July 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 trucking 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.
Frontgate – 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.
Electricity 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. Most 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.
Builders 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.
DFW 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.