Luxury Lifestyle: Sales of million-dollar homes increase in 2018

Million d homes

From breath-taking retreats overlooking a private course to fully refurbished historic treasures from around America’s refined Gilded Age, there is no shortage of opportunity to buy the lifestyle of the rich and famous in Tarrant County.

Although the overall housing market in Dallas-Fort Worth is showing signs of cooling, blamed largely on rising unaffordability for average buyers, the luxury home market continues to flourish in Dallas-Fort Worth and in Texas’ other major cities.

While not everyone can afford a $5 million home, or even a $1 million home, there are plenty of wealthy shoppers who can and are investing in the Texas real estate.

Luxury home sales in Texas increased 11.5 percent, to 5,123 sales, between October 2017 and the end of November 2018, according to the latest data from Texas Realtors, a real estate trade group.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

Total sales of homes sold during that period was $8.3 billion, an 11.3 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Realtors group’s 2018 report. Luxury home sales accounted for 8.5 percent of all home sales.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area led the other major metro areas of Houston, Austin and San Antonio with the sale of 1,825 luxury homes, an increase of 10.3 percent during that same 2017-18 period, according to the Realtors report.

Luxury home sales of $3 billion accounted for 9.4 percent of all homes sold in Dallas-Fort Worth in that period.

The Houston area saw a 7 percent increase in luxury home sales, with 1,669 sales worth $2.7 billion and accounting for 10.4 percent of the residential market.

- Advertisement -

As the traditional spring buying season gets underway, local Realtors are expecting another strong year for luxury home sales.

“Of course, there are not as many buyers who can afford million-dollar homes as there are at lower price points, but properties are selling,” said Moiri Brown, branch manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Fort Worth and president of the Board of Directors of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors.

“The activity has really picked up in the last month,” said Rick Wegman, a principal and agent with Giordano, Wegman, Walsh and Associates, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “We’re seeing some really, really exquisite properties on the market and there are buyers from across the country and from around the world looking at them.”

The luxury home market has undergone change in the last years, resulting in more homes priced at a $1 million and above across the state, according to Texas Realtors. This is the result of rising land costs and escalating sales prices over the past few years driven by rampant population growth.

- Advertisement -

The Realtors group’s 2019 Texas Relocation Report shows that the state attracts more than 500,000 newcomers every year and the Dallas-Fort Worth area gains more than 230,000 of them as the top Texas relocation destination.

And with the highest number of re-locators moving in from California, many of them are bringing enough home equity to afford million-dollar homes in the local market, according to local Realtors.

“You can get a lot more home for $1 million in Fort Worth than you can in California or other parts of the country,” Wegman said.

Demand, coupled with price growth in the DFW market, has eroded the “sticker shock” of $1 million home, Realtors say.

“We’re seeing a lot more seven-figure homes on the market with new construction at that price point as well teardowns and infill building in established neighborhoods on the west side and River Crest,” Wegman said. “The lot value alone in these neighborhoods is $200,000.”

The Chisholm Trail Parkway has also been a boon to luxury home sales, making it more convenient for residents of outlying neighborhoods such as Mira Vista to enjoy the benefits of resort-style living and the shopping, dining and entertainment amenities of urban life, he said,

Luxury homes in the DFW area sell for an average of $320 per square foot compared to $346 in the Houston area, $431 in the Austin area and $277 in the San Antonio area, according to the Texas Realtors 2018 report.

The median square footage of luxury home is highest in the DFW at 5,150 square feet compared to 4,610 square feet in Houston, 4,149 square feet in Austin and 5,081 square feet in Austin.

In Tarrant County, the luxury home market is concentrated in Fort Worth and Northeast Tarrant County, particularly Southlake, Westlake and Colleyville.

Fort Worth has 52 luxury home listings and has had 18 sales in the past six months, according to data provided by Coldwell Banker Real Estate. The average sales price was $1.3 million.

Southlake, Westlake and Colleyville combined have 96 homes on the market, with 50 of those homes located Southlake, according to Coldwell Banker. The three cities had combined sales of 46 homes in the past six months, including 22 in Southlake.

The average sales price in Southlake was $1.45 million, $1.9 million in Westlake and $1.5 million in Colleyville, according to the Coldwell Banker data.

Despite the uptick in sales of luxury homes, selling these properties continues to be challenging.

Resale luxury homes have to be turn-key ready and chock-full of amenities or “they will languish,” Wegman said. “Buyers at that price point don’t want to have to remodel.”

“Most of the time, if someone is willing to spend $5 million on a home, they want to build it and get exactly what they want,” said Clay Brants, a Realtor with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Fort Worth.

Furthermore, selling luxury homes in Fort Worth is complicated by competition from the abundance of luxury homes in Northeast Tarrant County, Brants said.

“There is a perception that people are not satisfied with the Fort Worth schools,” Brants said. “Fort Worth hasn’t built a new school in 30 years and you’ve got all those new schools in places that were horse pastures not very long ago.

“Fort Worth does the work to bring new companies here but by the time the C-Suite executives arrive, they have bought or built homes in Keller, Colleyville, Southlake or Grapevine.”

New federal tax laws, which limit how much mortgage interest and property taxes can be written off, exacerbate the challenge of selling luxury homes in Fort Worth, Brants said.

“If you can’t write off all of your mortgage interest and property taxes, and then you have to pay for private school, you face a double whammy,” he said. “Those people will buy elsewhere.”


Let’s take an expensive home tour!

There are currently 14 homes for sale in Tarrant County priced at $5 million and above. Five of these properties are located in Fort Worth and the other nine are in Northeast Tarrant County, including six in Westlake.

The list includes several spectacular historic properties as well as recently-built, sprawling estates that are lavishly decorated and boast ultimate amenities such as coffee bars and salon/spas.

The most expensive home on the market is priced at $11 million and is located on 4.7 acres in Southlake. The home at 940 Dove Road was built in 2012, contains 16,477 square feet and features a tiered media room, dual lane bowling alley, indoor bull-court basketball gym, sauna and six-car garage.

Other notable homes include:

• The Baldridge House, 5100 Crestline Road, is an historic Arlington Heights home built around 1910 for a cattleman and rancher who became a prominent Fort Worth banker. Paun Peters, who earned a fortune as an oilman and now invests in commercial real estate, and his wife, Magdaline, bought the house out of foreclosure in 2007 and spent $4.5 million on an exhaustive renovation. The home comes with a Texas Historic Marker and features many amenities as well as exquisite architectural details. The six-bedroom home with 11,725 square feet has an asking price of $7.95 million. It was first put on the market two years ago.

• The River Crest home of the late Martha and Elton M. Hyder Jr., well-known Fort Worth philanthropists. The four-bedroom home with 8,967 square feet was built in 1920 at 900 Alta Drive features historic elegance and exquisite design detail. A picturesque creek runs along the west side of the property, which is priced at $5.95 million.

• A unique Texas home with an intriguing backstory, at 1 Paigebrooke in Westlake. The home, known as Paigebrook Farm, was designed by Dallas architect Charles Dilbeck and built as a ranch house in 1938 for Ted Dealey, a former publisher of The Dallas Morning News. Scott Bradley, former mayor of Westlake, and his wife, Kelly, bought it in 1977. The Bradleys eventually sold the property to Fidelity Investments for a regional headquarters but so loved the house, they had it moved, brick-by-brick to another location about a mile away. The 10-year relocation process resulted in an 11,500-square-foot home true the original vision of the architect. It is listed for $7.9 million.

• A Monterrat estate at 9553 Bella Terra Drive looks is designed to resemble a castle and has the has the amenities fit for royalty, including 13 living areas, four dining areas, seven kitchen areas, an indoor pool and hot tub and a motorized shoe rack. The home built in 2006 has 24,093 square feet and features extraordinary craftsmanship. The asking price is $7 million.