I recently chatted with Bob Morris, executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas. Morris is the go-to man for information about the building industry—both local and national. “Every day I read about the sub-prime crisis in The Dallas Morning News,” I said. “Is North Texas really in ‘crisis’?”
The answer was unequivocal: No. Nationally, Morris said, there are challenges (a nice word for problems), but locally, we are in pretty good shape. I was relieved. Those of us in the home industry are sensitive to indexes relating to home sales, real estate transactions, and new construction inventory. But as Morris walked me through the numbers, Dallas-Fort Worth looked solid. The men and women voted “Best Builders 2008” agree. While the pace of new construction has slowed somewhat, builders of fine homes are not even a little bit panicked. (Please see the full list of these exceptional builders.)
Real estate sales also seem to be holding steady. As reported by Altos Research in February 2008, Dallas was one of three cities (along with New York City and Phoenix) where residential real estate prices either remained flat or increased, while every other major city in the country experienced declines. And if real estate at this moment is more or less business as usual, the world of home design is on fire. In January, when I walked into Wildman Art Framing to pick up a newly (and beautifully) framed painting, I asked if business had slowed as it always does just after the holidays. “That’s the odd thing,” I was told. “We are still operating at the holiday pace. Business is excellent.” Meanwhile, chic retail stores are opening all over the city. And at D Home’s “Best Designers” party, designers were talking about new clients and a rash of second home projects. “It’s getting almost impossible to keep up,” one designer told me. Nice problem to have. In a “recession.”
None of this is to gloat about our city, but rather to say that it appears by every indication that for the time being, we are on solid ground. If the recession talk makes us more prudent, that’s a good thing. If it means we eat at home a little more often, that’s even better. Although we deal in words and pictures at D Home, right now it is time to look at the numbers. And the numbers tell us all is well for now.
Enjoy this issue and let me hear from you.
President, D Magazine Partners