Sales, Listings Up, But High-End Lull Not Over

Real estate activity in the Park Cities and Preston Hollow has picked up following a slowdown leading into last November’s election.

Single family closings and listings are looking up to begin the year, but real estate agencies are still hoping transactions for higher end properties will rebound.

The market for homes priced at $2 million or more hasn’t been up for 18 months, according to Allie Beth Allman, president/CEO of Allie Beth Allman & Associates.

“It’s the oil prices,” she said. “People had made so much money in the oil business, and then when it dropped 50 percent it slowed them down.

“Also, I think they are waiting to see if [President Donald] Trump’s going to get that tax break through,” Allman said. “I know a lot of people are.”

That lingering higher end lull has some ripple effects.

Bob Moran, an agent with Virginia Cook Realtors, sees the impact with zero lot line homes in north Dallas as well as in gated communities, where typically unwelcomed open houses are occurring nearly every Sunday.

“It could be some empty nesters who have been wanting to sell,” he said. “They aren’t going to buy in Lake Forest until they get their house sold.”

Allman sees the impact in lot sales.

“If you are going to build a house, you want to build exactly what you want,” she said. “By the time you finish the project, you are way in the upper end.”

Allman advises sellers to be realistic in their pricing.

“If they get more aggressive in their pricing, those are the ones we see selling,” she said.

That said, her clients aren’t desperate. They aren’t facing foreclosures. They aren’t overextended. “I haven’t seen any fire sales,” Allman said.

And real estate professionals are busy.

Home sales in March were nearly 85 percent higher in the Park Cities than a year ago and 14 percent higher in Preston Hollow. Listings are up by more than 100 in both communities from December.

“It’s been a great first quarter for me,” Moran said.

Luxury half duplexes – also called attached single family homes – are replacing old ones and going quickly, he said. “If they are new and contemporary looking. . . they are selling like crazy.”

Moran enjoys helping owners of older homes market to buyers who will live in the houses, instead of tearing down and rebuilding.

Working on a property to get it looking its best and photographing it right can make a big difference, he said. “My sellers and I just do special things to get one more buyer who will live in the house.”

But in Dallas real estate, the definition of “old” is often changing.

Moran has seen a large 1980s home with a demotion crew outside.

“The ‘80s homes are considered not old enough to be charming and not new enough to be new,” he said.

With newer, higher end homes and quality school districts available in Collin County, sellers must make sure their Park Cities and Preston Hollow houses look as appealing as possible, Moran said. “You’ve got to make the house look better than the competition.”

BLAH

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