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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.

Houses made out of shipping containers. It’s been a bit of a trend in the last few years, although primarily overseas and in the northwest. Did you know we have our very own shipping container house here in Dallas?

Screenshot 4
Photos by Wade Griffith from archdaily.com

You might have already heard of PV14. It received a lot of attention both locally and nationally back when it was built in 2014. But if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Photographer Wade Griffith took a bunch of photos a couple years back, which you can browse through on archdaily.com, and there’s even video available on Vimeo of the construction process.

The house is located at the corner of Peavy Rd. and Buckner Blvd. just north of White Rock Lake and enjoys a stunning view of the lake from its upper deck. Overall the home was finished very tastefully, so you have to look pretty hard to see that it was made out of shipping containers. Lovers of clean lines and ultramodern style will appreciate this unique 3,400-square-feet home.

The house was born out of the collaborative effort of two Dallas architects: Matt Mooney, the homeowner, and Michael Gooden of M Gooden Design.

Screenshot 2The first floor of PV14 features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a pool and an entertainment center. The second floor is the part of the house that’s made out of shipping containers, which is where the bedrooms and living spaces are located. Although the walls are covered in sheet rock, they opted to leave the ceilings exposed so guests can see the shipping container above them — otherwise “it would look like a normal house,” Gooden told D Magazine. The third floor of the house is the open-air deck that overlooks White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas.

We’d say Gooden and Mooney accomplished their objective in creating a home that doubles as a work of art.

Creativity hasn’t gone extinct from the real estate industry.

Mansfield real estate agent Casey Lewis took a chance on a gimmick with his recent listing, and it went even better than expected.

At first the listing for the 796-square-foot house in Granbury seems pretty generic. The description calls it a “charming 2 bed 1 bath lake house” and notes that it “comes fully furnished.” But as you click through the 36 images, it doesn’t take long to notice something a little… different.

No you’re not seeing things. That’s definitely someone in a T. rex costume mowing the front lawn, cooking at the stove and lounging on the bed.

T. Rex listing screenshot
Screenshot of Lewis’ Realtor.com listing

Sure it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of fun and it helped the property reach No. 1 on Realtor.com, which is a spot generally reserved for famous homes or the homes of celebrities.

“I’ve had this idea for a few years and just needed the right client and the right house to pull it off,” Lewis told the Dallas Morning News. “After I saw the video and the photos I thought it was funny and was hopeful other people would think it was funny too. I expected a lot of people to see it, but never expected this huge of a response.”

To see all the photos, you can find the listing here.

After a surge of foreign home buyers in the U.S. in 2017, that rate is dipping back down in 2018, according to a report from the National Association of REALTORS®.

“International sales in the U.S. totaled $121 billion from April 2017 to March 2018, a 20 percent decline from a year ago,” the report states, which brings rates down to almost what they were in 2016.

NAR claims “ongoing housing shortages and rising home prices” is the reason for this recent pause in activity.

Texas is the third most popular state for foreign buying activity, and that continues to be true even with the decline. The report states that 9 percent of foreign buyers purchase in Texas.

“Foreign buyers usually purchase properties that are pricier than the average existing home,” the report says. The bulk of the buyers (49 percent) come from China, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Read the full report from the National Association of REALTORS® for more.

The desire for a home is real.

Zillow reports that 94 percent of the respondents to a nationwide survey said they would own a home “if money were no object.”

“The idyllic, picket-fenced, detached, single-family home in the suburbs remains a mainstream standard of what homeownership should look like,” the report states, and it is quick to point out that “given that the U.S. homeownership rate is currently around 64 percent, money is clearly an object for many would-be homeowners that are currently renting.”

Despite a growing belief that attitudes are changing toward urban versus suburban living, most of the respondents (56 percent) said they’d prefer a house in the suburbs, compared to 26 percent who said they’d prefer a house in the urban core of a city and 18 percent who said they’d prefer to live in a rural area.

Although 82 percent of respondents reported they prefer a single-family home, the report found that young adults are more likely to consider other options. Slightly more young adults (9 percent) said they’d choose an attached single-family home, while only 5 percent and 6 percent of middle-aged and older adults said the same thing.

If you’d like to learn more, read Zillow’s full report.

Despite their reputation for preferring more transient and frivolous avocado-toast-loving lifestyles, surveys show that many millennials do want to buy houses — and they’re willing to make sacrifices in order to afford them.

Business Insider reported earlier this year that “the homeownership rate among households headed by someone under age 35 increased the most of any age group in the fourth quarter of 2017, jumping from 34.7 percent a year earlier to 36 percent.” Across the nation, homeownership among millennials is on the rise.

To help us understand the newest members of the real estate market, Redfin “commissioned a survey of 2,000 U.S. residents who planned to buy or sell a primary residence in the next 12 months.” They hoped to learn more about the “objectives, perspectives and concerns” of prospective homebuyers between the ages of 24 and 38.

As you’d expect, the survey reports that half the respondents claimed “having enough money for a down payment” was their top concern, and similarly 45 percent were concerned about affording a home in their preferred location. Forty-one percent were concerned about rising home prices.

The survey also looked at the many ways in which millinnials save for their down payments. The majority — 69 percent — saved directly from their paychecks, but others had to get a little more creative.

Thirty-six percent got a second job in order to save for a down payment. Thirteen percent pulled money out of retirement funds, and 10 percent sold cryptocurrency. Twenty-four percent reported that they received a cash gift from their family, and twelve percent used money from their inheritance.

Redfin didn’t stop there. They broke the survey respondents down by household income levels and found some surprising results. For example, they discovered that the millennials in households earning more than $100,000 per year were less likely to have saved directly from paychecks. Only 60 percent of the high-earners saved for their down payment directly from their paychecks, compared with 75 percent of those who earn less than $100,000.

That’s probably because the high-earners were more likely to have cashed in on other investments, the survey found. Millennials earning more than $100,000 were more than three times more likely to have sold cryptocurrency investments, and they were twice as likely to have sold stock investments. They were also more likely to have received an inheritance or cash gift from family or to have pulled money from their retirement savings.

In order to afford their mortgage, the millennials who earn less than $100,000 per year said they planned to pursue additional employment to cover their mortgage, the survey states. Those with higher incomes were more than three times as likely to get a roommate, split ownership or drive for a ride-sharing service.

Want to learn more? Check out the full survey. Or click to learn more about Redfin McKinney.

Looks like Californians are figuring out what the rest of us already knew: that living in California isn’t worth the price tag. (Oh sorry, is our Southern showing?)

California has long topped the chart of “Sure It’s Beautiful But It’s Also the Most Expensive Place to Live in the Entire United States of America.”

In the biggest California cities — San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego — the living spaces in March 2017 averaged at $720,000, compared to the same types of spaces that go for closer to $250,000 nationally, according to a recent report from Trulia. And those prices aren’t going down. California’s home prices are on the upswing, just like everywhere else in the U.S.

The result is a mass exodus from the Golden State, and guess who’s getting plenty of California Love?

Yep. You got it.

The results show that 5.5 percent of Californians who leave their home state move to Dallas, where the median listing price is less than half what it is in Cali. The top five destinations for Californians calling it quits are Las Vegas, New York City, Phoenix, Dallas and Seattle.

While some Californians choose other “large metros like New York, Atlanta and Chicago,” they tend to pick less expensive yet still sunny markets like Las Vegas and Phoenix, the Trulia report explains. Many Californians also “gravitated to the high job-growth centers of Seattle, Denver, Dallas and Portland, Ore.”

Look who's getting California's love

Of course some people are moving to California, but in every major city except San Diego the rate of people seeking to leave California was higher than the rate of people seeking to move in.

However, that rate was fairly steady over time, which led Trulia to conclude that “while this could mean people are looking to leave, a steady number of people are still looking in and keeping that ratio fairly constant,” the report states.

“With the net number of inbound to outbound searches remaining relatively steady, high cost living in California is likely not going anywhere soon.”

If you’re interested in learning more about this report, you can find it here.

Steve Brown, the real estate editor at the Dallas Morning News, recently visited with several of the country’s leading real estate economists during a meeting of the minds at the National Association of Real Estate Editors. While discussing topics like home prices, commercial property values and apartment demand, Brown posed the question: When’s the next recession?

“Economic forecasters I talked with … didn’t agree when the next recession would come,” Brown wrote in his article. “But they lined up to say that housing and real estate were unlikely to be the villains in the next economic shakeout.”

Some think we’ll see an economic slow-down as early as next year, while others believe another recession is years down the road. Regardless, they all agreed that “other factors are more likely to disrupt the current economic expansions,” Brown writes.

Read the rest of his story to learn more.

Dallas is the fifth ‘hottest market in the country’ according to a report Meyers Research released earlier this week.

The firm looked at which U.S. cities have seen the biggest increase in home purchase contracts and found that Dallas’ homebuyers are signing contracts at 8 percent higher rates this year than they were during this same time period in 2017.

They claim this activity is due to a sense of urgency created in part by rising interest rates (the Federal Reserve raised short-term rates again last week), coupled with hype over the ever-changing housing market.

“(We) wanted to understand how sales activity across the country has responded to higher rates and dug into Zonda to find the answer,” they explain in their report. “We pulled contract sales data to see the biggest year-to-date winners of 2018.”

This is what they found:

Meyers Research housing chart

Interested in reading more from this report? Find it here.