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RECON for March 20, 2020RECON for March 20, 2020Bryan PopePope
2020-03-20T05:00:00Z2020-03-20T05:00:00Z

RECON Real Estate Center
A row of attached homes in Austin, Texas
What's happening in Texas real estate? Austin home sales strong in February, FHFA suspends foreclosures and evictions for eligible Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers, and $300 million mixed-use project coming to Carrollton. Keep scrolling for the details. (Photo from Center files.)
March 20, 2020

Office hours requirement temporarily suspended for mortgage lenders

AUSTIN (Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending) – The Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending was authorized today to temporarily suspend any requirement that a mortgage lender's office be open to the public during posted normal business hours.

Additionally, licensed mortgage loan originators may work from home or another remote location, whether in Texas or another state, even if the home or remote location is not a licensed branch.

These allowances do not amend Texas Finance Code, Chapters 156 and/or 157 and are being allowed strictly due to the COVID-19 situation.

If a licensed residential mortgage loan originator or mortgage loan staff works remotely, licensed mortgage entities must ensure that:

  •  strict security of information is maintained;
  • all physical business records are kept at a licensed office, not at the mortgage loan originator’s home, a remote location or in any unlicensed branch office; and
  • that consumers are not allowed to go to the mortgage loan originator’s home.
These allowances will be effective until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires, whichever is earlier.
Texas Quarterly Apartment Report Infographic
Read our latest Texas Quarterly Apartment Report for the details.

FHFA suspends foreclosures, evictions for Enterprise-backed mortgages

WASHINGTON (Federal Housing Finance Agency) – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) national emergency.

The suspension applies to homeowners with an Enterprise-backed single-family home mortgage.

Earlier this month, FHFA announced the Enterprises would provide payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. This allows for a mortgage payment to be suspended for up to 12 months for eligible borrowers.

Read about how COVID-19 could impact Texas' economy and real estate markets.
From required notices to referral fees to correctly completing contracts, the real estate industry has no shortage of pitfalls that can trip up even the most conscientious licensee. Avis Wukasch and Kerri Lewis answer your questions on our latest Red Zone podcast.

Austin housing sales strong in February

AUSTIN (Austin Board of Realtors) – Last month, home sales in the metro increased 6.8 percent since February 2019 to 2,524 sales, according to the Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR).

“Historically low interest rates are a driver in the market response we saw in February and will continue to act as a driver despite our shared concerns over the impact of COVID-19 in our community,” said 2020 ABoR President Romeo Manzanilla.

Residential home sales dollar volume increased 21 percent from February 2019 to over $1 billion.

New listings decreased 11.8 percent year over year to 2,965 listings, and active listings dropped 29.4 percent to 4,534.

Inventory dropped to 1.5 months of inventory, painting the picture of Austin's historically competitive housing market and high demand. The Real Estate Center considers six to 6.5 months of inventory a balanced market.

Pending sales jumped 10.9 percent to 3,137, and there were 2,534 closed sales across the metro.

With the impact of COVID-19 beginning to take hold, it's uncertain how social distancing will affect the way the market continues to operate.
Monthly Review of the Texas Economy
Read more in our latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy report.

Energy firm takes space in The Woodlands

THE WOODLANDS (Realty News Report) – Western Midstream Partners has leased the top five floors of 9950 Woodloch Forest Dr., a Class AAA office building.

The 133,948-sf lease brings the 31-story tower to 35 percent leased.

The asset is one of two office towers formerly home to Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s headquarters. The pair totals 1.4 million sf. 

In late 2019, the Howard Hughes Corp. purchased the towers from Occidental Petroleum before rebranding it as the Woodlands Towers at Waterway.

Colliers International represented the landlord, while Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant.
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Construction kicks off on Southlake luxury home project

SOUTHLAKE (Dallas Morning News) – Luxury homebuilder Hawkins-Welwood Homes has started on The Metairie, a 29-acre residential development near White Chapel Blvd. and Dove Rd.

The project will include 56 homes averaging 4,500 sf. Lots will average a quarter acre.

Homes will be priced around $1.4 million.

Completion is set for early 2021. Move-ins will start later that year.

Looking for more real estate news? Our NewsTalk Texas feed has all the latest headlines. Here's a sample:

National Apartment Association offers COVID-19 guidance

ARLINGTON, Va. (National Apartment Association) – The National Apartment Association (NAA) is offering guidance to apartment communities regarding COVID-19:
  • Refer media and stakeholder inquiries to resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other qualified officials. NAA recommends that guidance from the CDC and other officials be treated seriously.
  • Continue to monitor the situation. Stay tuned to your local authorities and their ongoing communications.
  • If a resident is confirmed to have or is believed to have COVID-19, do not direct facilities management or maintenance staff to the apartment. Immediately notify the local health department and contact CDC for guidance regarding appropriate measures to take.
  • Ensure your office has the proper contact information of the local health authority and/or the best CDC resources on hand for handling queries from local stakeholders.
NAA also provided answers to potential questions from residents and/or media in its COVID-19 press release.
market viewer screen shotTexas Realtors' MarketViewer tool helps members and their clients quickly understand the market statistics in their area. This powerful tool is a member benefit available exclusively to Texas Realtors and local Realtor associations in Texas. Data are compiled and analyzed through a research agreement between Texas Realtors, the Real Estate Center, and all MLSs across the state. 

Howard Hughes sells M.D. Anderson Cancer Center building

THE WOODLA­NDS ­­­­­­(Houston Business Journal) – Howard Hughes Corp. has sold the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center building at 100 Fellowship Dr. for $115 million.

M.D. Anderson will remain in the 208,000-sf building, which opened last September.

The sale is part of Howard Hughes' plan to divest $2 billion in noncore assets.
trees and grass in rural texas
The Real Estate Center's 30th Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets conference has been canceled. Click here to read a message from Center Director Gary Maler.

Namhawk planning Carrollton mixed-use project

CARROLLTON (Dallas Business Journal) – Namhawk LLC is developing a $300 million mixed-use project called Carrollton Gateway.

The company acquired the 11.2 acres between N. Broadway St. and I-35 in early 2019.

Phase one will have a 325-unit apartment complex with a third-floor terrace, coworking space, and ground-floor retail. Phase two will include a 150,000-sf office building.

Later phases call for a hotel with at least 200 rooms and two eight-story condominiums.

Namhawk will work with the city to improve N. Broadway.

The Ratcliff Group LLC is the project manager, and Page Architects designed the master plan.

Belvoir buys building in Memorial Villages neighborhood

HOUSTON (Realty News Report) – Belvoir Real Estate Group LLC has purchased 7600 Woodway Dr., a 110,529-sf office building.

The asset, built in 1982, is near the intersection of San Felipe St. and Voss Rd. in the Memorial Villages neighborhood. It is 90 percent occupied.

Belvoir plans to improve the property.

JLL represented the seller and arranged financing.

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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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