RECON for January 25, 2019RECON for January 25, 2019Bryan PopePope

Real Estate Center Online News
Center Chief Economist Dr. Jim Gaines presented at the 2019 Economic Outlook Conference at the College Station Hilton on Wednesday. The Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo hosted the event. (Photo by Center Photographer JP Beato III.)
January 25, 2019

Vroom vroom: Texas fifth best state to drive in U.S. 

​​​​WASHINGTON (WalletHub) – Texas is the fifth-best state to drive in America, according to rankings from WalletHub. 

The Lone Star State ranked 19th in the cost of car ownership and maintenance and 14th in safety. Texas excelled in access to vehicles and maintenance, taking the number two spot. The category in which Texas did the worst was traffic and infrastructure, ranking 43rd. 

Texas was also fifth in fewest days with precipitation, third in most car washes per capita, and fourth in lowest average gas prices.

Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa took the top four spots. Hawaii ranked last. 

According to WalletHub, congestion costs the average driver of $1,400 per year in the U.S., which has ten of the world's 25 worst cities for traffic.

To compile the list, researchers looked at the cost of car ownership, traffic, safety, and maintenance factors. 

What impact will new technology ultimately have on productivity and economic growth in the U.S.? REC's Dr. Luis Torres takes a look in this week's Mixed-Use blog post.

Existing-home sales fall after months of increases

​​​​WASHINGTON (National Association of Realtors) – After two consecutive months of increases, existing-home sales declined nationally in December, according to the National Association of Realtors. None of the four major U.S. regions saw a gain in sales activity last month.

Total existing-home sales decreased 6.4 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.99 million in December. Sales are now down 10.3 percent from a year ago.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says current housing numbers are partly a result of higher interest rates during much of 2018. 

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $253,600, up 2.9 percent from December 2017. This price increase marks the 82nd straight month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of December decreased to 1.55 million, down from 1.74 million existing homes available for sale in November, but this represents an increase from 1.46 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.7-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 3.9 last month and up from 3.2 months a year ago. The Real Estate Center considers a six- to 6.5-month inventory a balanced market.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 46 days in December, up from 42 days in November and 40 days a year ago. Thirty-nine percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Realtor.com's Market Hotness Index revealed that Midland and Odessa were among the hottest metro areas in December. They joined Chico, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Existing-home sales in the South—the region that includes Texas—dropped 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 2.09 million in December, down 8.7 percent from last year. The median price was $224,300, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.
ipad with monthly review of texas economy onscreen
Texas gained 391,800 nonagricultural jobs from December 2017 to December 2018, an annual growth rate of 3.2 percent, higher than the nation's employment growth rate of 1.8 percent. Texas' seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, down 4 percent YOY. The nation's rate decreased from 4.1 to 3.9 percent. Read the full Monthly Review of the Texas Economy for more. 

Mixed-use development coming near Dr Pepper Park

FRISCO (Dallas Business Journal) – A prime piece of undeveloped property sandwiched between Dr Pepper Ballpark and Ikea will soon be home to a mixed-use development.

The city approved plans for a hotel, three office buildings, four retail buildings, and two parking garages within two parcels on a 14 acres at the northeast corner of Dallas Pkwy. and Ikea Dr.

The office buildings, which will be four to eight stories tall, will range from 64,000 to 160,000 sf. 

The retail buildings will range from 22,000 to 40,000 sf.

The seven-story hotel will have 311 rooms, a 10,000-sf conference center, and 9,000 sf of restaurant space. It will be developed as a Sutton Place Hotel by the Sandman Hotel Group.

Hotel construction will start this year.

A green space will sit in the middle of the retail, office, and hotel buildings.
Real Estate Red Zone logoWe rev things up on this week's Red Zone podcast by talking about the country's best states for driving. Where does Texas rank? Plus, we look at the economy along the Texas-Mexico border and report on stories from around the state. Join us. (13 min. 38 sec.) 
The Sun City has a (West)Star in its eyes
EL PASO (GlobeSt.com) – The downtown skyline continues to change as construction on WestStar Tower at Hunt Plaza is underway.

The office building​ tower is on an entire block bordered by Mesa St., Missouri Ave., Oregon St. and Wyoming Ave.

At 313 ft, the multitenant tower will be the city's tallest building. It will include 262,000 sf of Class A space and 13,000 sf of ground-level office and retail space. The ground level will feature green space with outdoor seating and dining.

WestStar Tower will serve as the corporate headquarters for Hunt, bringing about 170 employees, and WestStar, housing about 260 employees. Completion is set for ​summer 2020. 

The building will offer approximately 850 parking spaces.

Project partners include Duda|Paine as the architect, Gensler for design, OJB for landscape architecture, and Moss as the general contractor. Sonny Brown & Associates is handling preleasing.
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Exurban North Texas school district plans for growth

FORNEY (inForney.com) – Forney Independent School District (FISD) Board of Trustees have approved the purchase of 230 acres adjacent to 35 acres already owned by the district. 

The land is northwest of Criswell Elementary, west of Ranch Rd. and north of FM 740.

In addition, the board accepted two property donations—16.4 acres in Devonshire and 13.9 acres in Gateway Parks—each intended as future elementary campuses.

Both properties were donated by the developers of those communities.

FISD enrollment reached 11,240 students as of Jan. 14, 2019, outpacing previous projections.

According to the district's most recent demographic report, the district anticipates a 2023-24 enrollment of approximately 14,117 students and a 2028-29 enrollment of approximately 17,387 students.
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Paving the way for The Avenue

AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – The 31-story high-rise planned for Eighth St. and Congress Ave. will become a boutique hotel named The Avenue.

Congress Development Partners Ltd. announced a 230-room Hyatt Centric Hotel is coming to the block.

The new concept will keep the building as currently designed with hotel rooms on the upper floors instead of apartment and office space. The ground and second floors will house a restaurant and bar, with a second bar/lounge and roof terrace planned for the eighth floor overlooking Congress.

Construction is expected to begin in mid-2019.​
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TAMU to build $70.5M parking garage

COLLEGE STATION (KBTX) – The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has approved a new $70.5 million parking garage.

The five-story parking garage will add 1,685 parking spaces at the current location of Lot 50. It will be next to the Emerging Technologies Building at 101 Bizzell St. 

Construction is scheduled to begin in March.
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Grand Prairie's Grand Lakes industrial site breaks ground

GRAND PRAIRIE (Dallas Morning News) – Stream Realty Partners has broken ground on the almost 300,000-sf Grand Lakes | I-30 warehouse and distribution center.

The building south of I-30 will be owned by Heitman LLC when it is finished later this year.

GSR-Andrade Architects designed the project along with Kimley-Horn. The Conlan Co. is the general contractor.
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New owner in the saddle for Mustang Storage

ROUND ROCK (Marcus & Millichap) – GYS Development has purchased Mustang Storage, a 161,590-sf self-storage facility and a 236,912-sf covered RV/boat storage facility.

The facility at 7525 CR 110 consists of 723 storage units. The satellite location at 6701 CR 110 has 509 covered boat/RV units.

​Marcus & Millichap marketed the properties and represented the buyer. 

Brixmor acquires 137K-sf Northwood Plaza

HOUSTON (HFF) – Brixmor Property Group has sold Northwood Plaza, a 136,747-sf retail center at 5160-5420 Aldine Mail Route Rd.

Anchored by Food City, the 91 percent leased​ property is ​​on 10.9 acres.

HFF represented both the seller and the buyer, a private entitity.
Texas Association of Realtors quote about Real Estate Center
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Material herein is published according to the fair-use doctrine of U.S. copyright laws related to non-profit, educational institutions. Items attributed to sources other than the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University should not be reprinted without permission of the original source. To send news items for consideration, e-mail Hayley Rieder. The Real Estate Center is part of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University in College Station - the heart of the Research Valley.

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