The Allie Beth Allman Allmanac is a weekly digest of real estate headlines from the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Texas and across the country.

March 15, 2018

First title transfer via Blockchain

DFW: Texas homeowners averaged almost a $9,000 gain in home equity in 2017, according to CoreLogic, Inc. Overall, home equity increased more than $900 billion nationwide. Just 1.3% of DFW homeowners now owe more on a loan than the property is worth. Economists forecast the rise in home equity wealth should add more than $50 billion to consumption spending over the next two to three years.

DFW: Developers finished 28,996 new apartments in 2017, making DFW the #1 rental market in the country, ahead of New York City, according to RealPage, adding that 2018 numbers will be nearly the same.

DFW: Commercial firm CBRE surveyed investors for the best property markets in 2018, and DFW was ranked second to Los Angeles. Some 88% intend to increase their holdings this year with interest in apartments and industrial buildings. Included in the top five markets were New York City, Seattle and San Francisco.

NYC: PropertyShark recently ranked the 100 wealthiest zip codes in the U.S., using census data. Ranked 26th was 75225; 38th was 75205; and 76092 was #65, comprising the only three North Texas locations in the list.

Allen: Money magazine ranks Allen as the second-best place in the U.S. to start a career. Last year, the publication ranked Allen second on its Best Places to Live list. The suburb, about to top 100,000 residents, is projecting a job growth rate of about 17% from 2016-2021.

Vermont: South Burlington, Vermont has recorded the first title transfer recorded via blockchain in the U.S. A startup called Propy began a pilot program with three towns in Vermont in January, pledging such a transaction through essentially a virtual ledger system that stores data across participants’ computers. The deal included a QR code to link the record on “the public Etherum blockchain.” Other real estate deals in the U.S. have involved paying with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, but blockchain was used only for the currency. In this instance, it was used as a system of record outside any digital currency.

CA: Google has announced it will ban ads that promote cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) beginning in June. Google joins Facebook in banning such ads “and other risky financial products.” The New York Times featured a recent, in-depth story about the enormous electrical power required by Bitcoin.

March 8, 2018

DFW sells the most homes in Texas

DFW: Despite increasing mortgage rates and home prices, North Texas home sales rose 10% in February over last year, reports the Dallas Morning News. Real estate agents sold 7,188 preowned single-family homes last month, the highest February sales total ever for the area, according to NTREIS data. For the first two months of 2018, agents sold 7% more homes than the same period in 2017. The biggest increase so far is for homes priced from $200,000-$250,000. More than 17,500 homes were listed for sale entering March, up 6% from last year, but still woefully low.

DFW: DFW had more home sales in 2017 than any Texas metro area, according to a new TAR report, accounting for about a third of all home sales in the state. More than 102,000 preowned single-family homes were sold in the DFW area, up 3% from 2016. Builders sold around 32,000 new homes. Statewide, 336,502 homes were sold, up 4% for the year. The report noted that almost a third of homes sold were between $200,000-$300,000. Almost a quarter of buyers were between 45-54 years of age. Economists say the housing recovery that started in North Texas almost eight years ago still has momentum.

Arlington: The 2,083-acre Viridian community, located west of SH 360 along the Trinity River, has started on a 141-acre neighborhood with about 500 houses for older residents. Homes start at more than $250,000. The Dallas Business Journal reports that the Woodcreek community in Rockwall will have nearly 400 new homes priced from the upper $200,000 range. The site is about seven miles northeast of Lake Ray Hubbard near I-30 east of Dallas.

Houston: Houston was the top apartment market in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, according to RealPage. Net leasing was almost 14,000 units as flooded residents sought higher ground. The city’s apartment rentals in that quarter accounted for almost a fourth of the entire nation’s leasing in the three month period. Economists predict the overall occupied apartment count will rise about 5,200 units in 2018. DFW will add close to 30,000 apartments in 2018. Houston anticipates about 7,800.

DFW: DFW is the state’s biggest hotel market, reports Source Strategies, raking in slightly over $3 billion in revenue in 2017. Austin posted the highest overall occupancy rate of 75% (DFW 70%). The hotel with the most revenue per-available-room per-night was Dallas’ Ritz-Carlton. The 1,511-room Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center took in the most overall revenue of nearly $89.1 million. Other Dallas hotels in the top five were the Hilton Anatole and the Omni Dallas.

March 1, 2018

Texan buys most expensive NYC home ever sold

DFW: Big D means Big Digs, the largest number of big houses for sale, according to Almost 40% of DFW homes listed are 3,000+ square feet, the survey showed, an increase in the last two years. One reason is that smaller homes sell as quickly as they come on the market. And with so much relocation from expensive markets in the West and Northeast, DFW housing dollars go further. The average new house built in the area is more than 3,000 square feet, compared with about 2,600 square feet nationwide.

McKinney: Collin County’s population is forecast to double before 2030 and surpass both Dallas and Tarrant counties by 2050 with 3.5 million residents. Tax incentives, good schools, public safety and corporate relocations, notably Toyota, lure families. As popularity grows, development has moved north from Plano to McKinney.

DFW: In 2017, DFW had more construction starts than any U.S. market except New York City, reports the Dallas Morning News. Some growth comparisons (in billions):
Construction: 2007 $13.9 vs 2017 $22.2
Office Space: 2007 5.9 sf vs. 2017 7.0 sf
Warehouse: 2007 14.7 sf vs 2017 26.8 sf
Shopping Center : 2007 3.8 sf vs 2017 3.2 sf
Apartments: (actual) 2007 15,123 vs 2017 47,700
Economists credit job and population growth for the steady increases without oversupply.

DFW: A California startup plans to renovate a local home and offer it for sale using bitcoin or etherum, according to a Dallas Business Journal report. The firm offers investors a chance to buy into a fund that is backed by the firm’s portfolio of fix-and-flip housing. The firm is built on etherum, a blockchain platform. According to, heaviest users are European males ages 25-34. The value of Bitcoin fluctuates by the second, causing a gap between the title company’s computer input and convert to U.S. dollars. Both parties must agree on some window of time, and if the value falls outside the agreed parameters, they walk away. Because cryptocurrencies are so new, payment service providers are emerging to convert bitcoins into dollars to mitigate risk.

Austin: Michael Dell has bought the most expensive home ever sold in New York City — a $100.45 million penthouse at 157 W. 57th Street, the 1,004-foot-tall, glass first “supertall” building. The 10,923-square foot home sold for about $9,200/sf and spans the 89th and 90th floors. The contract was entered 2012 and closed in December, 2014, through a limited liability company for privacy. In November, he entered a contract for a penthouse in what will be a record sale in Boston’s new tallest residential tower. Dell, with a worth exceeding $20 billion, also has a four-story ocean front home on the island of Anguilla; an 18,500-square foot home in Kukio Hi, Hawaii, valued around $70 million, plus an adjoining six acres that includes a Four Seasons Hotel (owned with Rob Walton), a 33,000-square foot home in Austin (possibly the most expensive residence in Texas); and nearby a 6,380-square foot ranch house overlooking Lake Austin.

February 16, 2018

DFW tops as a moving experience

DFW: North Texas home sales continued their 2017 upward trend, up 12% in January, but price increases were 5% compared to 15% a year ago. MLS data show agents sold 6,246 single-family homes in January, the most ever. Condo sales totaled 414, up 10%. More than 17,000 homes were listed at month’s end, still less than a two-month supply.

DFW: The Bishop Arts District is rapidly becoming the center of redevlopment for that neighborhood south of downtown Dallas. At the intersection of Davis Street and Zang Boulevard, 302 luxury apartments are being built, with about 24,000-square feet of retail including a variety of restaurants. The project will comprise two buildings, 5-6 stories, with varied exteriors along Zang and Beckley. Across the street, a 220-unit project in two buildings will open with more than 20,000-square feet of shopping. Nearby at Bishop and Melba, two retail buildings are under construction, with 246 rental units to follow.

DFW: In the 2018 Texas Relocation Report, DFW had the largest gains in out-of- state residents. Each of North Texas’ four counties were top-ranked, the assemblage landing 125,796 new residents in 2016, according to the latest data. Texas brought in 531,996 new residents, ranking #2 in the U.S. and the fourth consecutive year attracting more than 500,000 from out of state. Most new Texans came from California, followed by Florida, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Illinois.

NYC: Foreign investors, assigning importance to the potential for wealth and security, believe the U.S. offers both of those more than any other country in 2018, according to the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate. A new high was reached in 2017 for foreign buys above $1 million, topping $7.48 billion, up 72% from the prior year. 44% were all cash deals. The most transactions were in Miami, Los Angeles and Manhattan. 80% of luxury Miami real estate is owned by foreign buyers. The top ve countries are Canada, the U.K., China, Mexico and India. Singapore recently surpassed China in U.S. property investment, as China now subjects all foreign transactions to scrutiny.

LA: Billionaire businesswoman Oprah Winfrey is a real estate investor, among other pursuits. Some of her prized properties are a $29 million, 24-acre horse ranch, Seamair Farm, in Montecito, California, plus a 40-acre, $50 million 23,000-square foot home nearby. She also owns a $14 million, 9,000-square foot home on 3.2 acres in Telluride, Colorado, plus another $11 million, 60-acre site adjacent to the Telluride ski resort. Her Maui mansion is on 163 acres, and in the Bahamas her home is a $15 million beachfront on Paradise Island.