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Another Reason Amazon Might Steer Clear of Dallas

| 4 days ago
Lucy Billingsley interviewed Jim Clifton at TREC’s Bank of Texas Speaker Series.

Dallas’ rising residential rental costs could hurt its chances of landing Amazon’s second headquarters.

Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup, a research-based global consulting firm, says that, given the wages it pays, the e-commerce giant will likely plant the headquarters in a city that can offer its employees housing costing between $600 and $800 a month. He offered his opinion on the matter at The Real Estate Council’s Bank of Texas Speaker Series, which was moderated by Lucy Billingsley, on Thursday.

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Leading Off

Leading Off (12/21/17)

| 4 weeks ago

Former Hicks Estate Sells for $36.2 Million. A local developer—Mehrdad Moayedi, CEO of Centurion American Development Group—bought the 25-acre North Dallas property on Walnut Hill Lane. He plans to preserve the original house and build other luxury homes elsewhere on the land.

Suspected Bank Robber Arrested in East Dallas. The man was arrested yesterday near North Hall and Live Oak streets and is suspected of robbing four banks in the last two days. The robberies took place at Compass Bank on Oak Lawn, Compass Bank on Abrams, Chase Bank on Marsh, and Wells Fargo on Northwest Highway.

More Flu-Related Deaths in Dallas County. This could be one of the county’s worst flu seasons. A 73-year-old and an 80-year-old died from complications with the flu. “Right now it looks to be a real serious flu season, and so we need to make sure everyone practices steps for prevention. We’re seeing an increase in our flu cases, so that is a concern,” said Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department. Almost 400 people have been hospitalized for the flu since September in Dallas County. Stay healthy, people.

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Real Estate

T. Boone Pickens Will No Longer Be Shooting Hoops at Mesa Vista Ranch

| 2 months ago

Tim Rogers is somewhat skeptical about the sale of T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Vista Ranch, wondering why you would part with a custom-built Shangri-La that sits on top of the largest aquifer in North America and is permitted for 40,000 acre-feet of water rights. I’ll take Pickens at his word when he says it’s because he can’t see well enough to hunt or golf or enjoy the property anymore. Six years ago, I had the opportunity to board his private jet at Love Field for a day trip to tour it. While my former boss and Pickens shared stories about Ted Turner, wistfully discussing his four-girlfriend arrangement (a different one for every week of the month) and enjoying the schadenfreude of his occasional scheduling snafus, I pressed my nose to the window like a kid to watch the ranch unfold below.

Back then, Pickens was still driving his Cadillac Escalade along the ranch’s dirt roads and he chauffered me around, pointing out pioneer grave sites while getting constant stock updates on his phone. At the time, he was also still married to Madeleine. She’s the one responsible for packing up and moving his childhood home, built by his grandfather in Holdenville, Oklahoma, onto the property. When they put the pieces back together, she even made sure they mounted the basketball hoop on the garage. Pickens told me the driveway at the original homesite, which served as the court, was a good 6 inches off the ground, so he would launch himself off the curb when taking shots so no one could block him.

The whole place was clearly a labor of love, but Pickens told me on the tour that, like Warren Buffett, he believes inherited wealth is inherently destructive, so he had already decided that when the ranch is sold the proceeds will go to his foundation. He also said the sale would come with a condition: he expected the shortlist of potential buyers to attend his funeral

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Real Estate

GOP Tax Bill Will Likely Sting Middle Class Dallas Homeowners

| 2 months ago
A percentage of the homes paying at least $10,000 in property taxes in North Texas. (Data courtesy ATTOM Data Solutions)

Weeks ago the Republican-led tax overhaul began its march toward the sea. Based on the property tax deduction cap alone, the bill will have an outsized impact on Texas homeowners. Under the House bill, a Dallas area home worth just $435,000 would hit the $10,000 cap for property tax deductions. Data collected from ATTOM Data Solutions breaks that down into the raw numbers above this paragraph. On average between the four North Texas counties, 10 percent of homes will surpass the limit once the bill is signed into law.

Northern Dallasites may be surprised it’s as low as that. But here’s the problem. How many would have been at the cap five years ago? How many of us will be at the cap in five years? The Republican plan appears to have no formula for increasing the cap ceiling as home values increase.

We’ve seen this conundrum in Hawaii. Several years ago, the state changed its property tax rates to jump at $1 million. The purpose was to tax owners of a second home who tended toward more expensive residences. That change included no mechanism for adjusting the $1 million cap as home value increases. With the median house on Oahu costing $752,000 in October 2017, a lot of locals are being swept up in higher property taxes that were actually meant to exclude them. Each year it gets worse; cries to adjust the ceiling have so far fallen on deaf ears.

In Dallas, we’ve seen softness in the upper tier of real estate for well over a year. Sapping the ability to fully deduct property taxes will surely impact that already tougher end of the market. “Boo-hoo for rich people” you may be thinking, but how many buyers on the cusp of the cap will scale back purchases because of it? How many will try to give themselves breathing room that will hasten a pull-back into even lower tiers of the market that are already red hot?

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Real Estate

T. Boone Pickens Puts Mesa Vista Ranch up for Sale

| 2 months ago

You know it’s a big deal when the Wall Street Journal agrees to treat a real estate listing as news. Have a look. Pickens spent five decades assembling Mesa Vista’s 64,809 acres and building all its houses and airports and aqueducts and unicorn stables. The $250 million asking price makes it one of the country’s most expensive private properties on the market.

I have two questions about this listing. First one: why is he selling it? The WSJ quotes from a statement released by Pickens: “Selling the ranch is the prudent thing for an 89-year-old man to do. It’s time to get my life and my affairs in order. There are many reasons why the time is right to sell the ranch now, not the least of them ensuring that what I truly believe is one of the most magnificent properties in the world winds up with an individual or entity that shares my conservation beliefs.” I guess I’ll take him at his word. Pickens is built from different stuff than I am. If I’d spent more than half my life putting together one of the most magnificent properties in the world, I’d enjoy it till my death.

Second question: after his moves with the Hicks and Crow estates, does Andy Beal have any dry powder left?

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Politics

Collin County Is a Leader in the Self-Segregation of the American Population

| 5 months ago

It’s a truism that has almost become a cliche: America is a country that is deeply divided, and the two sides of its political spectrum no longer know how to talk to each other. But has it gotten to the point where some parts of the country are simply uninhabitable for people who hold certain political beliefs?

Some people apparently think so. NPR reported over the weekend on a McKinney-based relocation service that is helping conservatives in more liberal enclaves, like California, find a home in ideologically safer territories. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the leader of the pack for conservatives looking to flee the left coast is booming Collin County, where Republican, former Californian, and failed congressional candidate Paul Chabot runs conservativemove.com, a relocation service that promise to “help families move right.” Here’s how Chabot describes his mission to NPR:

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Home & Garden

Nine Lessons Learned While Finding the Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas

| 6 months ago

For a decade now, D Home has taken it upon ourselves to shed light on the 10 most aesthetically-pleasing dwellings in Dallas. (It’s a tall order, but somebody had to do it.) Now, with the addition of our latest installment, we’ve given the honor of “10 Most Beautiful” to 100 stunning—and very different—homes.

To celebrate, we’re giving you, dear reader, a chance to pick the cream of the pretty crop over on our 10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas Competition. You can look at lovely houses, click on them, and have your voice heard. It’ll be fun! After all, isn’t the only title at 750 North St. Paul that gets to dive into the booming real estate market.

For even more “10 Most Beautiful” fun, we compiled a few lessons learned from our years on the road.

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Real Estate

I Researched the Best Dallas Neighborhoods and You’ll Never Believe What Happened

| 7 months ago

When my wife and I first moved to Dallas 13 years ago, the directive to our real estate agent was simple: we want old, we want trees, we want easy access to DFW Airport (where my wife was going to work), we don’t want to spend a lot of money, and we never want to move again. Oh, and we’ve got one week to look.

The real estate agent took us to one neighborhood, Oak Cliff. We looked at three houses on Saturday; we made an offer on the third home, a 1924 bungalow, the following day. It was a for-sale-by-owner, so things got dicey for a minute when the artsy owner insisted on moving into the guest house for a month or two after we closed, but ultimately we didn’t care. We had old, we had trees, and we were never going to move again.

Thirteen years later, we have to use an upholstery clip remover to jimmy the front door so that it will lock because the foundation has shifted. The window blinds have started to fall apart on the living room window where rain leaks in, which in the big scheme of things doesn’t matter so much because we rarely sit in the living room due to the gale-force winds that blow through the original single-pane pulley windows. The rear screen door resembles a bear attack after the neighborhood stray cats decided to use it to sharpen their claws. And yet, our house has nearly doubled in value.

So when the editorial team was researching the city’s best neighborhoods for our Great Places to Live feature, I was sorely tempted.

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Real Estate

Is Dallas’ Housing Market Cooling Off?

| 7 months ago

They are workers relocating from Southern California, following employers like Toyota and Jacobs Engineering. They are college graduates moving from the Midwest to start careers in what is, reportedly, the country’s best city in which to find work. They are highly skilled immigrants from India capitalizing on a demand for tech workers. They are people from the East Coast who are simply tired of schlepping through slush every winter. They keep coming to Dallas, waves and waves of them, all looking for places to live. Looking and buying and boosting prices.

Almost 800,000 people have come to the Dallas area since 2010, more people than live in Washington, D.C. Almost 86,000 moved here last year alone. Add the deaths and births, and last year the Dallas area’s population increased by 143,000. That made Dallas the No. 1 place in the nation for population growth in 2016.

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