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.

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WHAT’S THE GOOD NEWS? APRIL EDITION!

13,000 insurance industry jobs are headed to North Texas.  That’s how many combined insurance industry positions are being created in Plano and Richardson by Boston-based Liberty Mutual and Illinois-based State Farm. Both companies are in the process of moving major operations into North Texas.  Texas data speaks volumes to the insurance companies. The pot is huge: Texas residents paid $15 billion in auto insurance premiums last year, $7 billion in homeowners premiums and $10.5 billion in life insurance premiums.

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The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 4.2% in March 2015, the lowest mark in nearly eight years.  Flower Mound’s unemployment rate was 3.7%, while the nationwide jobless rate was 5.5% in March.

Allen is now ready to kick off its $85 million convention center and hotel complex. The city of Allen and the Allen Economic Development Corp. are providing the 6.7-acre construction site for the hotel.  The convention center complex will be located at North Central Expressway at Bethany Drive, across the street from the Watters Creek shopping and apartment development. The hotel will have 290 rooms, and the convention center will include 64,000 square feet of meeting space.

Foreclosure activity in the U.S. was at an eight-year low in the first quarter of 2015, despite an increase in activity in March, according to the most recent foreclosure report from real estate data company RealtyTrac. The number of residential properties with a foreclosure filing — default notice, scheduled auction or bank repossession — decreased about 8% from the first quarter of 2014. The 313,487 properties in foreclosure are the fewest in the market since the first quarter of 2007.  CoreLogic supports that good news agreeing that the current foreclosure rate of 1.4% is the lowest since March of 2007, and the foreclosure inventory has declined every month for the past 40 months. Foreclosures have dropped by 67% from the peak of completed foreclosures in September 2010.

Vacation home sales rose 57% last year over 2013, to 1.3 million properties, well above their most recent peak level in 2006, according to National Association of Realtors. In fact, vacation home sales accounted for 21% of all real estate transactions last year, their highest market share since the survey was first conducted in 2003.  The same recently released survey by NAR showed that investment home sales in 2014 decreased 7.4% to an estimated 1.02 million in 2014 from 1.10 million in 2013. Investment sales made up 19% of all transactions in 2014, down from 20% in 2013.

Amazon.com is expanding their DFW presence again!  There now will be its newest distribution center in North Texas, this time in southern Dallas.  The facility would employ 500 to 900 people, and will join the Coppell and Haslet distribution centers in North Texas.  Amazon has also leased a big office block at Dallas’ Galleria complex.  Amazon has rented 88,615 square feet of office space in the Two Galleria Tower, planning to occupy about five floors next door to the Galleria shopping mall. And of all of this supports Amazon’s one-hour delivery now available in 35 DFW area zip codes.  Amazon expanded its rapid delivery program to parts of Dallas, Irving, Coppell, Plano, Flower Mound, Frisco, Grapevine, The Colony and Lewisville.  The website added a friendly “Howdy, Texas!” drop down to explain that it is “now delivering to even more Dallas ZIPs.”

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REAL ESTATE JARGON, EXPLAINED!

It pre-dates “textese” and pager codes, but even to individuals familiar with those modern informal languages, real estate lingo may still be incomprehensible.

There are two types of real estate slang: the acronyms used in ads (of which there are over 6,000) and the daily jargon used by real estate industry professionals in their work. If this is your first real estate rodeo, let’s bring you up to speed on what you may hear coming from the mouth of your real estate agent.

Contingency: It’s surprising how many real estate professionals throw this word around as if everyone knows what it means. “Don’t forget, we have to remove that contingency,” might just as well mean “I need to see a podiatrist for something growing on my foot.”

A contingency is simply a clause in the contract that puts off the terms of the contract until another event occurs. Think of it as saying: “This contract isn’t enforceable unless X occurs by such-and-such a date.” Common contingencies include the sale of your current home, obtaining a firm offer of financing, the home appraising for at least the loan amount, and acceptable inspection results.

CC&Rs: Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are the governing documents of a homeowners association. They set forth what are known as deed restrictions – which include how the association operates and the rules and regulations that all homeowners must follow. Although that sounds pretty straightforward, these are important documents that may be challenging to read through.

CID: A Common Interest Development is a combination of individual ownership of property and property held and managed in common among all the individual owners. CID might describe a condominium, planned community or cooperative – any development where the individual owns the unit and shares ownership in the common areas.

Closing Costs: The fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction are known as closing costs. These costs vary, and some are negotiable and may be paid by the buyer, the seller or both.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis. A research report compiled by a real estate agent that analyzes a segment of the housing market to determine the market value of a particular property.

Escrow Impound Account: You will be asked to prepay taxes and insurance when you close on a home. This money goes into an escrow impound account and is used to ensure that these bills are paid on time. Not all mortgages require an escrow impound account, and if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent or less, you may be able to have this requirement waived and sometimes the lender will charge you for this.

FHA and HUD: The Federal Housing Administration is an office overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Many Americans assume that “FHA loans” are loans actually granted by this agency. They’re not. The FHA guarantees the repayment of the loan granted by a conventional lender.

GFE: Good Faith Estimate. A form supplied by the lender that itemizes the terms and costs of the loan for which you have applied.

HOA: Homeowners Association. This is the governing body of a common interest development. It is made up of a board of directors, elected by the homeowners.

HOI: Homeowner’s Insurance. This is required by the lender and it protects the property from hazards such as theft and fire. It also covers your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries on your property, including those caused by pets that live in the home.

HUD-1 Settlement Statement: An itemized list of services and fees charged to the borrower by the lender. By law, the borrower is given at least 24 hours before closing to inspect the HUD-1.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service. A database on which listing brokers share information about properties for sale with other agents. The information contained in the MLS is proprietary and typically not available to the general public.

PITI.: Pronounced “pee-tee,” this acronym stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance, which, combined, make up your monthly mortgage payment.

PMI: Short for private mortgage insurance, a policy paid for by the borrower but benefitting the lender. Lenders typically require PMI when the loan-to-value ratio exceeds 80 percent.

PUD: Planned Unit Development. These developments are designed to offer amenities and conveniences not found in conventional subdivisions. They are typically governed by a homeowners association. Some PUDs are a mix of residences and retail operations.

REALTOR®: Many consumers assume that all real estate agents are Realtors®. This isn’t true. A real estate agent must be a dues-paying member of the National Association of Realtors® to legally use the term REALTOR®. (The association requires the registered trademark symbol be used with the term.)

Title Insurance: There are two types of title insurance policies. One covers a buyer’s interest in real property. The second type protects the lender. Title insurance is necessary to protect your interest from other claims of ownership.

TDS: Transfer Disclosure Statement. This describes a form that is filled out by the seller and given to the buyer as part of the disclosure process. The TDS contains a list of questions that must only be answered by the seller (not by his or her agent). Some of these questions are about the condition of the property and whether or not the seller has knowledge of any major repairs made to the house and items on the property, such as burglar alarms, sump pumps and even rain gutters.

VA Loan: A mortgage offered to U.S. service members, veterans and sometimes spouses that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Zero-lot line: When a home sits right on the lot’s boundary, with little or no space between homes, it is said to have a zero-lot line.

WHAT WAS THE GOOD NEWS FOR DECEMBER?

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The first-ever College Football Playoff national championship game, which is expected to have an economic impact of $308 million, is ready to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.  There are 3 fan events linked to the championship game: Playoff Fan Central is at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Jan 9 – 11 and on Friday, January 9th at 8:00pm CMT’s Ultimate Kickoff Party will air live & will feature country superstars Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Big & Rich and Brett Eldredge.; Playoff Playlist Live! is a family friendly music event on Janury 10-11 at American Airlines Center featuring headline performers Lenny Kravitz and Sting; Championship Tailgate is free for game ticket holders and is at the stadium, with fans enjoying the ESPN broadcast sets and a music from the Zac Brown Band.

VivaAerobus has announced that they will be launching service from DFW Airport to 3 Mexican cities -– Guadalajara, its home base of Monterrey, and Cancun.  Plans for next year have flights to Guadalajara and Monterrey beginning March 28 and Cancun starting in July.  The schedule that VivaAerobus shows will start out with three flights a week to Guadalajara on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays, and two flights a week on Tuesday and Saturdays to Monterrey.  VivaAerobus is considered a low cost option and is gaining market share in Mexico.

Fort Worth came in as the top big city in the nation for population growth between 2000 and 2013, boasting a 42.34% increase.  The U.S. Census Bureau released a ranking of the fastest-growing large cities for percentage population growth between 2000 and 2013 on December 4, 2014 – and Fort Worth was at the top of the list when ranked against 30 other cities with populations of 500,000 or more in the year 2000.  Austin, which came in third, had 27.45% growth and #4 on the list, San Antonio, experienced 18.73% growth .  El Paso ranks No. 5 on the list expanding its population by 17.2%.   Houston ranked No. 14 with a 9.2% population gain, and Dallas was ranked 24th with 2.83% population growth.  Charlotte, NC  ranks #2 on the list, growing by 40%.   Interesting to note the New York added the most people — 260,721 — but only grew 3.26%.

After a decades-long relationship with the city of Fort Worth, Tarleton State University plans to build a new campus to anchor a massive 2,000-plus acre development in southwest Fort Worth alongside the newly completed Chisholm Trail Parkway.   The 80-acre campus will be half the size of its main campus in Stephenville, which is about 70 miles southwest of Fort Worth.   Close to 3,000 students, of Tarleton’s total enrollment of 11,681, currently come from Tarrant County.  If built, the school would be the first public university in Fort Worth.   The new university is subject to funding from the state, so stay tuned for updates.

Medical waste recycler Renew Blue Industries will open a new facility in Sherman, creating more than 100 jobs and providing new disposal options for the growing medical industry in DFW.  Renew Blue, a company that recycles nonhazardous medical waste plastics, will begin operations in the former Sherman Manufacturing facility in February 2015.  The company primarily recycles a polypropylene plastic cloth commonly called “blue wrap” into plastic pellets, and projects that the facility will eliminate about 10 million pounds from North Texas landfills per year.