MetroTex Education Wins State Awards

The Houston Association of REALTORS®, Austin Board of REALTORS®, San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, MetroTex Association of REALTORS® and Collin County Association of REALTORS® won education awards during Winter Meeting.

MetroTex was recognized by the Texas Association of REALTORS with the Education Program of the Year awards for Innovative Program of the Year and in partnership with the Collin County Association of REALTORS for Best Program Series of the Year.

MetroTex was recognized by the Texas Association of REALTORS with the Education Program of the Year awards for Innovative Program of the Year and in partnership with the Collin County Association of REALTORS for Best Program Series of the Year.

The MetroTex Leadership Boot Camp was recognized in the Innovative Program of the Year category.  The program is a three-day workshop for agents that have been in the business for less than 18 months and focuses on agents with a diverse background and leadership potential.

In the Best Program Series of the Year category MetroTex and CCAR shared the honor with their joint Professional Series.  The series consist of four individual classes that touch on how to be respectful and professional.  The series was created to help agents operate with integrity and create a positive experience for their clients, cooperating agents and affiliates.

How REALTORS help Consumers - Your advocates at the Texas Capitol

Do you want lower property taxes? Would you like to avoid paying a tax when you buy or sell real estate?

If you’re in favor of those ideas, I’ve got good news: The MetroTex Association of Realtors worked hard during the legislative session in 2015 to pass a bill ultimately approved by 86% of voters that increased the homestead exemption by $10,000 and constitutionally banned real estate transfer taxes.

Those measures are already saving you real money, and MetroTex isn’t done.

This legislative session, the association and its members will work on eliminating the hidden property tax in Texas. This includes reforming the property appraisal and tax rate setting process to ensure a more transparent and honest conversation at the local level as well as advocating for additional state aid in the school finance system.

MetroTex will also closely monitor any proposals to change our state’s home equity laws. Why? Realtors were the driving force behind strong consumer protections in home equity legislation passed a few decades ago. Those safeguards are a big reason Texas was not hit as hard during the last real estate downturn as states like California, Nevada and Florida. We want to ensure that any changes designed to improve home equity lending don’t come with unintended consequences that put homeowners and the Texas economy in jeopardy.

MetroTex will be supporting proposals to decrease traffic congestion and looking for other ways to keep the state’s economy healthy. It’s a tall order. But Realtors have been working for years on behalf of the citizens of Texas to make our great state a better place to work and live.

We do this by staying up to date on legislative news affecting Texas—and sharing that information with friends, colleagues and clients. Realtors volunteer on committees that examine issues affecting the real estate industry and property ownership. We contact our elected officials—thousands of us will visit the Texas Capitol in April.

Yes, the 110,000-plus Realtors in Texas help you buy, sell and lease property. But we also protect private-property rights, advocate for property owners and work to keep homeownership affordable.

Learn more about how MetroTex and the Texas Association of Realtors work to protect the interests of homebuyers at texasrealestate.com.

You can always get great referrals for interior designers from your MetroTex Realtor. Or, for information about buying, leasing, or selling a home, visit dfwrealestate.com.

Celebrating 100 years of service in North Texas, MetroTex is the area’s largest Realtor association. We are an advocate for homeowners, private property rights, the real estate industry, and real estate professionals. MetroTex is comprised of more than 18,000 members.

Do you have a great idea to benefit your students?

Let’s make it happen!

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® gives you the tools you need to help your clients find or sell a home. Did you know that MetroTex also supports local communities by funding grants that benefit Public Schools?

How Does it Work?

The MetroTex Charitable Trust awards grants up to $3,000 to fund projects that benefit the entire student body. Public school faculty and staff may submit a web-based application on MyMetroTex.com. Grant applications are accepted until close of business on April 1st, 2017. MetroTex’s Public Education Committee will review the applications and select the grant recipients.

Who May Apply?

Public school in the MetroTex service area, which includes most of North Texas, may apply for the grants. MetroTex Charitable Trust Public School Grant Application period is from February 1-April 1, 2017.

What kinds of projects have been awarded grants in the past?

Grants have been awarded for all kinds of projects, from funding an inspiring video about students who have overcome adversity to create success, to launching a mentoring program with local businesses and students. Other grants have been used to build libraries, create an outdoor classroom, and provide technology for a variety of programs. If a teacher or their students can dream it, we want to try to help you make it happen.

Can I forward this to a teacher, or someone I know?

Absolutely. If you know any teachers or public school employees that may be interested, please send them to MyMetroTex.com/PublicEducation.

For more information about the MetroTex Charitable Trust Grant Program you can contact MetroTex at 214.540.2746 or email govtaffairs@dfwre.com.

Online application can be found at: MyMetroTex.com/PublicEducation.

Keeping an eye on LGBTQ Housing Discrimination

Protecting housing opportunities has always been a primary mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While the Fair Housing Act and its amendments prohibit discriminatory practices which impede access to housing, problems still exist. Since 2012, HUD has made it clear that it prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, and familial status, and that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, or the perception of such, in practice.

Why address LGBTQ housing discrimination?

Several recent studies have shown significant levels of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity across the US. The size and geographical location of the city or town didn’t seem to play a factor in the levels of discrimination, as rates of unfair treatment remained largely the same.  In one study, 26 percent of landlords sampled showed distinct preferential treatment toward perceived heterosexual couples over same-sex couples without knowing anything about either couple other than names. In the same test, many of the same-sex couple testers were also subjected to offensive comments. Another study revealed that housing instability among transgender individuals is also a concern: 19 percent of individuals surveyed reported being refused a house or apartment because of gender identity. A third study found that housing discrimination rates did not improve when local ordinances were in place to try to address the issue.

Application to Fair Lending Practices & Housing Assistance

Equal access also applies to any programs that are funded or insured by HUD and to FHA loans.

The Equal Access Rule states that a "determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration shall be made in accordance with the eligibility requirements provided for such program by HUD, and such housing shall be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.”

In practice, that means that equal access must be granted in HUD programs, including public housing, Section 8 project-based or tenant-based housing, FHA-insured loans, and housing funded under the Community Development Block Grant, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly (202), and Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities.

In addition to the equal access and definitional provisions, the LGBT Equal Access Rule prohibits inquiries "about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of HUD-assisted housing or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, whether renter- or owner-occupied, for the purposes of determining eligibility for the housing or otherwise making such housing available.”

Specifically, an FHA approved lender cannot refuse a federally insured mortgage to a same-sex couple who is not married but is otherwise eligible.

Like all Fair Housing regulations, it’s important to keep in mind that people have a right to choose where they live. It’s up to us as Realtors to guide our clients to ensure that federal guidelines are being met when they screen tenants. It’s our responsibility to advertise fairly and respond to inquiries equally.

If you want to know more about the work being done to reduce homeownership barriers facing the LGBTQ community, contact the Gay and Lesbian Organization of Real Estate (GALORE) at facebook.com/Galore.

Housing prices continue their steady climb steadily in January

The new year came roaring into the North Texas housing market, shattering records both old and new. Even the decade-old record for number of homes sold in the month was surpassed by nearly eight percent, according to the market report released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.

“Traditionally January is our slowest month of the year,” said James Martin, president of MetroTex. “We’ve never reached $1.6 billion in sales in January, or closed more than 5,800 transactions in the first month of the year. It certainly looks like the spring market will be even more active than it was last year. That’s pretty astonishing when you consider the rate of growth our market has been experiencing.”

According to the report, 5,863 homes were sold in North Texas in January, an 8 percent increase from 2016. The dollar volume of sales in North Texas increased 21 percent year-over-year to $1.6 billion. The average price in January was $273,057 up 12 percent from last year.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory rose to 2.7 months in January, despite the very low inventory in many markets. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University remarks that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 49 days on the market in January. There were 16,092 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 1 percent drop.

January 2017

  • 5,863             Homes sold, 8 percent higher than January 2016.
  • $225,000     Median sales price for homes, 15 percent more than January 2016.
  • $273,057     Average sales price for homes, a 12 percent increase over January 2016.
  • 2.7     Monthly housing inventory in January 2017, up from 2.0 months in the previous year.
  • 49                Average number of days homes spent on the market in January 2017.
  • 16,092          Active home listings on the market in January 2017, a 1 percent drop.
  • $115        Average price per square foot for a single family home, up 6 percent year-over-year.

Celebrating 100 years of service in North Texas, MetroTex is the area’s largest REALTOR association.  We are an advocate for homeowners, private property rights, the real estate industry, and real estate professionals. MetroTex is comprised of more than 18,000 members.

NAR takes a stand on Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Recently, NAR contact Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary Designee for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, about the Trump administration’s decision to suspend the basis point reduction on mortgage insurance premiums which was set to roll out on January 27. NAR is concerned about this decision for a variety of moves. Here’s what you need to know from NAR:

What You Need to Know About FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium Rates Impact on Homebuyers

  • Trump administration has suspended the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 25 basis point reduction of the FHA Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium rates for mortgages with a closing/disbursement date on or after January 27, 2017.
  • FHA occupies a critical role in the nation’s housing finance system, with a mission to ensure access to mortgage credit is available to all Americans, in particular groups traditionally underserved by the private market, including low to moderate-income, minority, and first-time homebuyers.
  • The National Association of REALTORS® estimates that the premium reduction would have reduced costs for 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers in 2017 with mortgages backed by the FHA.
  • An additional 30,000 to 40,000 homebuyers are now shut out.
  • The suspension of the premium reduction has created uncertainty and confusion for a significant number of borrowers, sellers, lenders and underwriters.
  • Borrowers must face an increase in the cost of their loans and some may no longer qualify to purchase the home they intended to buy due to the increase in the premium rates.

Impact on FHA

  • Suspending the premium reduction has consequences for the business of FHA.
  • The last FHA premium cut helped to shore up the FHA’s books and restore the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund’s (MMIF) capital ratio above the statutory 2.0 percent level. 
  • Lower fees helped FHA to retain better borrowers from refinancing to private mortgage insurers who had re-entered the market, but more importantly, it helped to improve affordability allowing many previously sidelined borrowers to qualify for a home purchase.
  • The 2016 FHA Actuarial reports showed that the MMIF exceeded the 2.0 percent statutory requirement for a second year in a row.
  • The forward FHA portfolio ratio was a healthy 3.28 percent.

What needs to be done:

  • NAR urges FHA to reinstate the 25 basis point premium reduction and remove the life of loan premium as soon as possible.
  • Homeownership is a key element of the American Dream and FHA makes that dream possible for millions of Americans.
  • We look forward to working with this Administration to ensure FHA’s continued health and necessary participation in the housing market.

 

Why MetroTex is a part of the Pension Coalition

MetroTex is taking an active role with Taxpayers for a Fair Pension, a coalition of former Dallas Mayors and a diverse group of business and civic organizations. Our decision to do so was voted on by the Board of Directors, who felt it was in our members’ best interests to get involved with the Coalition. We are deeply concerned about a potential $4 billion hit to Dallas taxpayers due to the looming pension crisis. MetroTex firmly supports our police and fire departments, and we want to ensure that the fund is restored to stability as quickly as possible. If it isn’t, the long term impact would be threefold: an insolvent fund, enormous pressure on the backs of Dallas taxpayers, and city which struggles to provide even the most basic city services. Here’s why we’re concerned:

  • The city of Dallas' liability to the pension fund could bankrupt the city

Remember the bank run scenes in It’s a Wonderful Life and Mary Poppins? Hordes of panicked people come running into the bank to pull out their deposits while cash is still available. We don’t see runs on banks anymore because of the FDIC. Unfortunately, there is a run on happening on Dallas’ pension fund and it’s causing big problems.  

At the start of the 2016, the fire and police pension fund had $2.8bn in assets. Since then the cash withdrawals from the plan have increased alarmingly – up 641 percent in value over 2015. To cover all of the future withdrawals, the plan was counting on an annual investment return of 8.5 percent, which seems to have been a highly unrealistic expectation. Treasury bonds typically average an annual return of 1.5 – 3 percent.

  • Proposed solutions would involve either a decrease in city services or an increase in property tax to pay for increasing pension liabilities; both of which are unacceptable.

One way or another, the city needs to put more money into the fund. The pension scheme has asked that the city make a one-time contribution to the fund of $1.1bn, which is the city’s entire annual budget. If the city were to spend its entire budget on the fund, it would mean a severe cut to all city services, like road maintenance, libraries, parks, trash collection and sewer service. To cover the shortfall, the city is discussing a plan to more than double property taxes. Obviously, MetroTex is against this idea. We believe that City of Dallas taxpayers have paid their taxes on time in good faith, and ought not to be hammered with this punishing outcome.

Think of your current deals. If it were announced that City property taxes were more than doubling, how many of your deals would fall apart before they ever came to the closing table? How many of your clients could afford to keep the homes they have?

  • The pension problems have already negatively affected Dallas taxpayers by decreasing the city's bond rating.

Dallas' credit score has suffered two downgrades since concerns over the failing police and fire pension fund began. The downgrades impact Dallas’ ability to borrow funds and thus increase taxpayers' costs.

  • Negative publicity has the potential to affect businesses in cities surrounding Dallas, as it fosters a negative attitude towards doing business in the region.  

Our aim is to protect the local economy and to encourage new businesses to make North Texas their home. When people think of Dallas, we want them to think of opportunities, not headaches.

Please click here to easily send an email to the Dallas Delegation of state legislators, who are now in session. The future financial health of the city of Dallas is in your hands!

How does DFW’s economy compare to the rest of Texas?

A quick look at the monthly Federal Reserve Bank report

Dallas-Fort Worth enjoyed an economically prosperous year last year, outpacing the rest of the state and the country. DFW employment grew at vigorous pace — more than a percentage point faster than the state and nation, according to the most recent Federal Reserve Economic Indicators report. There was a bit of deceleration in the business cycles of both Dallas and Fort Worth, though overall growth was positive

  • Last year, Dallas Fort Worth added 92,300 jobs. Texas added 188,000.
  • Overall, DFW employment was up very slightly in December. Strong growth in Dallas was tempered by declines in Fort Worth.
  •  A wide variety of jobs were created in the region in 2016. The professional and business services sector grew at the fastest rate. Other high performers included construction and mining, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services. All eleven categories measured by the Fed, with the exception of Leisure and hospitality grew faster in DFW than in the rest of the state in 2016. Manufacturing, construction, and information were most notable in that they shrunk overall in the rest of the state but grew in the DFW region.
  • Dallas added more jobs than other cities in job growth at 3.3 percent in December. Dallas’ success can be attributed to its mix of industries, which mirrors the US economy. The Fed believes that Fort Worth’s slower job growth is because it relies more heavily on the manufacturing and energy sectors than Dallas does.
  • Unemployment rates in both cities rose slightly in December, though both cities have unemployment rates lower than the US average.
  •  According to the Fed report, “the DFW area is a major U.S. trade and distribution hub due to its central location and the presence of several road, rail and air cargo routes. Employment in the trade, transportation and utilities sector makes up just over a fifth of the metro’s total employment.”

Stunning lack of available housing puts increasing pressure on market

In a sobering repeat of the previous year’s finale, the 2016 housing market again reached a record low inventory of available housing stock. While the sales volume and prices did rise year over year, industry experts may express concern at some of the underlying currents displayed in the monthly sales figures released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.  

“Overall, the market performed exceeding well in 2016,” said James Martin, president of MetroTex. “We’ve reached over $28 billion in sales for the first time in history, and completed over 101,000 transactions. That’s an incredibly active market for us. However, for the size of the market we are experiencing, we would hope to see many more new listings coming up. In December we really didn’t see enough to replace the homes we sold. It’s almost hard to imagine what will happen to price levels if we continue to see inventory levels fall at this rate. Hopefully, we’ll see more completed new homes enter the market in the spring.”

According to the report, 8,365 homes were sold in North Texas in December, a 3 percent increase from 2015. The dollar volume of sales in North Texas increased 10 percent year-over-year to $2,373,050,120. The average price in December was $283,688 up 8 percent from last year.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory fell to 1.9 months in December, tying the record low that was set last December. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University remarks that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 47 days on the market in December. There were 16,401 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 1 percent drop.

December 2016

  • 8,365 – Homes sold, 3 percent higher than December 2015.
  •  $232,000 Median sales price for homes, 10 percent more than December 2015.
  • $283,688 Average sales price for homes, an 8 percent increase over December 2015.
  • 1.9 – Monthly housing inventory in December 2016.
  • 47 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in December 2016.
  • 16,401 – Active home listings on the market in December 2016, a 1 percent drop.
  • $122 – Average price per square foot, up 6 percent year-over-year.

2016 Market Overall

  • 101,529 – Homes sold, 6 percent higher than 2015.
  • $28,050,996,211 – Total dollar volume of sales, up 13 percent from 2015
  • $225,000 Median sales price for homes, 10 percent more than 2015.
  • $276,286 Average sales price for homes, a 7 percent increase over 2015.
  •  42 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in 2016.
  • 18,355 – Average active home listings on the market in 2016, a 1 percent drop.
  • $119 – Average price per square foot, up 7 percent year-over-year.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® represents more than 18,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. As the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas, MetroTex represents the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

Congratulations to our 2017 Board of Directors

MetroTex extends a hearty congratulations to our newly installed board of directors. They have all dedicated countless hours to our association, to our industry, and to our community. In 2017, they will have big shoes to fill as we celebrate the first 100 years of our own history, and chart a course for the next century.

Throughout the year our board will be marking our centennial at a variety of events specifically designed to thank our members who are very active in our association and to encourage those who haven’t been as involved to join in and see what we’re all about.

We’ll be planting trees in your communities and giving out hundreds of smaller trees to your agents and their clients. We’ll be holding special training events to help you elevate your business. And we’ll have some special surprises in store, too. All of these wonderful events couldn’t happen without the dedication of your 2017 Board of Directors. A very special thanks goes out to:

James Martin - President                                             Dave Perry Miller Real Estate

Russell Berry  -  Immediate Past President                 Nathan Grace Real Estate

Linda Callicutt – Vice President                                  Ebby Halliday, REALTORS  

Cathy Mitchell – Secretary Treasurer                         Keller Williams Realty

Malinda Brownlee Howell                                           Ebby Halliday, REALTORS

Kevin Caskey                                                                Nathan Grace Real Estate

Becky Connatser                                                          Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

William Ferguson                                                          CENTURY 21 Judge Fite

Carrie Hill                                                                      Nathan Grace Real Estate

Nikki Hunt Green                                                         iDeal Floors

Bill Jordan                                                                    RE/MAX Homeland Realty

Johnny Mowad                                                           Ebby Halliday, REALTORS

Adrainne Prince                                                          Donnie Keller Real Estate

Liz Rourke                                                                  Keller Williams Realty

Alicia Schroeder                                                        Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

Alan Smith                                                                 Alan Smith REALTORS

Kristin Smith                                                              Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate

Lori Solecki                                                               Solecki Realty

Sid Thom                                                                  RE/MAX Premier

Terry Tremaine                                                         Century 21 Mike Bowman

Taylor Walcik                                                           The Carol Blair Group

Bette Washington                                                   Ultima Real Estate

 

 

Congratulations to MetroTex 2016 Award Winners

2016 MetroTex Award Winners (from l-r) Russell Berry, Easterwood Cup; Sandy Donsky, Ebby Halliday MetroTex Community Service Award; Kimberly Addison Kramer, Affiliate of the Year Award; Johnny Mowad, Lois Hair Bernays Award.

Celebrating a year of accomplishments, the MetroTex Association of REALTORS announced the winners for each of its four prestigious annual industry awards at the MetroTex Annual Awards & Charity Event.

MetroTex Ebby Halliday Community Service Award
Sandy Donsky, Ebby Halliday, REALTORS, received the Metro-Tex Ebby Halliday Community Service Award named to honor one of our Association’s most active community service volunteers - Ebby Halliday. Sandy has been a contributor and volunteer to Legacy Senior Communities for more than 10 years. The True Life Care Community offers a full care continuum from independent living to assisted living, dementia care, nursing and rehabilitation. She has served on the Board of Trustees, VP of Fundraising and as Gala Co-Chair for the Legacy 100th Anniversary event. Sandy currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Federation of Greater Dallas and was the recipient of the Beth Nathan Leadership award. Sandy is also active on the National Federation, serving on the Women’s Leadership Cabinet. She has accompanied missions abroad to deliver food, medicine and items needed for children and seniors. In this capacity Sandy is the recipient of the Kipnis-Wilson Leadership Award – Lion of Judah. Sandy is the incoming Vice Chair of the Forms and Contracts Committee, and is TREPAC whip for Forms and Contracts. She has the ABR, CRS, SRES designations and is a TREPAC Major Investor. Sandy is a current member of the Leadership Academy Class of 2016-2017.

Affiliate of the Year Award
Receiving the Affiliate of the Year Award as a professional service provider was Kimberly Addison Kramer, Lawyers Title - Lathram Pou & Associattes. Kimberly is active in multiple Committees within Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). She hosts and conducts multiple CE opportunities per month as well as other continuing education for REALTORS. Kimberly currently serves as a member of the MetroTex YPN and TREPAC Committees. As a member of the TREPAC Committee Kimberly served as Co-Chair for the TREPAC White Party five years running, raising over $500k for TREPAC, far exceeding its set fundraising goal. Active in her community, Kimberly has volunteered with the YPN Committee to decorate the Jubilee Center and by collecting toys at YPN events. She has been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels for the past 19 years. She is a major sponsor and donor for the Resource Center of Dallas as well as the Red Party. She is a volunteer at Attitudes & Attires, dedicated to promoting personal growth for women seeking self-sufficiency and at GRACE - Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange.

Lois Hair Bernays Award
Johnny Mowad, Ebby Halliday, REALTORS was presented with the Lois Hair Bernays Award as the MetroTex Salesperson of Year. Johnny has served as Chair the MLS Committee. He is currently Vice Chair of the TREPAC Committee and is a member of the GMMLS Board of Directors. He is also a member of the MetroTex YPN, Professional Development, GMMLS Budget & Finance Committee as well as the TREPAC Strategic work-group. Johnny is the MetroTex appointee to the NTREIS Board of Directors. Johnny is a graduate of the MetroTex Leadership Academy - Class 23 and continues his involvement as an active alumnus. As a member of the TREPAC Committee, Johnny served as Co-Chair for the TREPAC White Party five years running, raising over $500k for TREPAC, far exceeding its set fundraising goal. Active in the community Johnny’s list of accomplishments started early with the Boy Scouts of America where he earned Eagle Scout status and is an ongoing mentor and volunteer.
He was awarded a National Merit Honor for Heroism by the Red Cross where he served as an emergency responder. A graduate of SMU, with a background in Public Relations, Johnny put his previous community outreach experience to work as Co-founder of the popular Dallas Red Party helping raise funds for Legacy Counseling Center.

Easterwood Cup Award
Receiving the highest honor bestowed on a MetroTex broker, manager, corporate officer, executive staff, or owner of a member firm was 2016 MetroTex President Russell Berry, Nathan Grace Real Estate. Russell is a graduate of the prestigious MetroTex Leadership Academy and has served as the MetroTex Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and a Director for the Association. He served as Region 12 TREPAC Trustee for four years, and is currently a Texas Association of REALTORS Regional Vice President. Russell has also served as Vice Chair and Chair for GMMLS, member and Treasurer for MetroTex PAC, and on the 2009 and 2016 nominating Committees. He currently serves as a member of the Centennial  Task Force. With TAR, Russell has served as a TAR Director and on the Technology and Professional Development Management Team Committees. He is a 2007 TRLP graduate and will serve on seven Public Policy subCommittees for TAR in 2017. Russell has been a major investor with
RPAC since 2009, and has been a Director since 2013. He has served on the NAR Federal Housing Committee and is currently an NAR Director. He will also be participating in the NAR Leadership Academy in 2017.

The mind-blowing pace of the DFW housing market astonishes experts

If you wanted to close on a house in November but hesitated out of election fears, you probably missed out on the best possible deal you’ll be able to find for quite some time, according to two monthly housing market reports released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS, one for the North Texas Region and one for the Dallas Fort Worth Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area.

“The incredible pace of the November housing market was astonishing,” said Russell Berry, president of MetroTex. “Buyers that went under contract in October and closed in November probably got the last of the best interest rates we’ll see for a while, and with prices rising so quickly, the probably got a great deal. At the same time, sellers are seeing shorter time on the market overall. The big spike in the number of sales compared to November last year was likely caused by both the red-hot market of 2017 and because lenders are more confident in closing quickly compared to last November, when the new lending regulations took effect.”

According to the report, 7,877 homes were sold in North Texas in November, an incredible 26 percent increase from 2016. The dollar volume in sales in North Texas increased 42 percent year-over-year to $2,251,884,637. The average price in November was $285,881 up 12 percent from last year.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory fell to 2.1 months in November. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University remarks that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced. One hopeful sign that inventory could be getting a boost soon is the big increase in the sale of new construction, which was up 39.1 percent over last year in the Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area. The report for the entire North Texas region does not differentiate between new and existing homes.

Homes spent an average of 44 days on the market in November. There were 18,080 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 3 percent drop.

November 2016

7,877 – Homes sold, 26 percent higher than November 2015.

$230,000 – Median sales price for homes, 15 percent more than November 2015.

$285,881 – Average sales price for homes, a 12 percent increase over November 2015.

2.1 – Monthly housing inventory in November 2016.

44 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in November 2016.

18,080 – Active home listings on the market in November 2016.

$123 – Average price per square foot, up 10 percent year-over-year.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® represents more than 18,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. As the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas, MetroTex represents the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

October sales set fall record

MetroTex Association of REALTORS releases real estate statistics for October 2016

North Texas has never seen an October housing market like the one in 2016, according to a monthly housing market report released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.

“October in North Texas usually means a slowing real estate market,” said Russell Berry, president of MetroTex. “This year, October meant setting new record highs both in terms of number of homes sold and in dollar volume. While we have calmed down a bit from the summer frenzy, we’re still setting records. In fact, this is the first year on record to have 8 consecutive months with over $2 billion in sales.”

According to the report, 8,418 homes were sold in North Texas in October, an 8 percent increase from the year prior. The dollar volume in sales in North Texas increased 20 percent year-over-year to $2,336,171,778. The average price in October 2016 was $277,521 up 11 percent from last year.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory fell to 2.2 months in October. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 42 days on the market in October. There were 19,326 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 5 percent drop.

September 2016

  • 8,418 – Homes sold, 8 percent higher than October 2015.
  • $225,000 Median sales price for homes, 13 percent more than October 2015.
  • $277,521 Average sales price for homes, an 11 percent increase over October 2015.
  • 2.2 – Monthly housing inventory in October 2016.
  • 42 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in October 2016.
  • 19,326 – Active home listings on the market in October 2016.
  • $121 – Average price per square foot, up 10 percent year-over-year.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® represents more than 17,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. As the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas, MetroTex represents the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

 

Prices and sales volume continue rising trend in third quarter

Prices and sales volume continued to tick upward during the third quarter of 2016 in North Texas, according to a monthly housing market report released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.

“September sales were on pace with a busy third quarter,” said Russell Berry, president of MetroTex. “With the market showing no signs of slowing, we are expecting a strong finish to the end of the year. It’s amazing to think that the average price is up nearly 45 percent from just five years ago.”

According to the report, 9,537 homes were sold in North Texas in August, an 11 percent increase from the year prior. The median price for DFW area homes increased 12 percent year-over-year to $225,000 during the same time frame. The average price in September 2016 was $277,440 compared to $192,039 in September 2011.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory remained at 2.3 months in September. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 39 days on the market in September. There were 20,054 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 3 percent drop.

September 2016

  • 9,537 – Homes sold, 11 percent higher than September 2015.

  • $225,000 Median sales price for homes, 12 percent more than September 2015.

  • $277,440 Average sales price for homes, a 10 percent increase over September 2015.

  • 2.3 – Monthly housing inventory in September 2016.

  • 39 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in September 2016.

  • 20,054 – Active home listings on the market in Septmber 2016.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® represents more than 17,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. As the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas, MetroTex represents the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

Housing market strong in DFW in first half of year even as sales slowed in July

DFW home sales increased 6 percent to 58,865 sales in the first half of 2016, although July sales were down compared to last year, according to the July 2016 North Texas housing market report released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.

“The demand for housing is undoubtedly strong,” said Russell Berry, president of MetroTex. “While we didn’t sell quite as many houses this July as we did last year, we’re still seeing more than 10,000 sales per month in the busy summer market – something that was unprecedented before last year. But with shrinking inventory, it’s difficult to maintain that pace. I have no doubt that we could see continued growth if more housing were available.”

According to the report, 10,011 homes were sold in North Texas in July 2016, a 2 percent decrease from the year prior. The median price for DFW area homes increased 9 percent year-over-year to $230,000 during the same time frame.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory remained at 2.4 months in July 2016. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 36 days on the market in June 2016. There were 20,546 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame, a 4 percent drop.

July 2016

  • 10,011 – Homes sold, 2 percent fewer than June 2015. 
  • $230,000 Median sales price for homes, 9 percent more than June 2015.
  • $277,966 Average sales price for homes, 5 percent more than June 2015.
  • 2.4 – Monthly housing inventory in June 2016.
  • 36 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in June 2016.
  • 20,546 – Active home listings on the market in June 2016.

Market Snapshot at the end of the 2nd Quarter

  • 58,865 – Homes sold, 6 percent more than first half of 2015.
  • $16,113,575,977 – Total dollar volume of sales in North Texas in 2016, an 11 percent increase over first half of 2015.
  • $222,640 Median sales price for homes, 9 percent more than first half of 2015.
  • $273,738 Average sales price for homes, 5 percent more than first half of 2015.
  • 43 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in first half of 2016, down 8 percent.
  • 18,061 – Average monthly active home listings. Unchanged from 2015.

The MetroTex Association of REALTORS® represents more than 17,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. As the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas, MetroTex represents the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

DFW home sales increase 7 percent, home prices rise further

MetroTex Association of REALTORS releases real estate statistics for June 2016

DFW home sales increased 7 percent to 10,857 sales in June while home prices continued to rise, according to the June 2016 DFW housing market report released today by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS.

“We were astounded last year to reach 10,000 sales in a month, and now it seems like that’s going to be what our summer market looks like for a while,” said Russell Berry, president of MetroTex. “Inventory levels haven’t changed significantly, even with a higher number of listings, indicating there is a lot of pent up demand in the market.”

According to the report, 10,857 homes were sold in North Texas in June 2106, a 7 percent increase from the year prior. The median price for DFW area homes increased 8 percent year-over-year to $237,500 during the same time frame.

North Texas’ monthly housing inventory was 2.4 months in June 2016. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University cites that 6.5 months of inventory represents a market in which supply and demand for homes is balanced.

Homes spent an average of 37 days on the market in June 2016. Additionally, there were 19,715 active listings for the North Texas housing market during the same time frame.

June 2016

  • 10,857 – Homes sold, 7 percent more than June 2015.
  •  $237,500 Median sales price for homes, 8 percent more than June 2015.
  •  $290,225 Average sales price for homes, 5 percent more than June 2015.
  • 2.4 – Monthly housing inventory* in June 2016.
  •  37 – Average number of days homes spent on the market in June 2016.
  • 19,715 – Active home listings on the market in June 2016.

With a growing economy, booming population and high quality of life, Texas is a great place to live, work and do business. As such, the demand for Texas real estate remains strong and enduring. Texas Realtors continue to work daily to protect the rights of private-property owners, keep homeownership affordable, and promote public policies that benefit homeowners.

MetroTex represents more than 16,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. MetroTex is the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas representing the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

* The inventory of homes for a market can be measured in months, which is defined as the number of active listings divided by the average sales per month of the prior 12 months. 

2016 MetroTex Charitable Trust Public Education Grant

This year, the MetroTex Charitable Trust received 63 applications for public education grants. Through a successful fundraising campaign over the past year, the Trust was able to award seven grants totaling nearly $15,000. To contribute funds for next year’s grants, contact Susan Kaplan at susank@dfwre.com.

Each of the grants awarded are described below.

Rosemont Elementary School, (Dallas ISD) Bison Robotics will be awarded $3,000 in order to fund VEX Robotics classroom Lab kits and extra. This program is designed to help students master the fundamentals of robotics and the engineering design process while learning to use design software and the leading classroom robotics solution, the VEX Classroom Lab Kit. The kits will increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs.  

Lancaster Middle School, (Lancaster ISD) STEM Infinity 8th Grade Student Organization will be awarded $2873.51 in order to build a STEM Makers' Laboratory (SML), where students can engage in higher order thinking, experimentation, engineering, collaboration, and other 21st century activities.  The SML will be a place where robotics, computer science, circuitry, and electronics become haptic experiences, as opposed to abstract concepts.  Students will learn to disassemble, examine, and reassemble electronic devices.  Soldering new components, transplanting new and used components for repairs, and using old components for new purposes will be commonplace.  3-D printers and Raspberry Pi computers will allow learners to research, design, develop, and engineer components for a multitude of projects.

Silver Lake Elementary, (Grapevine/Colleyville ISD) Dual language prekindergarten will be awarded $500 in order to purchase headphone sets to use with existing hardware that run educational apps like IStation, Doceri, ABC apps and preschool Math apps. 

Heritage Elementary School, (Keller ISD) Library will be awarded $500 in order integrate computer coding devices into the library’s Makerspace, a place where students gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover. The specific coding gadgets requested include Dot and Dash, an explorer that students can code to zip around the room, the Code Bug, which allows a student to use an iPad to program a "bug" to create their own games, robots or other wacky inventions, and the Ozobot, which allows students to practice their coding skills to get the Ozobot to follow colorful lines they've drawn on a page.  Students will be able to work with these devices during their classroom library visits and during open library times.  Since computer classes are no longer available at the elementary level, Heritage students will be able hone their technology skills in an engaging and supportive environment.

Early College High School

Early College High School, (Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD) ECHS SPTSA will be awarded $3,000 in order to advance literacy for English Language Learners.  This grant will enable students to advance their English language literacy during their Advisory time and the school will offer intense literacy instruction on Saturdays for students and to provide them with supplemental materials for their college classes. Early College High School is an innovative program which offers students the opportunity to earn over 60 college credit hours during their high school career. Over 75% of ECHS students are students living in poverty, nearly 90% of our students will be the first in their family to graduate from college and over 65% of our students have learned English while in school. Many students do not have the funds to purchase the books and supplies required of college students. All ECHS students will benefit from this project.

Central Elementary

Central Elementary, (Carrolton-Farmers Branch ISD) Makerspace & Coding will be awarded $2,999.95 in order to implement a High Tech Makerspace project which will empower Students in Pre K through 5th grade to create and share resources and knowledge using 3D, robotics, and coding technology.

These new High Tech Makerspace stations would give students the opportunities to create, tinker, design, and discover with materials they do not have at home. The resources will provide students with the chance to think, share, and grow.  Since most students will be using some kind of technology in their future jobs and many of these future jobs students haven’t even been created, it’s imperative that libraries provide opportunities for students to create and problem solve using technology.

Hurst Euless Bedford ISD

Hurst Euless Bedford ISD, (HEB ISD) Dyslexia Department will be awarded $2,100 in order funds to implement a strategy for providing effective technology to over 900 students with dyslexia.  Dyslexic students need iPads to access programs such as Learning Ally and Bookshare as well as many other apps that will promote reading independence for students.  These are free resources that have enormous data bases of audio/visual textbooks and books for pleasure.  

REALTOR Call to Action

The United States Senate is missing an opportunity to improve housing markets across the country, and we need your help to tell them to get to work and make homeownership a priority!

Take action now to urge your Senators to pass H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016,” a bill that makes needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) condominium loan program, federal-assisted housing programs and Rural Housing Service loan programs.

This legislation provides significant benefits to taxpayers, homebuyers and the real estate market by:
1) Removing a burdensome and expensive FHA Condo approval process
2) Reducing FHA restrictions on the number of condos available to homebuyers
3) Permanently streamlining Rural Housing Service loan processing


Bottom Line: This bill makes buying a condo A LOT easier by expanding opportunities for first-time homebuyers and streamlining rural housing programs for low-income rental residents. Condominiums are among the most affordable homeownership options for first-time homebuyers, as well as lower income borrowers, but barriers to safe, affordable mortgage credit for condos still exist. H.R. 3700 takes a number of steps to address those concerns.
The House of Representatives passed this bill unanimously with a bipartisan vote of 427-0 and now we need the Senate to act!


Even if your business model is not based on Condominium or Rural Housing Service transactions, all REALTORS need to band together on this Call for Action. Although it may not affect you directly, the next one could very well be of critical importance to your business. Please support your REALTOR family by responding to this important Call for Action!
 
4 easy ways that Realtors can follow important issues that affect their business and respond to Calls for Action
1. Email:  NAR sent you an email.  It takes just 2 clicks to respond.
2. Web: If you didn’t get the email, you can respond at WWW.TexasRealEstate.com/Action
3. There’s an APP for that: The REALTOR® Action Center mobile app is now available for download for the iPhone and DROID. Simply search for NAR Action Center in their respective app markets.  
4. Text: To stay informed about upcoming calls for action alerts via text message, sign up for the REALTOR®Party Mobile alerts program below or text the word REALTOR to 30644

Number of Available Homes Dwindling in Busy Market

DALLAS – In an ever-tightening housing market, it’s the average homebuyer that’s really feeling the pinch. 


“Inventory of mid-priced homes is extremely low,” said Russell Berry, president of the MetroTex Association of Realtors. “We’re looking at mere weeks of inventory, rather than a few months’ worth that would be available in a more balanced market. This situation is great for sellers because there is a lot of demand, but buyers will probably have to be a little patient to get into a home.”


The biggest market segment in North Texas is for homes priced between $100,000 and $300,000. That price bracket has about 1.1 months of inventory. There is much more availability in higher priced homes, with nearly four months of inventory for homes priced above $300,000.  All of these inventory numbers do indicate that North Texas is still a strong sellers’ market; however the higher price points are seeing a very welcome, if slight, increase in available homes.


“Properties are coming to market at a brisk pace,” continued Berry. “They are leaving the market just as quickly with the number of days on market down 12% over last year.”
According to the monthly MLS report released by the MetroTex Association of REALTORS today, prices are still on the rise, and sales dollar volume is rising quickly. Highlights of the report include:
•    There were 9,978 sales of single family homes in Dallas-Fort Worth in May, a 10% increase over May 2015.
•    The average price per square foot for single family homes in the area is $123, a 7% increase.
•    The average sales price in DFW in February was $289,377, a 7% increase over last year (and an all time high). 
•    There are 10,730 homes under contract and waiting to close. 
•    Houses are selling in an average of 38 days.
•    Most homes sell for 98.4% of list price when sold through a MetroTex Realtor.
•    There is approximately 2.3 months inventory in the area. Less than 3 months inventory is considered a strong seller’s market. 


MetroTex represents more than 16,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. MetroTex is the largest REALTOR® member association in North Texas representing the entire region. Established in 1917, MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry and private property rights. For more information, visit us online at DFWRealEstate.com.

 

Global Alliances Gather in Washington

Experiencing the power of the global community in the world’s most powerful city is something you’ll never forget. While the global business community might not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you read about the annual NAR Legislative Meetings, you’ll find the meeting is a goldmine for REALTORS with an international focus. If you’re looking for a great way to network with agents around the world and to grow your global business pipeline, these meetings are a great place to start.

At the NAR meeting earlier this month, there was ample opportunity to network with REALTORS® from all over the world. Plus, the global meetings gave Global Business Council members the chance to meet presidential liaisons from affiliated organizations around the world. There are also opportunities to meet with your congress members and senators to voice your concerns about the flow of business between countries. Plus, many embassies sponsor events to highlight their particular country economically and culturally.

But it’s not all about networking with your foreign counterparts and legislators. You can learn a lot about the global economy at the Legislative Meetings as well. There are CIPS and other related classes, presentations on current market conditions, and seminars about the economies in other countries. A veritable treasure trove of learning is available for members with an interest in international business.

This year, the Global Programs for Associations kicked off the NAR meetings, and the CIPS Advisory Board met early to discuss CIPS classes and institutes around the world. Hot on their heels, the Global Alliances Advisory Board met to discuss the state of global alliances around the world, new efforts to bring more associations into membership, and efforts to create associations in countries without a strong professional real estate presence. Later, the meetings included an international housing update.

Outside of Global Business Council events, the NAR Legislative Meetings featured several prominent speakers, including General Colin Powell, Bob Woodward, Lawrence Yun (NAR Economist), Julian Castro and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass). And to add a bit of fun away from the meetings, there were visits to various government buildings and departments, Smithsonian exhibits, monuments by moonlight tours and the NAR offices open house.

Building your global business practice requires networking and staying on top of the latest news and trends. Participating in events like the NAR Legislative Meetings is a great way to build your brand and to be the best at what you do for your clients. To find out more about upcoming events, be sure to join the MetroTex Global Business Council and watch MetroTex E-News for updates to the events calendar.