RECON for July 17, 2020RECON for July 17, 20202020-07-17T05:00:00Z2020-07-17T05:00:00Z
RECON Real Estate Center
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College Station has been named the best city for tech jobs by Zippia. Which other Texas city also made the top ten list? Keep reading today's RECON to find out. (Photo from Center files.)
July 17, 2020

New Texas unemployment claims decrease as state tries to recover

​COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Initial unemployment insurance claims in Texas decreased to 95,600 last week as overall business activity remained in recovery mode. 

From March 21 to July 11, nearly 2.9 million claims were filed in Texas, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). 

Continuing unemployment claims increased the week of July 4 to 1.3 million as G​overnor Greg Abbott closed bars and scaled back restaurant capacity amid an increase in COVID-19 cases.

"The resurgence in new COVID-19 cases is concerning, especially if it leads to a reversal in economic activity, which would exacerbate already weak labor-market conditions," said Real Estate Center Research Associate Paige Silva.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center estimates that from March 21 to July 4, nearly 638,800 seasonally adjusted claims were filed in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land. The metro led the state in weekly number of claims for 12 consecutive weeks. 

Since March 21, an estimated 616,500, 197,000, and 173,300 claims were filed in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, San Antonio-New Braunfels, and Austin-Round Rock, respectively. 

Along the border, an estimated 72,600, 65,100, 32,100, and 19,900 claims were filed in McAllen, El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo, respectively. ​

New initial unemployment claims decreased the week of July 4 in all of Texas’ major and border metros except for DFW as new COVID-19 cases increased.​

Accommodation and food services, administrative/support/waste management/remediation services, and retail trade remained the sectors with the biggest unemployment claims.

Almost 51.3 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims in the past 17 weeks, but those weekly claims numbers have declined since early April. 

National continued claims also extended a downward trend, sinking to 17.3 million the week of July 4.​
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NAR: Realtors used more tech in 2019

​​​WASHINGTON (National Association of Realtors) – The National Association of Realtors' (NAR) 2020 Member Profile reveals Realtors had begun using more technology and online tools even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 90 percent of members use a smartphone and a computer on a daily basis, while just about all members regularly e-mail clients. Most members use social media apps (typically Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) to communicate with clients. Seventy percent of members said they have a website for business use.

Text messaging is the preferred means of communication for Realtors (94 percent), closely followed by email (91 percent) and telephone calls (89 percent).

​In 2019, 37 percent of Realtors were paid under a fixed commission split. Median gross income was $49,700 in 2019, up from $41,800 in 2018. Total median business expenses was $6,290 in 2019, up from $4,600 in 2018.

Most members are sales agents, who for the most part specialize in residential brokerage. On average, members have nine years of experience in the real estate industry. 

Only 17​ percent of Realtors have less than one year of experience, continuing a downward trend and suggesting members are remaining with real estate as a career choice for a longer duration. Eighty percent said they were certain they will remain active in the industry for two more years.

Of those surveyed, 65 percent hold sales agent licenses, 22 percent have broker licenses, and 15 percent have brokerage associate license​s​​. 

Insufficient inventory has hindered the ​market, ​leading residential specialists to reference “difficulty in finding the right property” as the top reason why potential clients may not complete a given transaction. This is the seventh consecutive year where this reason exceeded housing affordability as the greatest factor limiting potential clients from buying. 

Still, the typical member recorded a higher sales volume in 2019, with a median of one additional transaction than in 2018.

​The typical member generated 15 percent of business from past clients and customers. ​Realtors earned 20 percent of their business from referrals.

The demographic profile of a Realtor hasn't changed much from 2018. Here's a run-down:
  • ​The typical member was a 55-year-old w​hite woman who attended college and owns her home.
  • 64 percent of Realtors were women, down from 67 percent in 2018.
  • 80 percent of Realtors were White, followed by Hispanics/Latinos (10 percent), Blacks (6 percent), and Asian/Pacific Islanders (5 percent).
  • 82 percent of members were fluent only in English. Agents under 50 years old were the most likely to be fluent in another language. Spanish was the most common second language.
  • 13 percent of members were born outside of the United States. 
Research gathered for this report was obtained prior to the coronavirus outbreak and before subsequent nationwide stay-at-home orders were instituted. A total of 12,464 responses were collected. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume, and number of transactions is characteristic of calendar year 2019, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2020.
Texas Weekly Leading Index
Overall economic activity improved in May after collapsing the previous month, but a long road to recovery is still ahead. Our latest Outlook for the Texas Economy report has the details. Don't forget to subscribe for monthly email updates.

College Station, Sugar Land among best cities for tech jobs

SAN MATEO, Calif. (Zippia) – ​College Station has taken the top spot on Zippia's list of the best up-and-coming cities for technology jobs. 

According to the report, the Brazos County city had more growth in tech careers than most other U.S. cities, growing 82.66 percent. 

College Station offers 7,763 total tech jobs, 14.4 percent of the city's job pool.

Sugar Land was the only other Texas city on the list, ranking fifth. 

The Houston-area city had a tech job growth rate of 47.07 percent. It has one of the highest percentages of tech jobs, with 12.8 percent of its workforce dedicated to the tech industry. That boils down to 7,553 jobs. 

Other cities on the list are: 
  • No. 2 Coral Springs, Fla.;
  • No. 3 Westminster, Colo.;
  • No. 4 Hampton, Va.; 
  • No. 6 Sandy, Utah;
  • No. 7 Fairfield, Calif.; 
  • No. 8 Simi Valley, Calif.; 
  • No. 9 Worcester, Mass.; and 
  • No. 10 Lowell, Mass. 
To determine the list, Zippia ranked over 300 cities on increase in tech jobs and overall percentage of tech jobs. ​​The data come from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
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30-year mortgage rates fall below 3 percent for first time since 1971

​​​​WASHINGTON ​(New York Times) – ​The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98 percent this week, falling below 3 percent for the first time since Freddie Mac began tracking the metric in April 1971.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low of 2.48 percent.

Rates have dropped almost 2 percentage points over the past year and a half, helping drive up home​buying demand and keeping home prices from dropping during the COVID-19-related recession. 

For a mortgage in the amount of the national median home price (around $285,000), the rate drops this year would save a borrower more than $100 a month in payments and roughly $50,000 over the course of the loan.​

Applications for home-purchase and refinance loans increased 5.1 percent in the past week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

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

Texas unemployment rate falls to 8.6 percent in June

​​AUSTIN (Texas Workforce Commission) – The Texas economy added 225,200 nonfarm jobs in June, pushing the unemployment rate down to 8.6 percent, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. 

This is the second consecutive monthly decrease and the lowest rate since Texas' economy was initially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in March. 

In the private sector, 243,900 jobs were created. 

The national unemployment rate is 11.1 percent, also down from May.

​Amarillo had the lowest nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the state at 6 percent. Odessa had the highest at 13 percent.

All employment sectors had seasonally adjusted job losses since June 2019 except for the financial activities industry, which saw no change. Mining and logging had the largest job loss with employment falling 24 percent. 
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. 

Allen approves 135-acre mixed-use project

​​ALLEN (Dallas Morning News) – JaRyCo Development and the Johnson family are building a 135-acre urban-style project on Sam Rayburn Tollway and Alma Dr.

Called The Farm, the project will include 1.6 million sf of offices, 142,000 sf of retail, a 150-room hotel, 2,000 residential units, and 60,000 sf of restaurants. 

Plans also include a 2.5-acre lake with a boardwalk, two miles of trails, a 16-acre greenbelt along Watters Creek, and additional park areas.

The project team includes Architect Omniplan, Dynamic Engineering, and TBG.

The city council approved plans for the development. Construction starts in late 2020.

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995K-sf spec industrial project breaks ground in El Paso

​​EL PASO (REBusiness Online) – VanTrust Real Estate has broken ground on a 994,639-sf speculative industrial project within five miles of the Zaragoza Bridge. 

The first phase will include four buildings totaling 514,135 sf. Construction will be complete in early 2021. 

Phase two will consist of two buildings totaling 480,504 sf. 
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820K-sf Amazon fulfillment center to create 1,000 jobs 

​​PFLUGERVILLE (Commercial Property Executive) – Amazon is developing an 820,000-sf fulfillment center along Pecan St. off SH 130.

The facility will creat​e 1,000 full-time jobs.

​Construction will be complete in 2021. 

Construction wraps on Bay Area Business Park

​PASADENA (Houston Business Journal) – ​​​Dallas-based Stream Realty Partners has completed construction work on the 3.3 million-sf Bay Area Business Park.

The third and final phase, whi​ch encompasses three buildings totaling 1.3 million sf, delivered​ last month. They were 20 percent preleased. ​

Stream had been developing the 232-acre industrial project at 10619 Red Bluff Rd. since 2007. 

Houston-based Powers Brown Architecture designed the project. Katy-based Rosenberger Construction was the general contractor.

Tenants include Floor & Decor, Calpine, Honeywell, and Dunavant.
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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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