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The recession is in the rearview mirror, and North Texas real estate developers are moving forward with new deals.
Office and warehouse construction is picking up. Apartment building shows no sign of a slowdown. Even the housing market, which has recovered by fits and starts, has turned the corner in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The combination of solid job growth and an increasing population fueled strong demand for all types of real estate in 2012.
And the outlook for next year is just as sanguine — assuming the folks in Washington don’t put the economy in reverse.
Biggest game changer:
Three blocks of bushes, trees and lawns erased the canyon dividing downtown Dallas from Uptown.
And by blurring the line between Dallas’ hottest real estate market and the older central business district, the park over Woodall Rodgers Freeway should be a big boost for downtown’s renaissance.
The public-private sector project will spur real estate development and investment in the area for decades to come.
Since stumbling out of the starting gates, Dallas’ Victory Park project is getting its second wind.
Construction of hundreds of apartments and more office and retail tenants should bring a flood of folks into the development on the northwest corner of downtown.
After years of making headlines because of store closings, foreclosures and loan defaults, Victory Park is set to generate some good news in the year ahead.
Highest sales price:
The recent sale of the 12-story Encana Oil & Gas tower in West Plano set a record for office building transactions.
The new high-rise sold for $120 million, an eye-popping $376 per square foot — head and shoulders above other recent first-class office sales in North Texas.
Cole Real Estate Investments paid top price for the building because of its prime tenant and high-profile location on the Dallas North Tollway.
Biggest building boom:
You’d be wrong if you thought the apartment building binge was running out of gas.
More than 20,000 apartments are under construction in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, more than in any other U.S. market.
And developers show no sign of easing up when it comes to new deals.
Current apartment building totals still come nowhere close to what they were in the 1980s, when more than 45,000 units were completed in just one year.
Greatest market comeback:
After several false starts, the Dallas-Fort Worth home market took off in 2012 with higher prices and a double-digit increase in sales.
The number of houses on the market in North Texas has fallen to its lowest point in more than a decade.
And home foreclosures are down substantially.
Homebuilders are having a hard time keeping up with demand because of a pinch on building lots and labor.
Brightest addition to skyline:
This rapier-thin, pearlescent high-rise is one of the most striking additions in decades to the downtown skyline.
The deluxe condo is just the kind of development Arts District planners envisioned when they planned the neighborhood.
But a nasty catfight over reflections cast by the tower has clouded Museum Tower’s impact on the market.
Biggest office tenant:
Illinois-based State Farm Insurance has gobbled up enough office space in the Dallas area this year to fill a good-size downtown high-rise.
State Farm leased an entire office building in Richardson, then rented two more in Las Colinas.
Now the insurance giant has signed on to be the anchor office tenant in a $1.5 billion mixed-use project in the Telecom Corridor.
Biggest loss: Downtown’s Thomas Building
Dallas’ grand old Thomas Building was built as a palace for a cotton tycoon.
The 88-year-old building on Wood Street was prized by preservationists for its decorative stone-and-brick exterior and storied past. But after sitting empty for years, the landmark was imploded in November to make more room for parking cars.
Biggest boost for southern Dallas County:
After several years of almost no building, North Texas industrial development is surging back with new deals.
And most of them are along the Interstate 20 corridor in southern Dallas County.
Major distribution centers have been announced for Quaker Oats and cosmetics maker L’Oreal Group.
And more projects are pending for companies including automaker BMW.
Greatest potential for 2013:
After a long drought, office developers are poised to crank out new buildings starting next year.
Most of the construction starts will be in Dallas’ Uptown district and along the Dallas North Tollway in Collin County. Less than half of what’s being talked about will probably get built. But with the local economy heating up, prime office space will soon be in short supply in some business districts.
Source: Steve Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: 27 December 2012 09:48 PM
1. Do your research!
Knowledge, especially in the real estate industry is more than half the battle. Before you jump to the more exciting part such as house visits, make sure you have a working knowledge of the real estate market.
Know the differences between mortgages and moulding, so you won’t be clueless about what your broker is talking about. Having enough knowledge would also make you more attuned to reading between the lines of real estate listings.
Lastly, know what you want in a house. Knowing exactly what you’re looking for saves a lot of time and effort.
2. Make sure you can afford it
While you might have scraped up enough savings for the down payment, make sure you have enough monthly income for the mortgage and other hidden payments.
Buying a home is not something to scrimp on, so make sure you have more than enough cash on hand just in case your dream house is selling for a slightly steeper price than what you have projected.
3. Don’t be in a hurry
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your dream house can’t be found in a short time either. Resign yourself to the fact that several of your weekends might have to be allotted for open houses and house visits with your broker.
Don’t look for a house to invest in when you desperately need one too. My suggestion is to rent for the time being so you won’t feel pressured to plunk your money down in an investment that you don’t love.
4. Start with your current networks
Before attacking the real estate section of your city’s newspaper, casually ask friends or families if they know of any houses for sale. Usually the recommendations of people close to you are more trust worthy that the best worded ad in the paper.
Asking your networks would also alert you to some hidden gems that might be selling at a bargain. So inform your friends and family once you are thinking of investing in real estate, their tips might prove to be invaluable to your hunt.
5. Go for the long haul
It doesn’t make sense to invest in a property that you can only see yourself living in for a short span of time. Make sure to consider not just your present needs but also future ones such as an extra bedroom for your future kids.
Another option for finding properties that are too good to pass up is to buy it then have it rented out, just make sure you have the money to spare in case you won’t find renters immediately.
6. Ask for help from someone more experienced
Having a real estate agent is costly, but it’s definitely worth the investment if you are a newbie to the real estate market. Just make sure to hire an agent that is trustworthy and has your best interests at heart.
Once you’ve hired an agent, don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions because that’s what they’re there for. Chances are, they would even appreciate your proactivity in looking for a house and will be more inclined to help you out.
7. Buy what you love
This is a no brainer. Make sure you are positively head over heels in love with a house before signing the contract. This love for your new home will be what will fuel you to make all those monthly payments at the bank.
8. Check out your neighbors and the rest of the community
Remember that you aren’t just buying the house in isolation, you are also buying into the whole community as well. Make sure that your neighbors are people you are comfortable with and that their lifestyles won’t clash with yours.
Having great neighbors is a priceless asset in the city, so make sure that you can readily make friends with the couple next door to borrow an extra cup of sugar or when you need an emergency baby sitter.
9. Accessibility is gold in the city
Even if you find the perfect house, it’s a bummer if you can’t spend time in it because your daily commute takes more than a couple of hours. Be realistic and find a home that is near your workplace and all the other places you’re used to going to.
10. Read the fine print
Lastly, don’t get caught up in the excitement of being a homeowner at last. Read everything that you sign and speak up if there’s something that sounds fishy in the contract.
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