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The Latest On The Dallas Real Estate Market

Good news for buyers, but not-so-good news for sellers—for now.
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Smart Shopper
Buyers can find some great deals in this dormant real estate market. Lucky for sellers, it looks as if there’s a revival on the horizon.

Bad news for those Realtors who put all their eggs in those $6 million baskets: Dallas real estate is sound asleep on the super-high end. Though I have heard that a few homes in the $3 million-plus price range closed in the last 60 days, including A-Rod’s house on Douglas. (The asking price was $4.7 million, but the sales price is undisclosed.)

Realtors say the biggest problem is that buyers are in a time warp. Offers are coming in up to $1 million under the asking price. “A lot of sellers are still living in 1998,” says Chari Singleton with Briggs-Freeman. “The buyers want bargains.”

Well, then, here’s a notice to bargain hunters: there are a lot of foreclosed homes on the market right now. North Texas homes posted for foreclosure in October were at the second-highest level this year, according to the Foreclosure Listing Service, a 48 percent increase over last year’s number. Scary.

Things might be sluggish all around, but more and more people in town are saying that change is in the air. Even my own broker is getting more positive about the stock market (it’s about time). Maybe buyers will start opening up those wallets again. Will this make interest rates go up? It could, but probably not by much; it’s an election year, after all.

Speaking of raising interest, have you noticed the change to Ebby Halliday’s signs? It might have been all attention-getting turmoil in the other firms lately, but calm reigns at EH, no doubt thanks to the precious Ebby herself. It’s tranquil, yes, but don’t go thinking things are slow over there. Our local EH is the largest independent real estate company in the state, and the ninth largest in the country. The company’s major new advertising and marketing campaign says, in effect, it’s all about Ebby. You go, girl; that’s the way to keep the competition at bay.

Another change at Ebby: Kyle Crews has left to join up with David Griffin, president of David Griffin & Company Realtors, to create subsidiary company Griffin/Crews & Associates to market multi-unit residential developments. DG&Co. started in 1982 and was heavily involved in revitalizing the Uptown area and creating Katy Trail. The boutique’s 60 agents have closed $200 million in sales this year. Kyle brings his residential development expertise to the table, including the tony Mayfair at Turtle Creek. His new plum au courant, which I have seen and love, is 1999 McKinney. The building sports huge 2,000-square-foot balconies, and—hurray!—that’s not taxable square footage. Kyle says it’s already 70-percent sold.

Still on the subject of new acquisitions, Dave Perry-Miller finally got himself a piece of the rock. No, not diamonds—though, tis the season, and we’d love an upgrade (hint, hint)—we’re talking solid granite and a sharp new player in Dallas nest-hopping real estate community.

Backtrack: in August, Heidi Holman, who ran Henry S. Miller for years before the sale to Coldwell Banker, was named president of Prudential Texas Properties. California-based Prudential Real Estate Network started buying up North Texas Prudential Texas Properties offices in October of 2001. This past September, they swept up Dave’s team, which has already closed more than $50 million since January. Bravo, Dave!

Looking ahead to 2004, I’ve been polling experts about property values in town, trying to get a handle on the factors that will affect what folks are willing to pay for a little piece (or huge slice) of Dallas. Appraiser D.W. Skelton says that, long-term, Dallas properties will appreciate, and quality has definitely trumped square footage. “Without a doubt,” he says, “the trend today is toward smaller houses.” When asked if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market, D.W. says, “Neither; it’s a borrower’s market.”

David Griffin thinks the new real estate catch phrase will be “proximity, proximity, proximity.” He predicts that the properties commanding the highest prices will be closest to the city’s cultural and arts districts, and properties around the American Airlines Center and—wait for it—Uptown will become more and more desirable. Hmm. David, I don’t know if it’s a trend, but it’d sure make a great ad campaign.

HOT PROPERTIES

3840 WINDSOR LN.: A gracious New Orleans-style house built by Doris and the late Harry Bass. (Doris now lives in a new Cy Barcus house.) Five bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, and pool on .49 acres on a cul-de-sac with a view. Realtor Carole McBride tells me that it’s been accessorized by William Lawrence, who did A-Rod’s home before it sold. $2.499 million, reduced from $3 million

6645 NORTHAVEN RD.: Trek through CC Allen’s listing and you’ll know why owner Dr. Beck Weathers wanted to climb Everest: 4,249 rambling square feet—all on one never-ending floor. Four bedrooms, three living areas, and 2.02 acres for only $1.199 million. This is the bargain of the year.

5839 WATSON AVE.: Buy this beauty in El Parado and have the benefit of being in Old Preston Hollow—glorious trees, high-profile neighbors, and Preston Center—without all of that pesky acreage (or property taxes). Listing agent Karen Fry tells me the house was built in ’85, so you might want to update kitchen counters, but not much else. $1.375 million

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