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Ruse Of Property Tax Transparency Laid Bare With Sale Of KPMG Plaza Tower

The ruse of property tax transparency in Texas was laid bare this holiday season with the sale of the KPMG Plaza tower at 2323 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas. It would be hard to find a better example of the giant con played on Texas homeowners than this 18-story office tower which reportedly sold at the end of 2019 for a cool $240 million. As usual, the Dallas Morning Snooze completely missed the real story surrounding the sale of this trophy commercial property, focusing instead on the glitz and glamour behind Dallas real estate scene. [...]

October New Home Sales Rise On Easy Comparison

On the surface, the Census Bureau's 31.6% year-over-year increase in new home sales for October looks spectacular. To put it in context, however, new home sales are simply responding to the Federal Reserve's market interventions and that spectacular plunge in mortgage interest rates providing a very easy year-over-year comparison. On a monthly basis, new home sales dipped about one percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 units. The longer term view shows new home sales still rising on a steady path out of the abyss. Along with the big drop in [...]

NAR: Existing Home Sales Up 3.9% In September

The National Association of Realtors reported a 3.9% increase in existing home sales for the month of September. Home sales in the South region were reportedly up 6 percent according to NAR, and this is reflective of what we saw in the North Texas housing market last month. The big year-over-drop in rates pushed both home sales and prices higher last month. According to NAR the median price of an existing U.S. home increased 5.9% in September. The average price of a U.S. home at $308,500 was higher by 4.2%. Months of supply stood at [...]

Stagnating Home Sales, Mortgage Rates & Job Growth But The Fed Only Has Eyes For Wall Street

Home sales are stagnating, mortgage rates are falling and job growth is now waning. What's not to love? Today's nonfarm payrolls report was a resounding thud with only 75,000 jobs added in May. Previous months were revised downward as well. Everywhere you look, cracks are beginning to appear in the carefully varnished edifice the Federal Reserve likes to call an economy. Maybe this is why there were 13 Federal Reserve officials hitting the airwaves this week to talk up their most favored metric of economic validation, the U.S. stock market. Earlier in the week we [...]

New Home Sales Jump 7 Percent In April But Momentum Is Fading

The Census Bureau reported new home sales in April which rose 7 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Sales (contract signings) for April posted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 units. This was close to expectations, but interestingly the April figure represented a rather large 7 percent drop from revised March numbers. The sales numbers for the previous three months were revised higher. The median price of a new home rose in April to $342,200, while the average price of a new home contracted in April rose to $393700. This [...]

Dallas Morning News Misses Glaring Example Of Appraisal Fraud Right Under Their Noses

The company selling the 'Rock of Truth' campus just missed a glaring example of appraisal fraud right under their noses. Belo Corp reportedly just sold the old Dallas Morning News downtown campus at 508 Young Street for $28 million. The 325,000 square-foot campus includes two buildings and a parking garage on roughly 8 acres. That 8 acre site happens to be one of the largest redevelopment sites in downtown Dallas Texas. The former campus of Dallas' largest newspaper was purchased by Ray Washburne, a local developer who owns Charter Holdings. Washburne also bought a shopping [...]

Home Builder Confidence Not Confirmed By Housing Starts & Permits Data

This week the National Association of Home Builders reported improved confidence and business conditions among new home builders. With the big drop in mortgage interest rates, builders have been enjoying solid sales so far in 2019. NAHB chairman, Greg Ugalde, even said as much... “Builders are busy catching up after a wet winter and many characterize sales as solid, driven by improved demand and ongoing low overall supply...However, affordability challenges persist and remain a big impediment to stronger sales.” With mortgage rates just above 4 percent, the year-over-year interest rate comparisons are very favorable for [...]

Texas Realtors Pay Over $6 Million For Bogus Research At A&M RECenter

"The first rule of fight club is: You do not talk about fight club." Texas Realtors continue to throw money at bogus research at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center. Many Texas Realtors probably don't even know that a portion of their annual licensing dues goes to pay the salaries of the staff at the RECenter. Many are probably unaware of how they are being shortchanged by this Texas institution which is still partnering with the Federal Reserve when it comes to economic research. That is a shame, because the garbage being produced by the [...]

DFW Contract Activity Cools In April As Stimulus From Lower Rates Fades

DFW contract activity faded in April. Looking at the preliminary sales data for North Texas, it is apparent that the stimulus from the big drop in mortgage rates has run its course. It will be another week or so before we get the official press release numbers, but the data is telling. April was another good month for home sales. Actual closings for home sales showed a robust real estate market in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but contract signings were another matter. Preliminary sales data indicate that the DFW real estate market is peaking prematurely [...]

Fed Says No Rate Hikes In 2019, Balance Sheet Drawdown Ending In September

The Jerome Powell cave is now a comical farce. Aside from using the word "patient" about 30 times in the March FOMC statement, Jerome Powell told us the Fed does not expect to hike interest rates at all in 2019. To top things off, the Fed balance sheet that was on autopilot at the end of last year will now end this September. In terms of the Fed's projections for the economy, growth was revised down and the unemployment rate was revised up slightly. "In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation [...]