Dallas’ growing job market and rich cultural scene have lead to a booming luxury market. As more people set their sights on the southern city, we caught up with Juli Harrison, Executive Vice President at Allie Beth Allman and Associates, to discuss what factors have influenced the market and what buyers should consider before making their purchase.
What are a few common concerns first time buyers have and how do you address them?
One [concern] is where they should buy. How do you decide what area suits you the best? So I [answer that] by educating them. If someone wants to be downtown, then we talk about the numerous areas close to downtown and give them all the information for that. Then try to narrow that down.
The other issue is many haven’t been pre-qualified. If they don’t know what they can spend, they need to be pre-qualified before we start the search. Educating them about the different areas of where they might be and what they can afford, it is the buying process.
The buying process is paramount. It’s one of the largest purchases they’ll ever make so my job is to help reduce any trepidation and initial concerns. We help them set realistic expectations and proceed with confidence. That’s how a realtor helps a first-time buyer navigate the process.
A recent article came out with an economist stating that it is better to rent than to buy in Dallas, what is your perspective on the current market and how do you abate first time buyer’s fears when looking at the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
I also read a recent article in the newspaper that said, when the home prices rise significantly faster than the local rent, the ratio will rise indicating a possible housing bubble, where it may be better to rent. I don’t always agree with that because over the long-run the homebuyers, when they buy, generally feel more wealth by owning because of the increase in the home’s equity. You have something you own versus something you rent. I’m a strong believer in owning versus renting.
There has been a lot of concern regarding the DFW area cooling off, yet luxury homes have seen a 30% increase in sales. What do you attribute to the luxury sector thriving?
I think, especially for Dallas, it is the desirability to live here. It’s one of the best places in the United States to live. We’re seeing so many out-of-town buyers that are coming from California to Texas where there is no state income tax and these [home] prices look, generally better.
So, I think part of it has to do with out-of-town buyers from markets that are more expensive than ours. You still see in-town buyers making changes but really it’s the out-of-town buyers who keep the luxury market up. Also, the luxury sector is less sensitive to interest rates and other factors that may impede buying in a lesser extensive market.
What are some of the up-and-coming neighborhoods buyers should consider and why?
There are numerous neighborhoods. Anywhere around the design district, Kessler Park/Oak Cliff. Kessler Park has always been nice, but I think around that vicinity it’s going to be more popular. It’s close to Methodist Medical Center, it’s close to UT Southwestern, it’s close to the design district so that area is more up-and-coming than it has been in the past.
Also, far north all the way to McKinney and all the little towns: Prosper, Little Elm, Fate, Anna, Princeton, Forney, Frisco, Midlothian, and Royce City. The expansion north from Star Complex and Toyota and so many other companies that tend to locate in that direction, those properties are really up-and-coming.