Dallas is in love with real estate. Hearts long reserved for the Giant gusher have been given to the multimillion-dollar land play near Lewisville. Because of our fantasy, real estate has become almost synonymous with the Dallas economy. Not so, say economists and writers Weinstein and Gross of SMU’s Center for Enterprising. They call that concept “the tail wagging the dog.”
Whether tail or dog, real estate is a vital part of the city’s economic anatomy. And there is growing concern over the general state of its health. Are bankers, brokers and developers besotted with land deals leading us toward a Houstonian overbuilding crisis that may last six or seven years, as Weinstein and Gross suggest? Or is contributing editor Scott Bennett closer to the mark in depicting a brief downturn as harmless as a lovers’ spat?
In this special report D looks at the city’s real estate industry from several angles: from the heart of downtown’s West End, which throbs despite the down cycle, and from the Sunbelt north, through several Dallas developers who have found fertile playing fields elsewhere. There’s no clear consensus on the state of Dallas’ romance with real estate, unless it is this: The honeymoon may be over, but the love affair is going strong.