RECON for June 19, 2020RECON for June 19, 20202020-06-19T05:00:00Z2020-06-19T05:00:00Z
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The Real Estate Center's "Telling Our Story" 2018-19 Annual Report + 2020 Calendar earned a Gold Quill Award of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators. The Center now has six Gold Quill awards. Thanks to our audience for their continued support. (Photo from Center files.)
June 19, 2020

Texas fighting simultaneous double economic whammy

​​COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Lower oil prices plus a pandemic mean Texas’ economy is being hit harder than the world and the rest of the United States. But a researcher monitoring the state’s weekly economic heartbeat, says he detects positive signs. 

"After flattening the last two weeks of May, the Texas weekly leading index increased during the first week of June," said Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. "This was due to an increase in business applications, fewer people becoming unemployed, and growth in the real price of oil."

The COVID-19 health crisis is unlike any crisis to hit the Texas economy, said Torres.

"The economy is currently going through a self-induced, sudden-stop in an attempt to stabilize the spread of the virus and save lives. The size of the economic shock will likely result in losses that overshadow those from the 2008-09 financial crisis," he said.

In response to the pandemic, researchers at the Real Estate Center developed a system to monitor economic variables and better forecast changes. The Center’s new Texas high-frequency economic activity index estimates the timing and length of future upswings and downturns on a weekly basis. Read COVID-19 Impact Projections on Texas' Economy.

“The index is signaling economic improvements going forward and possibly a rebound from the economic shutdown imposed in March and April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Torres.
birds flying by barbed wireThe Real Estate Center is closed Friday, June 19th, in observance of Emancipation Day.

Initial unemployment claims increase after seven-week downward trend

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – In the week ending June 13, over 85,600 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed in Texas, reverting the downward trend observed in the previous seven weeks. 

This brings total claims since March 21 to 2.5 million, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

Texans that continue to claim unemployment insurance increased to 1.3 million in the week ending June 6.  

"The increase in the number of continuing claims is worrisome, indicating that people continue to find themselves unemployed," said Real Estate Center Research Economist​ Dr. Luis Torres. 

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center estimates that from March 21 to June 6 nearly 542,700 seasonally adjusted claims were filed in Dallas-Fort Worth. Houston followed closely with 540,300 claims. 

Although DFW has largest accumulated number of initial unemployment claims, Houston has ​the highest weekly number of new​ claims since April 18.​

In San Antonio and Austin, an estimated 169,500 and 153,700 claims were filed during that time, respectively. 

Along the border, an estimated 60,00, 57,300, 26,600, and 16,900 claims were filed in McAllen, El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo, respectively.

New initial claims in Brownsville decreased last week after increasing the previous two.

From March 21 to June 6, over 12,100​ unemployment claims were filed in College Station-Bryan.

Nationwide, nearly 45.7 million unemployment claims have been filed in the past 13 weeks.​
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Texas small land sales decrease, price per acre increase

AUSTIN (Texas Realtors) – After six years of growth, Texas small land sales volume declined in 2019​ while median price increased, according to Texas Realtors' 2020 Texas Small Land Sales Report.

The number of small land sales declined 2.8 percent to 7,813 tracts sold. The average price per acre grew 7.32 percent to $6,232.

“Property movement statewide was pretty comparable from 2018 to 2019 with the exception of the Panhandle," said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Charles Gilliland. "The significant increase in prices is most likely attributed to the large amount of activity from the oil and gas industry. However, the 2020 picture for small land sales in Texas will be significantly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

West Texas experienced a double-digital sales volume percentage increase while South Texas experienced a moderate increase.

The average tract size for small land sales in Texas decreased 3 percent to 32 acres. Far West Texas, Northeast Texas, and South Texas all experienced increases in average tract size.  

​The definition of a small land sale varies by region but is generally a sale of 200 acres or less. The exception is Far West Texas, where 500 to 8,000 acres qualifies as a small land sale.​​

Read the Center's Texas Land Market Semi-Annual Report.
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Amazon building another Houston-area fulfillment center

RICHMOND (Houston Business Journal) – ​Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. is building a 850,000-sf fulfillment center on 93.5 acres at 10507 Harlem Rd.

Dallas-based Trammel Crow Co. is developing the project, which will create 1,000 jobs.

The facility will ship small items such as books, electronic, and toys. Employees will work alongside Amazon robotics. 

Opening is set for 2021.

Ware Malcomb is the architect, and Graycor Construction Co. Inc. is the general contractor. HSA & Associates, Langan Engineering, and Jordon & Skala Engineers are providing ​engineering services. The Harrington Group Inc. is providing fire protection design.

Read King represented the seller in the land deal. Cushman & Wakefield and KBC Advisors represented Amazon. 
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. 

Massive 7M-sf Velocity Crossing planned for Austin

AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – Work will start next year on Velocity Crossing, a seven million-sf mixed-use development.

Plans include:
  • 2,683 apartments,
  • 2.9 million sf of office space, 
  • 585,000 sf of flex industrial and creative office space, and 
  • 310,000 sf for other commercial uses.  ​
The project will be on 314 acres east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport along the SH 130 toll road. 
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FHFA extends foreclosure, eviction moratorium

​​WASHINGTON (Federal Housing Finance Agency) – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend their single-family moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least August 31, 2020. 

The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. 

The current moratorium ​was set to expire on June 30th. 

Read "Residential Rental Protection and COVID-19" to learn what protections Texas renters have.

Worth & Associates starts on 135K-sf office park

​SAN ANTONIO (REBusiness Online) – Worth & Associates have broken ground on Walker Ranch Business Park, a two-building, 135,000-sf office park at the corner of Wurzbach Pkwy. and West Ave. 

A 58,000-sf building will have ten-ft ceilings, two conference rooms, break rooms, and a courtyard. A 78,000-sf building will feature 26-ft clear heights, skylights, a​nd outdoor break areas. 

The first building will deliver in first quarter 2021 with the second opening the next quarter. 

Joeris General Contractors is the general contractor. Chesney Morales is the architect. ​
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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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