors a year.   The store has 21,337-square-feet with a covered 2,500-square-foot outdoor patio.  Inside, there’s a bistro area where customers can have a complimentary glass of wine, an espresso or a snack.   Frontgate has a another store in Atlanta similar to this north Texas store, and also has a handful of outlet stores.

 3.eia.logoElectricity Prices declining in Texas! – Shopping for electricity is becoming cheaper for most Texans, according to a new study from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.  About 85% of Texans can purchase electricity from several providers in a deregulated marketplace, while the remaining 15% must buy power from a single provider in their area.

The report from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which advocates for cities and local governments and negotiates their power contracts, pulls information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration to compare prices for Texans in the two models. 3.electric-632731_960_720Most Texans could begin choosing their electricity provider in 2002.  Between 2006 and 2015, average residential electric prices for Texans in a competitive market decreased by 17.4%, while average prices increased by 5.5% in the regulated areas.  Overall, the average price of electricity in Texas — including the price in the deregulated marketplace, for the third time in four years — was below the national average in 2015.  A separate study from Rice University – one that looked at different and more recent data – found that in 2016, both regulated and deregulated parts of Texas had electricity prices that were decreasing year over year, and cheaper than the national average.

4.homebuildersBuilders answering the demand for lower priced homes – Dallas-Fort Worth builders started 8,812 houses in the second quarter — the greatest quarterly building total since fourth quarter 2006, housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc. reports.   Builders sold 8,244 homes in the second quarter, up almost 13% from a year earlier, scaling a new peak in quarterly sales since the summer of 2007.  Starts during the period were 12% higher from second quarter 2016 — most of the rise in home construction came for houses priced under $300,000.  With the high demand for more lower priced inventory homes, the median price of new homes started in the area fell to $344,094, down from almost $352,000 a year earlier.  Higher land and materials costs, and a shortage of labor have inflated the price tag on new houses, however with brisk demand at prices under $500,000, builders are answering the need.  The biggest increases in starts during the quarter were in Celina, Southwest Fort Worth, Forney, Wyly, the Colony and Princeton.

 5.DFW.airport.parking.termDDFW Airport parking prices not expected to rise – For the first time in five years, there are no new parking rate increases planned at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.   The airport’s parking revenues are expected to remain flat in its next fiscal year as more customers choose to use services like Uber and Lyft instead of parking their cars at the airport. Currently, terminal parking costs $24 a day while parking at the express and remote lots costs between $10 to $15 a day.

DFW Airport receives fees from the car-for-hire services, which is becoming a larger percentage of the airport’s ground transportation revenues. The fees have grown from 6.5% in 2015 to an estimated 11.5% for 2018.

What’s The GOOD News?

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June 20, 2017


Toyota Plano – Starting May 15, 2017, the first wave of Toyota employees — mostly in facilities and information systems management — began working in the new 2 million square foot North American headquarters in Plano.  By December 11, 2017, about 4,000 Toyota employees will work in the 100-acre development.   The company plans to move in employees in waves of about 250, with a peak of about 350 during the summer. Construction is expected to officially end in October and the project is reported to have remained on schedule.

Forbes1Forbes 2017 Global 2000 List – The Forbes 2017 Global 2000 list of the world’s largest public companies was released in late May.  The list features public companies from 58 countries that together account for $35.3 trillion in revenue, $2.5 trillion in profit, $169.1 trillion of assets, and have a combined market value of $48.8 trillion. All four metrics are up from the 2016 ranking, with market capitalization up 10% from last year. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank are the #1 and #2 largest public companies in the world, with the top five rounded out by three American financial institutions: Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

AT&T has leapfrogged Exxon Mobil in Forbes’ 2017 Global 2000 list, taking over the perch as the largest public company in Texas.  The Dallas telecom giant moved up a spot to 11th in this year’s edition of the rankings, with Exxon dropping down to 13th from 9th in 2016.  Japanese automaker Toyota Motor comes in at the 10th spot on the list. Round Forbes4Rock-based Dell Technologies Inc. landed at No. 608 overall and No. 14 in Texas on Forbes’ list.  Dell has been privately owned since a 2013 buyout led by CEO and founder Michael Dell, but it has a tracking stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “DVMT.”  Overall, the U.S. earns 565 of the top 2,000 spots, with China grabbing 263 and Japan taking 229.   The three countries account for more than half the list.

 DFW1DFW International Airport – More than 18 million passengers are expected to travel through Dallas Fort Worth International Airport during the 2017 summer travel period — a projected increase of 3.5% over last year.   More than 65 million customers pass through DFW Airport every year, making it one of the most frequently visited super hub airports in the world. The airlines serving the DFW offer a total of 163 domestic and 55 international nonstop destinations worldwide, including new DFW2nonstop routes to Rome and Amsterdam.  DFW Airport plans to spend $400 million on infrastructure, including an August 2017 start date for a new north entry cellphone lot, a better baggage handling system at Terminal B, passenger boarding bridges and more employee parking over the next few years.

TreeHouse – Home improvement retailer TreeHouse, which opened in TreeHouse4Dallas Friday June 2nd, is the world’s first retail store to produce more energy than it uses. A Tesla power pack battery wall stores harvested solar energy to redistribute when needed, and to put excess back into the grid. All of its plants are native species and watered from harvested rainwater. The store uses daylight as much as possible, and cools by using Big Ass fans.

The Austin-based home improvement store sells products that fall into 3 categories: Performance – meaning energy efficient merchandise,EKO_symbol_cmyk windows, roofing, insulation; Design including paint, flooring, cabinetry, lighting; Landscaping including decking, irrigation, gardening.  Many products come from recycled materials, are free of toxins, are more sustainable or integrate automation for ease.  Inside the store, customers will also experience a live kitchen with local chefs demonstrating smart-home appliances, and two to three classes each week on topics like native landscaping.  The location is at the northeast corner of Interstate 75 & Walnut Hill Lane. The store will span 25,000 square foot, including 5,000 to 10,000 square feet for an outdoor landscaping section.  TreeHouse has also announced it will open a second North Texas location this fall at the corner of Preston Road and Park Boulevard in Plano, adjacent to a Whole Foods.

EpicWaters1New Epic Waters Waterpark – A new Dallas-Fort Worth Waterpark is set to make an EPIC Splash! The city of Grand Prairie announces their new $75M recreational facility that is slated to open in November of this year.  Epic Waters indoor waterpark is an indoor-outdoor venue with a retractable roof that’s open year round.

EpicWaters3The park will have nine water slides, including an outdoor wave pool, a lazy river, an activity pool, a children’s area, and an arcade. There will be cabanas, a full-service grill/bar, and private party/meeting areas, both indoor and outdoor. It’s part of The Epic recreation center, which will feature fitness equipment, indoor tracks, a digital library, and recording studio. The complex will also have a 5,000-seat amphitheater, and more than two miles of trails. Epic is the final phase of the 172 acre Grand Central recreational development.

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What Was The Good News For September 2016?


Grapevine’s Gaylord Texan Resort broke ground on September 8, 2016 on their $120 million expansion project.  Expected to be complete in 2019, the construction will add more than 300 new guest rooms and 86,000 square feet of meeting space, bringing the hotel’s total to 1,811 guest rooms and 490,000 square feet of meeting space.  The Grapevine property intends to compete for conventions and conferences as the 2nd largest hotel in Texas, right behind the Sheraton Dallas Hotel with 1,840 guest rooms.

Texas export volumes surpass other states by a substantial and growing margin, and the Houston metro area ranks No. 1 in the state merchandise exports, according to a report by The Perryman Group.Texas export shipments of merchandise totaled $251.1 billion in 2015. California ranked a distant second with $165.4 billion.  The goods from Texas were bound for more than 200 markets around the globe. In terms of industries, Texas’ largest export category was computer and electronic products, with $45.4 billion of the total merchandise exported last year. Petroleum and coal products exports were 2nd and added $44.1 billion in exports.  Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land topped the list with $119 billion, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington with $28.7 billion.

Amazon has announced an additional North Texas fulfillment center, marking the online retailer’s eighth Texas facility and big news for North Texas employment.  The Seattle-based firm already employs more than 10,000 full-time hourly associates at its current Texas fulfillment centers.  Amazon will move into an existing warehouse at DFW Airport in Coppell that will create 1,000 new jobs.  Employees at this new facility will pick, pack and ship larger customer items, such as big screen televisions, kayaks, and patio furniture.

The Charles Schwab Corp. will build a $100 million, 500,000-square-foot regional campus in Westlake that ultimately will bring 1,200 jobs to North Texas within 10 years.  The corporate complex will anchor a mixed-use development at the intersection of Texas 114 and Texas 170, where developers also plan a hotel, retail stores and residences.  Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that the project will get a $6 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund, creating the most new jobs of any enterprise fund grant made during his administration.


Flying burritos will soon be a reality over Virginia Tech. Chipotle is taking part in a test this month that will let some of the university’s students and staff  have their favorite tortilla-wrapped meal delivered by drone.Virginia Tech is conducting the test with Project Wing, a unit of Google owner Alphabet Inc., which makes self-flying devices that deliver food, medicine and other goods.  Chipotle’s burritos will be put together at a food truck and then loaded on a drone. The flights will take place at an undisclosed site on Virginia Tech property, but not at the main campus in Blacksburg, said Mark Blanks, director of Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.  “It’s real customers that are working and need lunch and want it delivered by drone,” Blanks said. Hundreds of flights and burrito deliveries are expected to take place over several days, Project Wing said.   It will just be burritos, though. Other menu items won’t be delivered by drone, said Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

What’s The Good News For October 2015?

The world’s largest 3-D printers will be able to construct disaster relief housing on site using only a minimal amount of power and locally available resources – like mud.  There have already been reports about 3-D printers “printing” the pieces of a building which can be shipped for assembly.  IN Rietti ITALY – Now, which is a company that builds 3D printers, has created a 40 foot tall, 20 foot wide printer that uses locally sourced, eco-friendly materials like clay or dirt to construct low-cost houses.

For example, a Chinese construction company used similar technology to construct modular homes and a design firm in Amsterdam is using robots to 3D-print a bridge over the Amsterdam Canal.

The massive machine basically consists of a metal frame with a nozzle in the center that rotates forming a structure layer by layer all while consuming very little energy.

54% of U.S. metros are on pace to reach an Eight-Year high in homes sales for the year 2015. A total of 1,947,028 U.S. single family homes and condos sold through August in 2015, up 5.4% from the same time period a year ago to the highest total for the first eight months of the year since 2007, when there were 2,069,963 sales. The 110 metro areas on pace for at least an eight-year high in home through August included Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California, Detroit, Seattle, Tampa, Minneapolis and Portland.  Out of the 204 local markets, 58 (28%) were on pace through August to reach nine-year highs in home sales in 2015, and 22 (11%) were on pace through August to reach 10-year highs.  The real estate market is HOT!

Toyota is developing 50 acres of land between Hilltop Road and FM 1830 west of Lantana as a corporate retreat center.  An extravagant 7-bedroom, 12,205 square-foot estate built in 2009 is the centerpiece of the property with plans to continue using horse stables and fishing ponds, while adding multiple buildings as lodging.  The site will also contain what is being described as a “recreational driving course.”   They expect to build a sound wall to surround the driving course, and the retreat center and driving course are expected to be ready for use by early 2017.


The development group behind Grandscape — a $1.5 billion mixed-use development anchored by the massive Nebraska Furniture Mart — has started construction on its next phase of the 400-acre project, a $45 million “boardwalk,” district. There will be an 11-acre manmade lake fronting a boardwalk filled with restaurants and retail.  Grandscape landed an 1,800-seat concert venue Lava Cantina along the boardwalk already, with 2 restaurants committed and another 5 restaurant commitments expected soon. Grandscape officials plan to keep the number of restaurants low in the immediate area to ensure there’s parking for restaurant-goers and areas for valet.


The housing shortage in North Texas has caused the region’s builders to boost new home starts in the 3rd quarter by 21.8% over 3rd quarter 2014 to help meet the demand caused by the influx of new jobs.  In the 3rd quarter, DFW homebuilders started 8,014 homes and closed on 6,811 new homes during that time, according to research by Dallas-based Residential Strategies Inc.  Even with the inventory under construction, the supply of homes in North Texas remains tight with approximately a 2.5 month supply.

5 Vacation Destinations That Will Increase Your Productivity

Backpacking in Mountains Summer - Scenic view in mountain meadow with tent and incredible mountain views.  Colorado, USA.

Taking a vacation is the most relaxing way to notably increase your productivity at work. Giving yourself a break is a proven productivity strategy that allows workers to decompress so they don’t become overwhelmed by stress. So why not really make the most of your time off?

If improved productivity is one of the end goals, these vacation destinations will inspire you to hit the ground running when you get back to the office.

 Historic Landmarks of Washington D.C.

Talk about a source of inspiration. The amazing feats our forefathers were able to accomplish will make any goal seem more attainable by comparison. As will to amazing monuments and museums that have been built to commemorate the greatest moments in American history.

Washington D.C. is also the most productive region of the country — just kidding, but really — seeing all those hard-charging pages could be the spark you need to tap into the passion that led you down your own career path.

 An All-Inclusive Resort or Cruise in the Bahamas

Burnout is often the source of productivity angst. Decision fatigue is a real thing that can drain your energy and make progress near impossible. Planning a vacation can seem like work in and of itself when a million decisions have to be made about where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and what you’ll do once you make it to your destination.

An all-inclusive resort or cruise to the Bahamas is the perfect solution for depleted decision makers. All you have to do is choose the resort or cruise and just about everything else is handled for you. When you take this type of vacation you don’t have to organize schedules or make arrangements. It gives you the refreshing sense that someone else is taking care of you.

Grab a seat in the shade of an umbrella, take in the spectacular views and let the resort or cruise bring the entertainment to you.

 Colorado Camping

Being out in the sun and natural surroundings is an immediate productivity booster. Studies from the University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and more have shown that the sounds and sights of nature, even from within an office, can increase productivity.

The majesty of the Rocky Mountains will certainly inspire creativity. The beauty of the towering tree-cover mountainside alone is a cognitive mood booster, but when you think about the men and women who carved out cities during the gold rush the area becomes even more impressive. The diverse landscape provides an array of activities from adventurous and rewarding activities like hiking a fourteener and white water rafting or more relaxing activities like lakeside reading.

There’s also the added benefit of being in a distraction-free environment. Electronics can become shackles that continually add to the to-do list, slow things down and make it impossible to take a break. Out in the mountains you can go completely au natural. Ditch the laptop and grab a notepad instead. When an inspiring ONE Thing moment strikes, jot it down or just keep a vacation diary to help ease your mind.

 Highly Productive Urban Environments

Seeing others hard at work is sometimes the motivation that you need to kick things into high gear. Metropolitans around the world are hubs for activity. The infectious feeling of importance is hard to ignore when you know millions of dollars are exchanging hands, hundreds of thousands of people are taking care of business and high rises are going up before your eyes.

The World Economic Forum and Bureau of Economic Analysis have gathered data that has helped to identify the most productive areas in the world. The top metros include:

  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Berlin, Germany
  • New York, New York
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • San Jose, California

 Awe-Inspiring Libraries

Libraries are naturally conducive for productivity because they are designed to increase focus. But if you visited the Library of Congress during your productivity trip to Washington, D.C. you know not all libraries are created equal. There are a number of libraries in North America that are architectural gems with much more to do than study.

The Central Library of Vancouver is an amazing indoor/outdoor space that is a modern version of the Roman Coliseum. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Library in New York City is a historic landmark that has made an appearance in many Hollywood films. The José Vasconcelos Library in Mexico is a “megalibrary” with over 409,000 peaceful square feet to explore.

Do you find that some vacation spots help spur more productivity than others? Share your experiences with us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

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Great press will continue to attract new jobs!  On May 22, 2015, MarketWatch released their rankings of the “Most Business Friendly Cities in the Country.”   MarketWatch scored the nation’s 100 largest metro areas — all with a population of more than 500,000 — on multiple metrics.   The DFW area ranked as the #1 most business friendly city.  The Dallas-area landed ahead of San Francisco, Seattle, Des Moines and Raleigh which rounded out the top 5.  MarketWatch ranked the cities on a combination score that factors in 23 factors including business climate, company performance, number of patents granted, transportation routes and economic outcome.

In early May, CEO Magazine’s 11th annual survey of the “Best States to do Business” was released and Texas topped the rankings for the 11th year in a row.  In the rankings, Texas was ahead of Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia which rounded out the Top 5. California was once again the worst state for a second year.  The rankings takes into account state GDP, unemployment, domestic migration, state government and state-local tax burden.

Argyle ISD is building its first new school campus since 2005.  They expect to open a new middle school for 6th,7th and 8th graders in August 2016, in the 6600 block of Canyon Falls Drive in Flower Mound’s Canyon Falls development. This will be a two level school built on a 107.5 acre site.

Located on the southeast corner of Chinn Chapel and FM 407 in Flower Mound, construction on the Highlands Plaza shopping center addition is moving along. Crews are working on the building facades and the patio overlooking the water feature in the rear is almost complete. Gloria’s Latin Cuisine is also one step closer to opening its doors after an application of permit filed May 15. The Table, Snap Kitchen, and Pie Five Pizza are a few of the other restaurants slated for inclusion in the development.


El Pollo Loco will be opening 7 locations in North Texas in 2016.  Based in Costa Mesa, California, El Pollo operates roughly 400 locations in five states, including 15 in Texas.  El Pollo Loco fast food restaurant creates flame-grilled, citrus-marinated chicken cooked in front of customers. The chicken is served whole or shredded into dishes such as burritos, quesadillas and tacos. For the health-conscious, there’s an Under 500 Calories menu, which includes salads, bowls, tostadas and quesadillas.


The National Association of Realtors reports that 40% of previously-owned homes sold went at or above the asking price for the month of April 2015.  That’s up from the 1/3 of all U.S. properties sold in March that went at or above asking price.  While inventory remains tight, home sales have now increased on a year-over-year basis for seven straight months.  NAR also reports that in April 2015, the share of homes purchased for all-cash was 24%, down from 32% one year ago.  Individual investors accounted for about 14% of home sales in April 2015, down from 18% in April 2014.

North Texas home prices jumped by 14% in May – one of the largest year-over-year gains ever for the area.  Home sales were up 6% from May 2014 with 9,484 properties sold.  National surveys show that the Dallas-Fort Worth area is seeing the largest annual home price gains in the country.  More homes sold and at higher prices = Good News.

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