Dec 31, 2010

Housing Market Update December 2010

The December housing market begins with a continuation of seasonal price and inventory declines, with asking prices down by 0.45% and active inventory down by 3.16%.

The Altos 10-City Price Composite continued its seasonal decline in November with prices down 0.45%.  Expect weekly declines in price, inventory and demand through the end of the year. Watch the third week of January before the first inklings of seasonal demand uptick become visible.

Nov 2, 2010

Some Election Day Effects You Probably Haven't Considered

Change It BackThere has been more media coverage of this election than any other mid-term election in my life. For the last several months, election coverage has increased daily, reaching overwhelming levels. Being a political news addict, I've absorbed most of it, much to the consternation of my beautiful wife. But, it occurred to me the other day, that virtually all news coverage has focused on House and Senate races. Races for governorships and state legislatures going largely ignored.

Jul 25, 2010

Real Time Housing Market Report - June 2010

After nine consecutive monthly declines, the Altos Research 10-City Composite Index posted its first positive reading in May 2010. Remaining positive, however, proved to be unsustainable, as the Index retreated to a flat reading in June.

Apr 11, 2010

Throw The Bastards Out: If We Are To Save All That Is Right About America It Is Time To Send Them Packing For Good

Make Obama A One Term President I remember it like it was yesterday. It was presidential election season in the run-up to the 1980 election between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. I was 16 years old and paying a great deal of attention to the election which remains the widest chasm between candidates that I have ever seen. I started, being very excited about observing American democracy at work.

Mar 25, 2010

Texas Will Lead the Recovery is the Prediction From Experts at Moodys

Moody's estimates that US households have lost almost $6 trillion in housing values during the recession.

That's the bad news. The good news is that Texas will outpace the rest of the country coming out of the recession. But that doesn't mean there won't be bumps in the road to recovery, the folks at Moody's Analytics said Tuesday at their annual Dallas economic confab.

Mar 20, 2010

Moody’s Says US Debt Could Test Triple-A Rating

Dark Days Over the US CapitolEven before the massive costs of nationalized health care are added to the federal budget, the crushing deficits of Obama and the Democrats have credit rating agencies facing downgrades to America's AAA credit rating.

The gold-plated credit rating of the United States may be at risk as the nation copes with growing debt. Moody's states that even AAA-rated US Treasury bonds, considered  the safest of investments, could be downgraded if Washington continues on its current path of failing to manage the federal debt.

Mar 17, 2010

ObamaCare: 46% of Primary Care Physicians Will Quit According to New England Journal of Medicine

New England Journal of Medicine The New England Journal of Medicine reports in its March-April 2010 issue that 46.3% of Primary Care Physicians will likely leave the practice of medicine if ObamaCare passes. What a raging endorsement for Obama's health care reform plan from the liberal leaning NEJM.

The Dear Leader and leading socialists - I'm sorry, Democrats - should be so proud. They should also be so proud for finding every parliamentary trick available to back door into passing this legislation. Back door being a key phrase, because that's where they are sticking it to Americans. The Democrats clearly don't have the courage of their convictions, which is no surprise, because they have no convictions.

Mar 14, 2010

December Existing Home Sales Drop Sharply 2009 Full Year Sales Increase But Prices Decline

Upside-Down-Builders-Out-of-BusinessWhile the sale of existing US homes fell at the sharpest rate on record in December, when compared to the prior month, sales for the entire year increased almost five percent from 2008 levels. Despite the increase in 2009 sales, prices dropped by 12.4% from 2008 in what is probably the sharpest annual decline since the Great Depression.

Watch for tomorrow's article which provides an in-depth analysis of the local DFW Metroplex housing market. Here's a hint: it's considerably better.

Sales of previously owned US homes fell at the fastest pace on record last month as the boost from a popular tax credit faded. The National Association of Realtors said existing home sales fell 16.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.45 million units in December.

Feb 27, 2010


The primary author of this blog is Scott Schaefer, a Certified Green Building Professional CGBP home builder in Plano Texas. Schaefer is the Founder and Managing Partner of Dallas home builder and new urban real estate developer Lexington Luxury Builders.

Lexington conceives, designs and builds green built custom homes, luxury townhomes and condominiums, and walkable, eco-friendly, new urban neighborhoods in Dallas, Plano and other unparalleled locations throughout the DFW Metroplex.  Schaefer and Lexington develop and build Homes and Neighborhoods designed inexorably with both the natural and urban landscapes. For almost 20 years, Schaefer has created a Sense of Place, enhancing the built environment while protecting our natural environment.

Feb 12, 2010

An Idyllic Snow Covered Day at Lexington Park in Downtown Plano as DFW Metroplex Covered With Snow

What an amazing, even idyllic day was Thursday, February 11, 2010 at Lexington Park in Plano, as the DFW Metroplex was sprinkled with a record snowfall.

Lexington Park is a cozy new residential neighborhood in Downtown Plano, by Lexington Luxury Builders. Designed and built by Scott Schaefer as a low-impact, new urban neighborhood, Lexington Park Plano is comprised of 100% green built, eco-friendly luxury condos. View this brief video of a snow day at Lexington Park; Norman Rockwell would have felt right at home, and so will you.

Visit the Lexington Park website or click here to Download Brochure for the available homes and condos at Lexington Park in Downtown Plano. 

Jan 12, 2010

Green Home Market Segment Increases Substantially

The housing market has struggled for the last two years with all segments of the new home market down tremendously, with one notable exception: green built homes. That green segment of the market is on the rise, as Energy Star rated homes now account for nearly 17% of the new single family home market. Quite a jump from a 12% market share in 2007.

The number of homes achieving the government's Energy Star Rating since the program began in 1995 has now surpassed one million homes. Despite the overall housing slump, 75,000 new Energy Star rated homes were added to the rolls in 2009 through the end of October.

An Energy Star Rated home must be at least 20% more energy-efficient than an ordinary new home. This is a substantial upgrade in energy performance, and should be the minimum standard new home buyers should insist upon. "They are better homes," with more efficient windows, lighting, appliances, insulation, and heating and cooling systems, says Maria Vargas of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.

Private programs that certify homes as environmentally friendly, such as Green Built North Texas, the award-winning local subsidiary of the NAHB Green Building Program, also report substantial growth. Homes certified as green built by Green Built North Texas mandate energy performance standards exceeding those of Energy Star. All of the homes built by Lexington Luxury Builders in the last two years have exceeded the requirements of both Energy Star and the more stringent Green Built North Texas.

"There's an awakening going on," says Nate Kredich of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit group whose rating criteria, like that of Green Built North Texas, are stricter than Energy Star. The number of homes certified by USGBC has increased from 1,151 in 2008 to 3,050 in 2009.

Existing homes are going green, too. A recent survey by USA Today found that 68% of respondents steps in 2009 to make their homes more energy-efficient. Of those who did, 71% said it was mostly to save money and 26% mostly to save the environment. The survey indicates that the green features that sell best are those that pay for themselves quickest, as consumers focus on price.

"The interest in green building is driven by consumers. More people are doing it to save money on their heating bills," says Kevin Morrow of the National Association of Home Builders, whose green certifications jumped from 99 homes in 2008 to more than 564 in 2009. NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines are closely followed at Lexington Luxury Builders, who insist that 100% of its homes meet the stringent NAHB Green Built Standards, has built 15 Certified Green Built Homes in the last two years.

Scott Schaefer, Founder and Managing Partner of Lexington, and a Certified Green Building Professional, is one of the founding members of Green Built North Texas and a graduate of the Association’s first Green Builder Certification program.

Lexington is developing and building an entirely Green neighborhood in Plano Texas, believed to be the first 100% green residential development in the region. The neighborhood, Lexington Park at Rice Field, was conceived as a low-impact, sustainable community and designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. For more information on the neighborhood, visit the Lexington Park Website or visit Lexington’s Green Initiatives Website for more on Lexington’s commitment to going green.

Jan 5, 2010

Mighty Texas Reigns Supreme in New Population Estimates

Every year around Christmas, the Census Bureau releases new population estimates for each state. Given the recession, it's not a surprise that percentage growth, at 0.86 percent, was the lowest this decade. Immigration is down sharply, and some indicators suggest that illegal immigrants, in particular, are returning to their countries of origin.

Florida's growth was well below the national average, as it was in the previous year, in contrast to its torrid growth over most of the last century.  California grew at only a little more than the national average, entirely because of immigrant inflow and high immigrant birth rates. More Americans are leaving California and Florida than moving in.

Perennial fast growers Nevada, Arizona, California and Florida have all fallen off.  The new fastest growers are demographically tiny Wyoming, followed by Utah at No. 2 with the nation's highest birth rates and largest families.
No. 3 in percentage population growth in 2008-09 was the mighty Texas, which is astonishing given the percentage growth is based on a large enough base to make it the second most populous state in the US.  The Texas population grew by almost half a million and accounted for 18 percent of the nation's total population growth.

There may be lessons for public policy here. Texas over the decades has had low taxes, no state income tax, low public spending and regulations that encourage job growth. It didn't have much of a housing bubble or a housing price bust.

Tight limits on tort lawsuits which were put in place by then conservative Governor George Bush, have been continued by conservative Governor Rick Perry, resulting in an influx of both corporate headquarters and medical doctors.  Perhaps those purporting to lead the country in the right direction, vis a vis health care reform should take heed.

Reapportionment following the 2010 Census will produce four new seats in the US House of Representatives for Texas. California and its tax and spend policies, and liberal regulations, will not gain seats for the first time since 1850.  Come to Texas, it’s great here.

From an original article By Michael Barone of RealClear Politics