Thursday, December 18, 2008

Interest Rates are at 40 year lows!

Just touching base to let everyone know that interest rates have dropped to 40 year lows! Depending on your credit score & down payment, you can get rates at low as 4.75%! These new interest rates combined with some great prices on homes provide a great opportunity if you in the market to buy a home. Don't forget to check out our website at to searchevery home for sale in North Texas. It is designed to be easy to use and really let you narrow your searches to get just what you are looking for. Very user-friendly...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Activity Report for November 2008

Click on the image below to see full size....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interest Rates are Falling Today!

Just to let you know, if you are "sitting on the fence", waiting to write a contract, rates have really improved today. Conventional rates are 5.375% -5.75% depending upon credit and LTV. FHA rates are 5.50%-6.00% depending upon credit and debt to income ratio...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Interactive Map of Home Prices in the United States

Thought this web site was interesting...

You can move your mouse across most cities in the USA and by clicking on the little house you can then see the median price and the drop/gain in prices. Check out some cities in Florida etc, and you can see that the Dallas/Fort Worth area is doing much better than the rest of the nation.

Click here for the map...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Interesting Video From Keller Williams Realty

Discussing national trends and giving their opinion of the real estate market for the near future...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

North Texas Foreclosure Update

Texas foreclosures have been moderate compared to the U.S. trend...

U.S. foreclosures are up 28% YTD for 2008.

Texas foreclosures are down 18% YTD for 2008.

In 2007, Texas was one of only 6 states that reported a decrease (4.6%) in delinquency foreclosure filings vs. a 75% national increase. During the 1st half of 2008, foreclosure filings were up 1% vs. a national increase of 61%!

So far, Texas has avoided high foreclosure levels (compared to the rest of the country). A stronger than national average with fairly low unemployment and continued population growth continues to fuel demand for housing-just not at the unsustainable levels of the boom years.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mortgage Rates Drop and activity picks up...

Mortgage companies around DFW are reporting an uptick in consumers looking to take advantage of interest rates that have dipped just below 6%. If you are in the market to buy, the combination of many distress sales in the marketplace and interest rates this low provide a great opportunity. Please give us a call if we can help at (817) 635-1150 or search every home at

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mortgage Rates Have Dropped

Mortgage rates have dipped in the past few weeks to an average low of 6.21% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. The current average rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage is even lower at 5.80%, while the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage is 5.69%. Compared to the middle of last month, when the rate for a 30-year fixed was around 6.41%, this lower rate means a savings of $31 each month, or $375 each year, in monthly payments on a $240,000 mortgage.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DFW Housing Market Crystal Ball

David Fair with Hexter Fair Title Company came to our office last week and shared his opinions on the North Texas real estate market. Here are some of the highlights....

DFW home sales have slowed across all price ranges and geographic area. Why slower?

Comparison period (1st half of 2007) was all-time record.
Chaos in the mortgage market
Inflation-especially in oil and food creates uncertainty
Negativity (national real estate data) is scaring buyers

The Good News....

All 4 reasons are "temporary"
DFW economic fundamentals remain strong

Real Estate Sales Update....

Active inventory of homes for sale is down 10% versus the end of June 2007.

Existing home inventory in DFW is the 2nd lowest (next to Austin) of all the major metropolitan area in the United States.

The "over-correction" in lending underwriting guidelines should start to correct in a few months.

New home starts likely to remain low until late 2008. Rebound date dependent on each neighborhood's supply & demand.

Positive impact from the Foreclosure Rescue Plan just passed by Congress.

Texas is different from any other state-Our job growth will continue upward-thanks mostly to our most unique asset-The Barnett Shale.

The negative impact of the current mortgage uncertainty, oil prices, and the election rhetoric should be reduced in the next few months.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Absorption Rate for June 2008 for the North Texas Real Estate Market

For June, 2008 there were 45,125 active listings in the North Texas MLS. 7371 homes sold in June. That puts us at a 6 month supply of homes at this current pace. June was the 2nd best month for the year (May was just barely better with 7475 sales. On a more local leve, there are 2440 homes for sale in the Arlington, Mansfield, and Kennedale area. In June there were 393 sales-same absorption rate as the wider area. At this rate, it would take 6 months to sell the current inventory of homes-if no listings came on the market. I will keep everyone posted each month with the latest statistics. Visit the Arlington Texas homes for sale search engine at

Your Arlington Texas Realtor,

Don Lawyer
Keller Williams Realty

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

5 Reasons to Buy Real Estate Now

It’s time to start considering a re-entry into the real estate market. After all, simple supply and demand dictates it is a buyer’s — and investor’s — market.

Many savvy real estate investors have made excellent returns by moving against the trend with careful market timing. The thought process is simple: When everybody is buying, it’s time to sell. And, when everyone is selling, it’s time to consider buying.
Here are five market conditions that have investors thinking today just might be the perfect time to buy real estate.

No. 1 – Low prices

Prices are down in most real estate markets across the country. In fact, the national median existing home price for all housing types was down 7.7 percent from a year ago, to $200,700 in March from $217,400 during the same month last year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In many markets, the drop is even more substantial, especially when you compare with 2006 prices.
Greed is one of the biggest culprits keeping buyers on the sidelines. They are hesitant to buy now because prices may continue to drop. No one wants to buy a $210,000 home and see its value drop to $190,000 in six to 12 months.
Though this is a valid concern, it can be minimized with careful research of a specific market. You can further ensure your investment will hold value by making an offer that is 10 percent to 15 percent below the current market value.
The days of bidding wars and escalation clauses are gone. Homes are no longer selling for more than market value, and sellers are lucky to get the list price. Now is the time to invest in a real bargain.

No. 2 – Great selection

The housing inventory is on the rise, meaning there are more homes available for sale. According to NAR, it will take more than nine months to sell the national inventory of homes at the current sales pace. In some markets, such as South Florida, there is more than a 16-month supply of homes.
In addition to lower prices, this large inventory means a greater selection for buyers. As an investor, you can look for a home with the features, amenities, and favorable location you desire. By getting in the market now, you can afford to be particular and take your time finding exactly what you want.

No. 3 – Motivated sellers

When faced with the possibility that their house could sit on the market for a year or more, sellers become motivated to work with prospective buyers. Not to mention the fact that the already sodden market is being further deluged with an increase in foreclosures, short sales, and bank-owned properties, providing sellers even more motivation to be flexible so they can sell their properties.
Seller motivation extends far beyond accepting a lower offer. Sellers today will consider owner financing, where the buyer makes payments to the seller over time for all or a portion of the purchase price. Sellers are also more likely to agree to repairs or improvements requested by a buyer or recommended by a property inspector.
No longer in the driver’s seat, sellers are now agreeable to covering a portion of closing costs, buying down the rate, accepting a trade for the down payment, or throwing in new appliances and even furniture in the sale. In short, sellers will now negotiate.

No. 4 – Favorable interest rates

Interest rates are down, making housing more affordable. With the national average rate for a 30-year conventional fixed-rate mortgage at around 6 percent, a buyer can save thousands over time. For example, a $200,000 loan amortized over 30 years at 5.9 percent interest will carry a monthly principal and interest payment of $1,186.27.
Let’s say you’re waiting for the price to drop, however, and you buy the property for $190,000. Sure, you’ve saved $10,000 initially, but in the meantime the interest rate climbs to 7 percent, and your monthly payment increases to $1,264.07. By missing out on the lower interest rate today, you pay an extra $28,008 over the 30-year life of the loan.
In case it bears repeating, now is the time to obtain a fixed-rate amortized loan. There is no reason to take on the risk of an adjustable rate mortgage when interest rates are at historical lows. Also keep in mind that lenders are going back to more traditional underwriting requirements in light of increased delinquencies. This means tougher restrictions on the amount of the down payment, proof of income, and credit scores will make obtaining a loan more difficult. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, seller financing, and lease options are on the increase as alternative financing options to conventional loans.

No. 5 – Rental opportunities

As overblown real estate prices begin to deflate, investors will find they can begin collecting rents that cover all their monthly expenses. It was difficult to find and purchase a rental property that would cash flow at the previously over-inflated prices, but today’s bargains can make a cash-flowing rental realistic once again.
Further, tenant demand for rental properties is on the rise. And with foreclosure filings up 57 percent and bank repossessions up 129 percent over last year, according to RealtyTrac, the rental demand is likely to increase further as people who have lost their homes to foreclosure look for alternative places to live.
And most people who find themselves in this situation will be forced to rent for five to seven years before they can qualify for bank financing to purchase their own home again.
Making the decision

Although there are compelling reasons to consider buying real estate now, it is always important to weigh the pros against the cons.
To help alleviate indecision, follow these rules:

1. Look at values in the local area to see if they’ve stabilized or if they still appear to be in a downward spiral. Only buy in stable areas.
2. If you’re buying a personal home, be sure to plan on living in the house for at least the next three to five years.
3. When buying real estate as an investment, be certain the property cash flows, with rental income exceeding expenses such as the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and other costs.
4. Finally, analyze your economic stability and only buy what you can comfortably afford. Keep at least three months of living expenses in reserve in preparation for that fabled rainy day.
With a little common sense and thorough homework, you’ll likely find that now is a great time to consider buying real estate. Markets are cyclical, and the current combination of low prices, high inventory, low rates, motivated sellers, and increasing rental demand make it a buyer’s market for bargain shoppers.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

MLS Area Housing Activity Report Compiled for North Texas Real Estate Information System

Year-to-Date Summary for: April 2008

Single Family Sales in the North Texas Area 23,198-down 15% from same time last year. Average price was $193,972-down only 1%. Less sales year to date, but prices aren't declining much-certainly not as much as other parts of the country. Should have May's data soon...

New Look For

Lots more information on buying and selling real estate, Free MLS Search, and Market Snapshot added to keep yous posted on the value of your home. Go to to take a test drive....

Monday, May 12, 2008

When you hear bad news about the real estate market....

The bad news comes primarily from two sources--the Case-Shiller Index and the misreporting of the foreclosure data. Whenever someone brings up a story based on this data, here's how to respond:

1. The Case-Shiller index only has complete data for sales of single family residences in nine states. Even in those nine states, it does not include condominiums, apartments, co-ops, or multi-family residences. So how accurate is this data when it doesn't even include all the sales in 82 percent of the states?

2. Most of the foreclosure data reports the number of "filings," not the number of properties in foreclosure. When you see one of these negative articles, read it carefully to determine if they are reporting the "filings." (U.S.A. Today does this regularly.) The problem with filings is that it reports the number of notices that have been filed on the property, not the number of properties actually in foreclosure. For example, a property in California with a first and a second equity line of credit that goes into foreclosure, would have a total of eight filings prior to the foreclosure taking place. Thus, the reporting may over report the foreclosures by up to 80 percent. In addition, somewhere between 50 and 75 percent of the loans that are in trouble are being worked out. This is great news....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Updated Real Estate Price Trends for March 2008

Based on information from the MLS, the most sales occurred in S.E. Arlington (south of I-20 & east of Cooper), followed by Mansfield, followed by S.W. Arlington, followed by North Arlington. With prices falling nationally, our area saw less than a 1% drop in prices compared to last year.

For more information on the local real estate market for Arlington, Mansfield, and Kennedale, visit

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Congress Hammers Out Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Origanally published from AP...

In just a couple of years, Congress has gone from considering ways to collect more taxes from homeowners and individual real-estate investors, to dreaming up new tax breaks for homebuyers.

With foreclosures hitting about 7,500 a day nationwide in March, and median home prices declining in most U.S. markets, the shift in attitudes is no mystery. Gone are the days of 2005, when an advisory panel appointed by President Bush recommended trimming the home-mortgage interest deduction to pay for lower income-tax rates. Many lawmakers scoffed at the proposal, but the fact that it was even put forward by the distinguished, bipartisan panel was remarkable in itself.As recently as this past October, the House of Representatives passed a provision that would have raised taxes on some owners of vacation homes. It targeted owners who moved into those houses for two years before selling them, in order to benefit from the full $500,000 maximum income exclusion available for the sale of a principal residence.That provision is now nowhere on the radar. Moreover, Congress is moving toward enacting new tax credits for home buyers, and tax breaks for millions of homeowners who don't currently benefit from the ability to write off property taxes.

"The world has changed dramatically," says Linda Goold, tax counsel for the National Association of Realtors, of the rush by Congress to aid homeowners and the real-estate industry.Who is likely to benefit from tax changes in the pipeline? And for how long? The Senate and the House Ways and Means Committees have each passed packages of tax breaks aimed at easing the housing slump. Both enjoyed broad support from Democrats and Republicans.

The first thing to know is that in order to claim any tax benefits in the current proposals, you must live in the house you are claiming them for. None of the provisions likely to become law are written to help the small-time investor in a single-family home.Second, the tax breaks under discussion are temporary, so lawmakers can advertise them as being available "for a limited time only." However, if history is any guide, Congress is loath to let tax cuts for individuals expire once it creates them.Both the Senate and House bills would increase the standard deduction for one year to allow those who don't itemize their taxes to take a deduction for property taxes. The increase would be capped _ the additional standard deduction is worth up to $1,000 for joint filers under the Senate plan, for example.

But nearly all homeowners already itemize so they can write off their mortgage interest, right?Wrong. Roughly 40 percent of all homeowners _ about 28 million _ don't itemize. The additional standard deduction would particularly benefit people who live in modest homes and have paid off or nearly paid off their mortgages, many of whom are seniors. As such, those people would also likely not have charitable or other deductions totaling more than the standard deduction amounts _ in 2008, $5,350, or $10,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly.Besides the standard-deduction increase, Congress-watchers say some kind of tax credit for home buyers has a good chance of becoming law. The House wants to give first-time home buyers a $7,500 credit. The $7,000 credit offered in the Senate bill, not limited to first-time buyers, would apply only to new, unsold homes or homes in foreclosure."The whole goal here is to create a buyers' psychology," says Ms. Goold of the Realtors' group.

But some tax experts say it is more like a psyche-out. Take the proposed first-time home buyers credit, for instance. A qualified buyer can receive a maximum $7,500 from the federal government, similar to an interest-free loan, repayable over 15 years. That works out to an average of an additional $42 per month paid back to the government.But what if, in lieu of borrowing from Uncle Sam, the strapped buyer had simply borrowed an extra $7,500 from the bank? Spread out over the life of a 30-year mortgage with a 6.5 percent interest rate, the borrower would end up paying an extra $48 a month.Of course, the buyer who takes the tax credit saves $9,500 in interest costs over the long run. But the difference on the monthly payment side is small. "It raises the question: Is it really increasing the ability of the buyer to purchase that home?" says Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy for Deloitte Tax LLP.The measures could still get tripped up by concerns about their cost, or by disagreements between the White House and Democrats over Federal Housing Administration provisions that are also expected to become part of the package.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good News Regarding Home Sales...

Quoting from an AP report today...

National numbers

Sales rose 2.9 percent in February, the National Association of Realtors said. They last rose in July. In another encouraging sign, the inventory of homes for sale fell. It would take 9.6 months to exhaust the supply of homes for sale at the February sales pace, down from 10.2 months in January.

Local numbers

North Texas existing-home sales, reported earlier, fell in February for the 12th month in a row, to 5,556. However, the pace is off only 10 percent from a year ago.
And although North Texas median home prices fell in February, they are down only 3 percent from February 2007, according to the North Texas Real Estate Information System.

My Opinion...

Personally, I am seeing more buyers in the marketplace vs. a few months ago, less overall inventory (especially inventory of "special" homes), & more sign calls and internet inquiries. The most strength seems to be in the $140,000 to $175,000 range right now. Also, all homes with swimming pools do not have very much direct competition, so they are doing well.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What are mineral rights really worth?

Charles Newman, an attorney with Landamerica Title recently spoke to a group of Realtors in Arlington and shared some very interesting numbers as far as the true value of mineral rights after the gas companies start producing from the well. I have seen many buyers and sellers recently that are expecting a major financial windfall from their lease and this might help quantify what someone could expect..


Premise: A well produces 2,400,000 cubic feet per day for the first year; production drops in half in second year and to 300,000 cubic feet per day for years 3, 4, and 5. Gas valued at $7.00 mcf.

Monthly royalty of 25% for a 1/3 acre lot in a 400 acre pool.

First year - $105.00/month

Second year - $42.00/month

Third then Fifth year - $13.00/month

TOTAL for 5 years: $2,232.00

If natural gas sold for $9.00 for the 5 years period;

TOTAL would be: $3,033.50

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Keeping the Foreclosure Numbers in Perspective

The foreclosure crisis is a regional problem, not a systemic problem.
It could become a systemic problem, of course, but we're a long way from that now.
While the national rate of foreclosure had increased by a whopping 79 percent in the previous year, it was still only 1.033 percent. Since about 30 percent of homes are owned mortgage-free, this means that only 7/10 of 1 percent of all homes are in foreclosure.

In the top 100 housing markets, the average foreclosure rate was somewhat higher, 1.38 percent. Many of the areas suffering the highest increases in the foreclosure rate were rising off a rate that was tiny.

The top 10 foreclosure areas in America are generally areas of extreme price change – changes far from the national average of 46.92 percent home price appreciation over the last five years.

Seven of the top 10 foreclosure areas experienced major price spikes in the last five years.

That pattern continues when you examine the top 25 foreclosure areas as well.

The seven areas with the top price appreciation for the last five years averaged a stunning 91.6 percent increase, nearly double the national average.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Statistics for our Area

Sales Statistics for TARRANT County TX

Realist's most recent recording date for this county is 02/04/2008

Single Family Residence

Number of Sales

Dec 2007

Dec 2006

Nov 2007

Nov 2006

2007 YTD


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Overnight Interest Rates Fall to 5.47%

The 30-year fixed-rate average dipped to 5.47 percent, and the 15-year fixed rate slipped to 4.95 percent. The 1-year adjustable rate sank to 5.1 percent.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fed Lowers Rates

The FED lowered the Discount Rate by 75 Basis Points (.75%) to 3.5 percent. This represents the single largest rate cut in 24 years!

This should be positive for the real estate market. Rates are coming DOWN! It is a great time to be purchasing a home or investment property.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fort Worth-Arlington Prices Not Likely to Fall

From the Star Telegram today...

Fort Worth-Arlington is one part of the country that is least likely to see a decline in home prices in the next two years, according to a report released Tuesday by PMI Group.

The Dallas-Plano-Irving area is also one of the least risky of 50 metropolitan areas. Both areas had less than a 1 percent chance of home prices falling in the next two years, according to the report.

The stability comes largely from the area's strong job growth and housing affordability, said David Berson, chief economist and strategist for PMI, an insurer of mortgage lenders. Plus, the slight appreciation of home prices in recent years has given the area a slow, sustainable price growth.

"Because you didn't have that huge run-up, you won't see it run down," Berson said.
The risk assessment figures are based on price appreciation, the job market, housing supply and foreclosures.

"It's not just the Metroplex," Berson said. "Many parts of Texas are doing well."

States such as California, Nevada and Florida have the highest chance of prices falling, the report says. They saw large leaps in housing prices in recent years, Berson said. That increase was unsustainable as job growth and affordability fell.

The stability is good news for buyers, said Bob Havran, president of mortgage-lending group OmniAmerican Bank in Fort Worth.

Borrowers here have a bigger selection of mortgages than in riskier parts of the country, he said.
"Lenders are eager to loan in North Texas," Havran said.


The chances of home prices falling in North Texas is remote, according to a study by PMI Group:

Chance of prices falling...

Fort Worth-Arlington
less than 1 percent

less than 1 percent

Houston-Baytown-Sugar Land
less than 1 percent

San Antonio
less than 1 percent

Austin area
less than 1 percent


Denver area
1 percent

St. Louis
2 percent

2 percent

Chicago area
3 percent

3 percent

3 percent

7 percent

Baltimore area
12 percent

Detroit area
17 percent

Boston area
22 percent

Sacramento, Calif., area
73 percent

Orlando, Fla., area
74 percent

Los Angeles area
79 percent

Las Vegas area
89 percent

Riverside, Calif., area
94 percent

Source: PMI Group

Monday, January 07, 2008

Arlington makes the top 5 least expensive housing markets

From today...

Top 5 least expensive housing markets

Average price

Killeen, TX

Minot, ND

Arlington, TX

Canton, OH

Muncie, IN

Here is the link to the original post

2008 is starting out strong!

Showings on listings have increased over December by about 25%. Calls from signs and email inquiries have also increased by over 40%. A good sign that buyers are returning to the market.

Another trend I have been watching in our MLS, is the amount of houses going under contract in a given 24 hour period vs. new listings that are coming on the market. For the last 3-4 months, the vast majority of days have had more new listings than ones sold. In January, 5 of the last 7 days have had more sold than new listings.

I will keep you posted as our market is always changing.