Although Dallas-area home prices continue to rise, they are doing so at the slowest rate in almost six years, according to The Dallas Morning News.

It’s probably a good thing that the local housing market is taking a chill pill, since, as the DMN points out, Dallas-Fort Worth home prices are more than 40 percent higher than they were before the recession.

The likely culprit for the cool down is higher mortgage rates and an increase in properties for sale in the area.

One thing that hasn’t chilled out is construction. At least not enough to get a handle on the growing worker shortage.

Construction workers are in high demand across North Texas, and homebuilders are struggling to find enough manpower, even though hourly wages for Texas construction workers rose almost 12 percent, according to the DMN.

A new survey conducted by Meyers Research for the Dallas Builders Association shows there are nearly 38,000 construction jobs that remain unfilled. The Dallas Builders Association says that’s twice as many openings as two years ago.

Phil Crone, Executive Officer of the Dallas Builders Association, told NBCDFW that he was “astounded that we had that amount of shortage.”

“It’s just a product of being at full employment, the homes being where the jobs sleep at night, and we just don’t have enough people to get the job done.”

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Remember to keep perspective when you’re shopping for rates

Mortgage interest rates

Today’s headlines say things like “Mortgage rates are surging to the highest level in 7 years,” but don’t worry! We’re still at historically low rates.

Give me a shout if you have questions: 972.369.6913

Over the course of the next few years, Plano’s Legacy area will grow to have almost as many workers as downtown Dallas, according to a recent article by the Dallas Morning News.

The DMN gleaned this forecast from the commercial real estate firm, Jones Lang LaSalle. They pointed out that the business district is already home to large corporate employers such as Toyota Motor Corp., JPMorgan Chase, FedEx Office and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Their numbers also include local employers and employers in south Frisco.

“Overall, we estimate that greater Legacy’s job base has increased by 15,000 since 2015,”  explains Jack Crews, the managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, in a report about the Legacy area. “We estimate that the daytime workforce is up to around 100,000 today. Looking out over the next few years, Legacy will continue to intensify as a business hub.”

Read the rest of the DMN’s story here.

Millennial home-ownership is at a record low. There are a lot of reasons why millennials aren’t prioritizing home-ownership — from lifestyles that differ from previous generations, to affordability and lack of housing options.

While some experts have insisted that millennials should continue to rent rather than buy a house, David Bach, the co-founder of AE Wealth Management and self-made millionaire, warns millennials that not prioritizing home-ownership could cost them in the long run.

“The most important advice I can tell you right now if you’re young is: Don’t listen to these people that tell you should rent versus buy.” Bach told CNBC. “Buying a home is the escalator to wealth in America. Homeowners are worth forty times more than renters.”

The math is pretty simple: You have to live somewhere, so why not invest in a home? It takes some time, but eventually you’ll own that home outright.

In his new book, The Automatic Millionaire, he points out that renters “can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years,” and at the end of it all you end up with nothing.

Or you can use that same money to pay down a mortgage and after 30 years you will own a house.

Who do you want to be rich, you or your landlord?

Hawkins Mortgage Group at First United Bank has two construction loan options to choose from: the one-time close construction to permanent loan program, and the two-time close construction to permanent loan program.

With the one-time close program, borrowers close once at the beginning of the loan process. It was designed to provide homebuyers with the financing upfront, which gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your financing needs are already in place throughout the construction process. The perk of this loan option is that you only have to close once – that means one application, one qualification, one underwriting, one approval – so you only have to pay for closing costs once. You can also lock in your rate before you start and then only pay interest on the loan during construction.

The two-time close program involves two separate loans. One covers construction and the other covers long-term financing. Once the first loan agreement is signed at closing, the lender releases funds to an account and begins paying draws to the builder upon your approval. The homebuyer pays interest only during the construction period, and then once the house is complete you re-qualify for a permanent mortgage. The perks of this loan are lower mortgage rates and more flexibility.

Do you have questions? Learn more at hawkinsmortgagegroup.com, or give Michael Hawkins a call at 972-369-6913 or email at mhawkins@firstunitedbank.com.

It’s a tough decision: to have upper cabinets or not? There are several advantages to going with uppers, but there’s also a lot to say about open shelves or nixing both entirely. To help you decide on what’s right for your kitchen, HOUZZ offers a guide to the three most popular approaches and other options available to you.

Read the story in HOUZZ.

Considering a refinance? Here are seven reasons why you might want to:

  1. To get a better rate. If interest rates have dropped since you closed on your home loan, you might be able to refinance in order to snag a better rate and lower your payments.
  2. To lower your term. Changing a loan from a 30-year plan to a 20-year or 15-year plan can save some homeowners money in the long run.
  3. To lower your monthly payment. On the flipside, switching from a short-term plan to a long-term plan can lower monthly payments, so some homeowners find that option more user-friendly.
  4. To access your equity. This is for people who don’t want to move but still want a bigger or more updated home. As long as you have enough equity built up in your home, you can access that in order to revamp your space.
  5. To remove your mortgage insurance. Some homeowners are still paying for mortgage insurance when it’s no longer required and should check with a loan officer about the possibility of having it removed.
  6. To remove an ex-spouse. This one pretty much speaks for itself.
  7. To switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. Maybe you just need a little more stability in your life. This is especially enticing when rates are low and on the rise — like right now (hint hint).

If you have questions about any of these points and would like to learn more, contact Michael Hawkins directly at 972-369-6913 or mhawkins@firstunitedbank.com

Hawkins _ Top Performer _ 2017 final

The 2017 numbers are out! We’re thrilled to have once again beat our own record in loan volume and to continue to be a top producer at First United Mortgage Group! We’re incredibly grateful to all the folks at First United who make numbers like these possible, and to our friends, business partners and referrals. We couldn’t do it without you.

Now let’s do it again in 2018!

For a free consultation with Michael Hawkins, call him directly at 972-369-6913 or email him at mhawkins@firstunitedbank.com.

It was a big year for real estate in Dallas-Fort Worth. As The Dallas Morning News points out, nearly 100,000 jobs were added to the metroplex this year, which sparked a lot of growth throughout the area.

Here are some of the highlights of 2017 according to the DMN:

  • The grand opening for Legacy West in Plano. The 250-acre project has been under construction for more than 3 years. Located on the west side of Dallas North Tollway, the center includes offices for Toyota, Liberty Mutual Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, FedEx Office and Boeing.
  • The jury is still out on whether or not Amazon HQ2 is coming to Dallas, but we do know it would bring roughly 50,000 new jobs and a $5 billion office. In 2017 North Texas developers made pitches to land the giant operation.
  • The DMN reports there’s been a shift in the ‘hottest suburb’ department. Plano and Frisco have been dethroned — for now. In 2017 Allen was making headlines with their new $90 million convention center and hotel, as well as new office operations for Netscout Systems, Boss Fight Entertainment and other businesses. And it looks like their growth will continue in 2018.
  • Two notable mega-mansions sold this year: the 25-acre former Hicks estate sold for $36.2 million, and Sam Wyly’s mansion in Highland Park sold for a reported $9.4 million.
  • For more 2017 highlights, check out the full story on the DMN.

At this point it’s hard to say for sure how the federal tax law overhaul will impact Americans, and in particular the real estate industry, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating. Here are some opinions from around the web:

Steve Brown at The Dallas Morning News says he expects capping the property tax write-off at $10,000 will hurt some homeowners, especially homeowners in more expensive neighborhoods. He’s also afraid it will force some homeowners to hang onto their properties longer to avoid a tax hit, as well as impact people with plans to move across the country because they will no longer be able to write off the relocation expenses that are not reimbursed by their companies.

The National Association of Realtors says the reform “would eviscerate the current-law tax incentives for purchasing and owning a home for all but a small percentage of Americans.” The fear, according to the article, is that these changes will cause home values throughout the United States to plummet up to 10 percent or possibly more than that in higher cost areas.

Daniel Alpert, in an opinion piece for Business Insider, says he is afraid the reform will “set off a new systemic financial crisis and push the country back into recession.” He points to Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986 as proof.

Of course other states will likely be impacted more than Texas, but some experts predict that more and more people will continue to flock to lower tax states from high-tax states.