Dallas real estate insider and blogger Candy Evans is in the know when it comes to real estate news. Her blogs, Candy's Dirt and Second Shelters, share the latest on homes for sale, home buying and design trends and human interest stories. See what Candy predicts for the real estate industry in 2012 and what she looks for when buying land:
Considering the upcoming election and the ever-changing economy, how do you think the housing market will fare in 2012?
I think it will be pretty much the same as 2011 - baby steps of improvement, but nothing dramatic. An analyst at a Wall Street firm predicted a housing recovery in 2012, but I’m not so sure. We still have such a long way to go to get through foreclosures and short sales. Mark Fleming over at CoreLogic, a major index company that tracks sales prices of distressed and non-distressed properties that I think is more accurate than Case Shiller, says home prices continue to decline in response to the weak demand for housing.
“While many housing statistics are basically moving sideways, prices continue to correct for a supply and demand imbalance. Looking forward, our forecasts indicate flat growth through 2013,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.
Also, real estate is incredibly regional. Texas continues to fare better than the rest of the U.S. We had no bubbles; our market stayed pretty steady and did not fall like markets in other states.
What do you consider most important when buying land?
Location, location, location! That’s the one thing you cannot change, period. Also, look at the neighborhood and environment. Though you may not have a home or plan to build for a while, you want to be in a strong community with others who are going to take care of their properties and prioritize maintenance to preserve value.
Are you noticing any trends in home building and design?
Yes! I’ve noticed people are leaning towards smaller homes, homes on one floor and there’s also been the resurgence of the ranch. It’s funny: the high rise condos in Dallas built for “downsized” living are too small – folks are buying one and two units and putting them together! We don’t want to be too small, but really, I think we will increasingly see fewer homes larger than 5,500 square feet. Utilities are going to go up, and water for lawns and fountains is getting scarce. We all have to conserve more!
Do you have a favorite real estate app?
I like Trulia, Zillow,Realtor.com but mostly I love my news feeds on pricing!
What’s your favorite spot for Texas real estate?
Dallas, Fort Worth - southwest Fort Worth is gorgeous! But I really love the Hill Country and Boerne. I visited Vintage Oaks and fell in love with the terrain, topography, and the pool and clubhouse! It’s just so calm and beautiful there, and the rest of the world is discovering it.
What’s best about living in Texas?
I am a Chicago girl who was educated in the east, never dreamed I’d end up in Texas. But I LOVE it! I love the climate – sure, we have our extremes, but they do not last. I love the people who are so friendly and unpretentious. And I love the way there are no ceilings – you really feel the can-do spirit here. I also LOVE the real estate and think we have some of the most beautiful homes here, and I think we care about our homes more. Here is a great example of why I love covering real estate! These people moved a 4,000 square foot plus home in six sections, wrapping each in Tyvek like a 98,000 pound ornament, a process that took them 10 years to complete. Are we nuts about our houses in Texas? You bet, and I love it!