RECON for October 2, 2020RECON for October 2, 20202020-10-02T05:00:00Z2020-10-02T05:00:00Z
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Looking for the biggest headlines in Texas real estate? We've got you covered. In today's issue of RECON, we report on Texas townhome and condo sales, post-COVID-19 employment recovery, state GDP, and sales tax revenue. Keep scrolling for more. (Photo from Center files.)
October 2, 2020

Texas unemployment continues to improve 

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – ​Initial unemployment insurance claims in Texas decreased to over 41,300 the week ending Sept. 26, the third straight week of declines.​

This brings the total number of initial claims to 3.57 million, according to data from the U.​S. Department of Labor (DOL).​

Last week's jobless claim count is the lowest weekly number since the pandemic hit the economy. ​​

Continuing unemployment claims also decreased for the third consecutive week, falling to 909,600 the week ending Sept. 19. 

"​The downward trend and rate of decline indicate improvements in labor conditions as the labor market seems to be gaining some momentum," said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres. "Still, much work needs to be done.​"

Claims are falling at the national level. ​​Almost 63 million Americans have filed initial unemployment claims in the past 28 weeks. New claims decreased last week to 836,900.​ 

Texas jobless claims have been falling at a faster rate than the nation during the past two weeks.

Some recent layoff announcements—like ​Fort Worth-based American Airlines—could hinder the labor market's recovery in coming weeks. 

"Some industries are still struggling to recover from the pandemic." said Torres. "It's worrisome that some of those temporary layoffs are now becoming permanent, making it more difficult for those workers to return to the labor force.​"​

Fewer people in most of Texas' major and border metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) filed for initial unemployment during the week ending Sept. 19. Labor market recovery in those metros continued to gain momentum with the exception of Laredo, where new claims increased.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center estimates that from March 21 to Sept. 19 ​over 815,400 seasonally adjusted claims were filed in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land. The metro continues to lead the state in total number of claims.

In the past 27 weeks, an estimated 775,500 claims were filed in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 247,000 in San Antonio-New Braunfels, and 210,200 in Austin-Round Rock. ​
Along the border, an estimated 95,4​00 claims were filed in McAllen, 81,000 in El Paso, 42,100 in Brownsville, and 25,000 in Laredo.

Retail trade, administrative​/support/waste management/remediation services, healthcare/social assistance​​, construction, and accommodation and food services had the most unemployment claims through the week ending Sept. 19.​​

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Condo, townhome sales fall in June 

​​​​AUSTIN (Texas Realtors) – Both condominium and townhome sales fell year over year in June 2020, according to Texas Realtors' Texas Condominium Sales Report

Condo sales decreased 9.8 percent to 11,875 sales, while townhomes declined 0.2 percent to 8,616 sales. 

Texas condo inventory increased 0.3 months to 5.3 months of inventory. Townhome inventory fell 0.6 months to 4.3 months. The Real Estate Center considers six to 6.5 months of inventory a balanced market.

Total dollar volume for both condos and townhomes sold in Texas during the year ending June 2020 was $5.26 trillion. Dollar volume for condo and townhome sales was $3 trillion and $2.26 trillion, respectively. 

Sales price increased moderately for both property types. Statewide, the year-to-date median sales price was $192,000 for condos​ (1.6 percent annual increase) and $230,000 for townhomes (1.3 percent increase). 
Total RECall
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Texas real GDP falls 29 percent in 2Q2020

​​​WASHINGTON (Bureau of Economic Analysis) – Texas' real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 29 percent at a​ seasonally adjusted rate in 2Q2020, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Nationally, GDP fell 31.4 percent. All states and the District of Columbia saw declines in GDP last quarter. Texas had the 14th-lowest drop. 

The biggest contributors to the fall in GDP were healthcare and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; accommodation and food services; wholesale trade, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; and durable goods manufacturing.​​

The nationwide decline reflected the response to COVID-19. S​tay-at-home orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses.
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State sales tax revenue posts year-over-year decline

AUSTIN (Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts) – State sales tax revenue totaled ​​$2.57 billion in September, 6.1 percent less than in September 2019, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

The majority of September sales tax revenue is based on sales made in August and remitted to the agency in September.

Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in September 2020 was down 2.5 percent compared with the same period a year ago. 

Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 60 percent of all tax collections. The effects of the coronavirus-related economic slowdown also were evident in some other sources of revenue last month.

Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:
  • motor vehicle sales and rental taxes – $454 million, up 4.3 percent year over year (YOY);
  • motor fuel taxes – $294 million, down 9.7 percent YOY;
  • oil production tax – $227 million, down 31.9 percent YOY;
  • natural gas production tax – $71 million, down 28.1 percent YOY;
  • hotel occupancy tax – $34 million, down 36.9 percent YOY; and
  • alcoholic beverage taxes – $78 million, down 33.7 percent YOY.
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2,500-home community coming to north Fort Worth

​​​FORT WORTH (Dallas Morning News) – Plano-based Green Brick Partners and Arizona-based Taylor Morrison Homes are building a 2,500-home community.

The project, called Madero, will be on 900 acres near US 287.

​Green Brick will build 1,250 homes with his Trophy Signature Homes brand. They will range from 1,500 to 3,500 sf and start in the high $200,000s.

Taylor Morrison will build 1,250 homes ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 sf. Those homes will also start in the high $200,000s.

Groundbreaking is set for early next year.
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$40M cold-storage project breaks ground

​​​​BURLESON (Dallas Morning News) – Austin-based Yukon Venture Partners and New Jersey-based Saxum Real Estate has started on a $40 million refrigerated distribution center.

Fort Worth-based Premier Refrigerated Warehouse has committed to take almost half of the 400,000-sf development. 

The building will be in the Highpoint Business Park near I-35.

Construction started on Oct. 1 with completion set for next year.

Arco Design/Build is the general​ contractor. ​​​​
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UHS buys 80 acres for future hospital

​​​SAN ANTONIO (San Antonio Express-News) – University Health System has purchased 80 acres between Culebra and Shaenfield Roads alon​g Loop 1604. 

A hospital will be built o​​​​​n a 32.2-acre section of t​he property. 

Lowe’s inks 120K-sf industrial lease in Kyle Crossing

​​KYLE (Compass Communications) – Lowe’s has signed a 120,000-sf lease in Kyle Crossing Business Park for a new distribution center. 

The company will occupy 60 percent of Building 1 at 1980 Kohlers Crossing, adjacent to an Amazon sorting facility.​​​​
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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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