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Dallas home owners are experiencing some sticker shock. Among the country’s 50 biggest metro areas, Dallas-Fort Worth saw the 10th biggest rise nationally in mortgage payments from March 2021 to this March 2022, according to a new report from real estate platform Zillow.

The report shows a year-over-over change of 48 percent in the typical Dallas-area mortgage payment. That figure is based on principal and interest for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment.

That compares with a nationwide jump of 38 percent.

Zillow says Dallas-Fort Worth's typical monthly mortgage payment is $1,445.

But, let's say it again: "At least we aren't Austin." The Capitol City saw the biggest spike nationally — a whopping 63.5 percent — last year. Zillow pegged the Austin metro area’s typical monthly mortgage payment at $2,299.

“Home shoppers are facing a one-two affordability punch this spring: Quickly rising mortgage rates are compounding affordability challenges that have been brought on by record home value growth,” Zillow says.

Other major Texas metro areas experienced year-to-year spikes in the typical monthly mortgage payment, but not nearly at the level witnessed in Austin. By comparison:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth ranked 10th with a 48 percent year-over-year increase in the typical monthly mortgage payment ($1,445).
  • San Antonio ranked 16th with a 42.8 percent year-over-year increase in the typical monthly mortgage payment ($1,256).
  • Houston ranked 21st with a 38.8 percent year-over-year increase in the typical monthly mortgage payment ($1,144).

Among the 50 biggest metro areas, Washington, D.C., registered the lowest year-over-year increase in the typical monthly mortgage payment, 27.4 percent, the Zillow report shows.

“Higher mortgage rates were anticipated this year, but the speed of their rise has been breathtaking,” says Jeff Tucker, Zillow’s senior economist. “Record-low mortgage rates had been an affordability lifeline during the pandemic, keeping monthly payments in check even while prices climbed quickly.”

“March was the biggest test yet of whether enough buyers can meet the new asking prices to keep home values growing at a record pace, and the answer was ‘So far, yes,’” Tucker adds. “There will be a point when the cost of buying a home deters enough buyers to bring price growth back down to earth, but for now, there is plenty of fuel in the tank as home-shopping season kicks into gear.”

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Dallas-Fort Worth stars as top attraction for residents leaving Los Angeles, Zillow says

Home is where you hang your cowboy hat

Los Angeles’ population losses were Dallas-Fort Worth’s and Austin's gains in 2020.

A new report from residential real estate platform Zillow puts Austin at No. 3 and DFW at No. 4 among the five U.S. metro areas that saw the most inbound moves in 2020. For DFW and Austin, the Los Angeles metro area topped the list of places sending the most new arrivals, the Zillow report says.

Here are the top five metros for inbound moves last year:

  1. Phoenix
  2. Charlotte, North Carolina
  3. Austin
  4. Dallas-Fort Worth
  5. Sarasota, Florida

The ranking is based on SIRVA/North American Van Lines data for moves in the first 11 months of 2020.

Zillow expects the population influx in Phoenix, Charlotte, and Austin to continue in 2021 as people in higher-cost markets seek lower-cost housing elsewhere. A Zillow report in January forecasted DFW as the sixth hottest housing market in 2021, and Austin as No. 1.

Aside from L.A., last year’s top sources of new residents in DFW were the New York City and Chicago metros.

San Jose and San Francisco — accounted for the most new arrivals last year in Austin (after L.A.), the Zillow report shows.

The metro area that experienced the most departures last year was New York City, followed by L.A., San Francisco, and Chicago, according to Zillow.

Zillow refers to this population shift as the “Great Reshuffling.”

In a March survey by Zillow, 11 percent of U.S. adults indicated they had moved in the previous year — either by choice or out of necessity. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9.8 percent of Americans moved in 2019.

“The pandemic brought an acceleration of trends we were seeing in 2018 and 2019,” Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow, says in an April 6 news release. “More affordable, medium-sized metro areas across the Sun Belt saw significantly more people coming than going, especially from more expensive, larger cities farther north and on the coasts. The pandemic has catalyzed purchases by millennial first-time buyers, many of whom can now work from anywhere.”

In a typical year, other cities in Texas represent the most inbound moves for DFW and Austin. The Zillow report doesn’t reflect these relocations, in large part because many in-state movers don’t hire moving companies like North American Van Lines.

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Zillow reveals how fast home values are rising in Dallas-Fort Worth

Hot Homes

The spring selling season is underway, and those looking to purchase a home in Dallas-Fort Worth should expect to pay a premium — regardless of price point — Zillow says.

A new study from the real estate authority shows that the annual appreciation of DFW home values at all price tiers was at least 8 percent in February 2021, with home values in the most affordable tier growing the fastest.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, the lowest tier of home values grew 9.5 percent year-over-year, to a typical home price of $194,484, Zillow says. That rate slightly outpaced home values in the middle tier, which were up 8.9 percent to $278,259, and home values in the top tier, which grew 8.6 percent to $445,949.

In most major U.S. metro areas, "homes in the entry-level segment of the market most likely to be sought by first-time and/or lower-income home buyers have also grown the most in value over the past year," Zillow says.

Two other Texas metros follow the national trend:

  • In the San Antonio metro, the lowest tier appreciated at a rate of 7.9 percent, to a typical home value of $153,904, compared to 7.3 percent for the top tier.
  • In the Houston metro area, the lowest tier saw a 9.3 percent increase, to $166,556, compared to a 7.4 percent increase for the top tier.

In Austin, however, home values in the most expensive tier grew the fastest, up 14.9 percent to $666,034. At the same time, the lowest tier of home values in the Austin metro area grew 14 percent year-over-year.

“Demand for homes in the Dallas, Houston, and Austin metros is largely uniform across price tiers," notes Zillow economist Arpita Chakravorty. "While home values in the most affordable segment are growing the fastest in Dallas and Houston, the mid- and higher-valued homes are quickly catching up due to strong demand. The spread between appreciation rates in Austin is tightening as well, indicating extreme competition across all price tiers."

Whether you're in the market right now or planning to house hunt in the future, don't expect things to slow down.

Looking ahead, Zillow expects the typical home value in each of the Texas markets mentioned to grow by at least 10 percent by next February. For Dallas-Fort Worth, Zillow predicts a 12.6 percent price increase — the largest in the state.

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New Zillow study shows that Dallas-Fort Worth homes are selling in under a month

Red-Hot Real Estate

Have the stay-at-home orders convinced you it's time to buy a house, or upgrade to a bigger one? You're not alone — a new report from Zillow shows that Dallas-Fort Worth homes are flying off the market at their fastest pace in more than two years.

For the week ending June 13, it only took a median of 28 days for a DFW home to go from "available" to "pending." That's one fewer day than the same time last year, as well as six fewer from the same week in May 2020. To show just how quickly the market is moving, it's even two days less than the week before (ending June 6, 2020).

Inventory is still low thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, with buyers in May finding themselves competing over the smallest pool of inventory on record for that month in years. But as "the new normal" begins to take hold, it seems that buyers are now eager to make up for lost time with speedy offers.

Surprisingly, DFW is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to red-hot real estate.

In mid-June, the typical home sold in the U.S. had an offer accepted 22 days after it was listed. That's as fast as homes have sold since early June 2018, when they typically sold in 21 days. Even at the slowest point of the spring — in late May — that national number only climbed to 31 days, just six days slower than late May last year.

"Buyers shopping today might expect to be welcomed by desperate sellers, but they'll instead discover houses selling like hotcakes in the speediest market in recent memory," says Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. "The market did slow down in April, but anyone shopping this summer needs to be prepared to keep up with the lightning-quick pace of sales today.

"The question is whether the tempo will slow after buyers finish playing catch-up from planned spring moves, or if this fast-paced market will stay hot thanks to continued low interest rates and buyers scrambling over record-low summer inventory."

Home sales are still moving relatively quickly around the Lone Star State, especially in Austin. Homes there are moving within 12 days a change of three days from 2019, three days from May, and one day from the previous week.

In San Antonio, it took a median 32 days for listings to move to pending. That's down two days from last year, down four days from last month, and no change from the week before.

Houston homes are only available for 26 days — three days fewer than last year, nine days fewer from last month, and four days fewer than even the week ending June 6.

Homes are selling the fastest — in only five days — in Columbus, Ohio. Cincinnati, Ohio (six days); Kansas City, Missouri (six days); Seattle (seven days), and Indianapolis (seven days) are just behind. Pittsburgh has seen the most dramatic acceleration of late, with sellers typically accepting an offer 17 days sooner than at this time last year and 40 days sooner than a month ago.

The slowest market by some margin is New York, where homes are typically spending 70 days on the market before an offer is accepted, more than three weeks longer than at this time last year. Miami (55 days) and Atlanta (38 days) are the next slowest.

Zillow points out that more homes are coming onto the market — new listings are up 14 percent nationally month-over-month — showing that sellers appear to be gaining confidence in buyer demand. Inventory remains incredibly tight and sales are happening quickly, so buyers should be prepared to move fast when they find a home they're interested in.

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Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."


spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."


Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."