Real Estate Center wins international awardReal Estate Center wins international award2019-04-05T05:00:00Z

​​​​​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) –  Los Angeles, Toronto, Queensland, Pittsburgh, Wellington, New York City, Moscow, and College Station. All are homes to 2019 Gold Quill Award winners announced this week by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University won the award for its quarterly periodical Tierra Grande magazine. The Center was the only Texas winner outside the state’s major metros of Dallas and Houston. It’s the Center’s third Gold Quill in the last four years and its fifth overall.

For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards have recognized excellence in strategic communication worldwide and are acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programs in the industry. Ten countries are represented among the 2019 winners, which come from a cross-section of public and private sector organizations, both large and small.

With only 20 full-time employees, the Center is the largest publicly funded real estate research entity in the U.S. It is part of Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. Tierra Grande is the primary vehicle for conveying research results to the 175,000 Texas real estate licensees who fund the Center.

About winning the Center’s fifth Gold Quill Award, Center Director Gary Maler said, “Talent, maturity, and cohesiveness are ingredients for a winning team. We are fortunate to have retained extremely talented people for decades.”

This year’s judges called Tierra Grande, “A strong entry on all fronts. The team obviously put a lot of effort into the product, to ensure it was vibrant, visual as well as packed with useful information for its target readership.”

Gold Quill winners were selected from among 638 entries reviewed by more than 250 evaluators. Entries were measured against the highest industry standards.

This year’s Gold Quill Awards will be presented during IABC’s World Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 11.

Millions of acres set to change hands without a plan from aging AmericansMillions of acres set to change hands without a plan from aging Americans2019-03-28T05:00:00Z

​​​​​Experts estimate 10 percent of farmland in the United States will be passed down over the next five years. That represents approximately 91 million acres, about the size of Montana. 

Estate planning provides the tools that define who gets which assets and when. But, there's a problem.

“Current estimates show 58 percent of Americans have not written a will," says Dr. Erin Kiella, assistant research economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

“Lack of estate plans and insufficient communication between benefactors and heirs, especially for estates with large real estate holdings, could result in substantial amounts of land being sold, divided, or tied up in court proceedings.

“The average Texas landowner is 60 years old. As that age increases, the discussion of estate and succession planning takes on a new sense of urgency," she says.

​A will is the bare minimum estate-planning tool used for real estate assets. Other tools have emerged that not only manage one's assets postmortem but allow the succession process to begin before the final transfer of assets, says Kiella.

Previously, estate planning was instrumental in managing potential federal estate taxes. On January 1, 2019, the federal estate tax threshold increased to $11.4 million per person and $22.8 million for a married couple. That threshold is set to expire in 2025.

If an estate surpasses the threshold, it is taxed anywhere from 18 to 40 percent. The Tax Policy Center estimates this threshold affects only 0.1 percent of those who died in 2018 (about 1,890 people).

​“Given that so few are affected by federal estate taxes, estate planning has shifted focus to the management and minimization of income taxes," says Kiella. “Estate-planning tools can minimize taxes paid on the appreciation of assets, especially when a significant amount of assets is real estate. Many states also have a state estate tax and an inheritance tax. Texas has neither.

“Each estate- and succession-planning tool has advantages and disadvantages. Individuals should work with experienced professionals—estate and tax attorneys, certified financial planners, certified public accountants, and appraisers—to determine the best estate-planning strategy."

Kiella is author of “Leaving a Legacy: Wills and Trusts," an article in the upcoming April issue of Tierra Grande magazine. Read Kiella's article at https://www.recenter.tamu.edu/articles/tierra-grande/Leaving-Legacy. She is working on a follow-up article discussing the use of limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.

News Release 08-031908-0319
New report: Texas 2019 CRE outlook positive New report: Texas 2019 CRE outlook positive 2019-03-01T06:00:00Z

​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) –  Commercial real estate's 2019 outlook is positive, although overall Texas economic activity is expected to slow as weakening U.S. and world economies suppress oil prices at about $50 per barrel. 

Past, present, and future commercial real estate activity in the state's four major metropolitan areas is detailed in the first Texas Quarterly Commercial Report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. The free report is available for download on the Center's website.

Here's what Center researchers foresee this year for CRE in the four major Texas metros.

  • Austin's commercial sector will register low vacancy rates and asking rent growth.  
  • In the Dallas-Fort Worth office market, vacancy rates will increase, driving down rent growth, and to a lesser degree, the retail and warehousing markets will follow suit.
  • The Houston office market seems to have reached a bottom, and positive rent growth is expected. Retail and warehouse will maintain low vacancy rates and strong asking rent growth.  
  • San Antonio's office market will register positive asking rent growth, as will the retail market. In contrast, San Antonio's warehouse market could register flat or negative rent growth.  

“The outlook for 2019 is positive for the major Texas MSAs due to the strength of the U.S. and Texas economies," said Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres. “Although oil prices dipped in late 2018, fundamental factors provide a favorable tailwind moving forward. Interest rates could start to rise again if there is evidence of inflation."

On the negative side, researchers said volatility in the oil market, a slowing global economy, and a declining trade environment remain the greatest headwinds to the Texas economy, challenging some of the state's most productive industries.

“Although Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. announced an unofficial trade agreement, the net impact of the proposal is uncertain. The U.S. economy may slow in 2019 as the effects of the 2018 fiscal stimulus are diluted," said Torres.

Subscribe to the free quarterly CRE report here

Funded primarily by Texas real estate licensee fees, the Real Estate Center was created by the state legislature to meet the needs of many audiences, including the real estate industry, instructors, researchers, and the public. The Center is part of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Texas 2019 home sales returning to ‘normal’Texas 2019 home sales returning to ‘normal’2019-02-19T06:00:00Z

​​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) –  Since 1991, Texas single-family housing sales increased an average of 4.6 percent per year. The story will be different in 2019. Researchers for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University project sales to increase about 1 percent this year.

Housing permits for new single-family residential units are expected to slow to a 2.1-percent increase from nearly 6 percent in 2018.
“Lot availability, labor shortages, higher interest rates, and the inability to build homes in the more affordable price ranges will constrain new-home construction,” said Center Chief Economist Dr. James Gaines.
The slowdown doesn’t surprise the researchers. They were expecting a return to “normal.”
“Housing demand showed signs of normalizing, particularly in North Texas, after a multiyear period of record increases,” said Gaines. “Projected population and job growth, however, suggest healthy demand for the duration of the current economic expansion. The recent pause in sales activity slowed home-price appreciation to a historically normal rate. Rising interest rates will hinder housing affordability statewide.”
The Texas housing market slowed in 2018 as sales rose 1.7 percent compared with 4.1 the previous year. The shortage of homes priced less than $300,000 combined with rising interest rates weighed on overall activity. Listing inventories inched forward but remained tight relative to demand.
For more information, see the Center’s 2019 Texas Housing & Economic Outlook.​

Registration open for 29th Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets conferenceRegistration open for 29th Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets conference2019-02-12T06:00:00Z

​​​COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (Real Estate Center) – Registration is open for the Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets conference. This is the 29th year the popular event has been offered by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. 

The conference is April 25 and 26 at the Omni Hotel at the Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade Blvd. in San Antonio. 

To register, go to the conference webpage​. The website also has information on a limited number of special-rate rooms reserved at the Omni Hotel and Staybridge Suites. 

Conference-only registration is $250 until March 26 and $275 thereafter. At the door, it's $300. 

A special four-hour legal update from the Texas Real Estate Commission is available after the conference concludes on Friday. The conference-plus-legal-update cost is $300 until March 26, $325 after that date, and $350 at the door. 

The conference provides information on a variety of legal, economic, social, and natural resources issues influencing current land market dynamics.

​For more information, contact Cheryl Harford, meeting planner, at charford@tamu.edu or 979-845-2037.

Download press release05-0219