Category: Real Estate

Housing Market Cooling Off This Quarter

North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc.

The North Texas housing market is showing signs of cooling down. The latest North Texas Real Estate Information Systems statistics show that the median September home price in the Park Cities was down 17 percent compared to June. Despite a double-digit drop, the $1.2 million median price is still 5 percent higher than it was in September 2015.

The median home price in Preston Hollow climbed 19 percent to $952,000 over the third quarter. However, houses in Preston Hollow are taking longer to sell, as is the case in the Park Cities. According to some local real estate experts, these trends are not necessarily a bad thing.

“This is a much more healthy and balanced market,” said Virginia Cook realtor Lori Sparks. “It’s still an awesome time for sellers, but we couldn’t have continued on that pace forever. It would have been impossible.”

Penson House Sold for $4.5 Million



Courtesy Heritage Auctions

Courtesy Heritage Auctions


Heritage Auctions announced Sept. 27 that the Penson House on Armstrong Avenue sold for almost $5 million. The buyer, who was represented by Allie Beth Allman of Allie Beth Allman and Associates, chose to remain anonymous.

The 1954 home was designed by O'Neil Ford for Jack and Nancy Penson. Ford was well-known for his architectural style that combined elements of European modernism with Texas and Southwestern elements. The 9,800-square-foot Penson House was one of his largest residential projects.

Preservation Dallas added the house to the 2016 list of most endangered places, noting that its location could be attractive to potential developers, and that Highland Park does not have a mechanism to protect historic buildings.

The house has been on the market for more than two years. According to a release from Heritage Auctions, 12 people placed bids on the house.

"This Highland Park estate was one of the most significant auctions we've ever held," said Nate Schar, Heritage director of luxury real estate.

Homeowners Fight Inflated Property Taxes

Photo by Joshua Baethge

Soaring property evaluations are hammering local homeowners. While tax rates have remained relatively stable over the past five years, tax bills are still on the rise. The North Texas housing boom is largely to blame as strong demand continues to drive up home values.

Increasingly, property owners are fighting back. According to the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD), 78,508 residential tax appeals were filed this year – 20 percent more than last year. In 2014, there were only 57,435 appeals.

“It’s insane that the government can just send you a letter saying, ‘Here’s what your house is worth,’ without even going into your home,” said North Dallas resident James Hanson.

When government entities set their budgets, they try to anticipate how much money will be generated from property taxes. If the revenue is higher than expected, they end up with a surplus.

Anatomy of a Best Realtor


Five of D Magazine’s Best Realtors share their keys to success.

Who is your ideal client?

The ideal client is someone who knows which neighborhood they want and knows exactly what they are looking for in their home, and finally, one who has a strategy for their investment — such as, they know exactly what they want out of this home and they know how long they want to stay and what they need to do to capture future profit when it is time to sell.
- Alexis Collard, Allie Beth Allman (12 years) 

Make Your Grout Stand Out


For many years, we have seen a trend of making grout go away. Grout lines got smaller, and we used the term butt-joint to describe designs showing no grout line or as little grout line as possible. As designers and contractors, we chose colors that would blend in with the tile or stone and not take away from the tile itself. The grout color was secondary and played no part in the design. It was almost a nuisance to make the selection. I dreaded picking grout colors and was always waiting for the tile installer on job sites, screaming for the color!

Housing Inventory Increase Gives Buyers More Options


The first half of 2016 saw a dramatic increase in the number of houses on the market. The number of active listings in the Park Cities increased 81 percent between December and June. The increase was even more striking in Preston Hollow, where active listings nearly doubled over the same time period.

According to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty agent Tom Hughes, the usual increase in spring home sales started later than normal this year. He said that activity seems to have picked up slightly since school let out in May.

“Usually when you have a big run like we had in 2014 and 2015, sellers see opportunities for higher prices,” said Hughes. “When too many decide to list at the same time, it sometimes causes a glut of inventory.”

Furry Friends Inspire Interiors

(Courtesy Sarah Pickard)

Sarah Pickard

Sarah Pickard

Those who know me know that I am a huge animal lover — all animals no matter what breed, shape, or size. In recent weeks while working with several clients, I have noticed that their interiors have taken on characteristics of their dogs... colors, shapes, and personalities. We love them to death so why not get inspired by them? From gray, white, black and white, to chocolate, our favorite pooches are definitely the rage in color and design trends.

Black and white rooms exude energy and sophistication. They are timeless, classic, and chic. Add further dimension to your space by adding pops of color to your palette. Be daring and paint your base, door trim or crown molding glossy black. Black and white tile is also all the rage today and reminiscent of homes in Europe, where it has been installed on floors, walls, and ceilings for centuries. Your guests will not want to leave these spaces!

Last Land Standing No More

43hundred Lomo Alto will include seven townhomes in two three-story buildings. (Photo: Bernbaum/Magadini architects)

For years, developers have planned and then withdrawn multifamily projects at 4300 Lomo Alto Drive, which remains one of the most intriguing half-acres of vacant land in the Park Cities.

Bill White intends to change that pattern. His company, Dallas-based Len Mac Development, intends to break ground in June on a luxury townhome complex that he hopes will help revitalize the corridor on the southern end of Highland Park.

The concept features a pair of three-story buildings with seven townhomes total. The purchase price will start at $1.85 million for a 3,000-square-foot vertical floor plan with three bedrooms and 3.5 baths that includes an elevator in each unit along with two balconies and a gas fireplace.

“These will be unique to the area, simply because there hasn’t been a design quite like this before,” said White, whose company has built projects in nearby Oak Lawn.

He hopes the gated project, known as 43hundred Lomo Alto, will be a catalyst for transforming the neighborhood, which could include other multifamily developments and is within walking distance of an upscale shopping complex anchored by a Whole Foods Market.

What to Expect from HOAs


Love them or hate them, homeowners associations are a fact of life in many communities. Understanding their roles and expectations can go a long way toward improving a neighborhood’s quality of life.

According to realtor Martha Miller, prospective buyers who are considering moving to a neighborhood with an HOA should research the specific requirements of the association before making a decision.

“They should ask questions like ‘what do they do?’ and ‘how much do you pay?’,” Miller said.

Preston Hollow has three namesake HOAs (East, North and South), as well as at least a half a dozen more that stake some claim to the area. The single-family neighborhoods in Highland Park and University Park do not have homeowners’ associations. However, practically every condominium development in the Park Cities area has its own association, no matter how small. Nearby neighborhoods like Lane Park, Caruth Hills, and Windsor Park also boast their own HOAs.

According to Juli Black, VP of marketing and communications for the Preston Hollow East Home Owners Association, her organization’s primary goals are to provide enhanced security and foster a greater sense of community.

“We are here to be a voice for them with anything they need,” Black said.