North Texas’ real estate market has shrugged off the ongoing pandemic for the most part and is headed into the new year with great expectations.
Dozens of new developments are in the works, and investors are spending billions of dollars to buy Dallas-Fort Worth real estate. D-FW leads the county in industrial and apartment construction, and office building activity is rebounding.
And there’s still no sign of a slowdown in the meteoric rise of the local housing market.
Here are some of the biggest deals and trends of 2021, setting the stage for an even bigger year ahead in D-FW real estate.
Biggest sale: The Crescent
The landmark Crescent office, hotel and retail property is the centerpiece for Uptown Dallas — an instant anchor for the neighborhood since it opened in the 1980s.
A partnership created by Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate paid $700 million to buy the iconic office and retail buildings just north of downtown Dallas. The purchase included the three Crescent office towers with more than 1 million square feet of space and the adjoining retail building.
The Crescent sale fetched one of the highest prices ever paid for a Dallas-area commercial property.
Biggest rebound: Office starts
North Texas office developers hit the pause button on new construction starts with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With most workers at home, demand for D-FW office space dried up, and local companies put millions of square feet of sublease building space on the market.
Developers understandably weren’t eager to add more empty office space to the area.
But with business moves to North Texas and hopes for employees returning to the office in 2022, builders are gearing up for a new round of D-FW office development.
Hall Group, Granite Properties, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Hillwood, Billingsley Co., Harwood International and others have already broken ground for new D-FW projects.
Biggest buying binge: Housing
North Texas’ scorching hot housing market is headed into a third year of frenzied buying.
With D-FW home prices up by about 20% in 2021, economists are forecasting smaller increases in costs next year.
Don’t bet on it.
Record demand for homes in the area and a chronic short supply will keep upward pressure on costs in 2022.
Competition for suburban homes remains fierce. And buyers coming to the area from the West Coast have deep pockets to pay even higher prices.
Biggest bite in your wallet: Apartment costs
North Texas renters can’t escape the run-up in local housing costs.
D-FW apartment rents surged by more than 16% in 2021 — the greatest gains on record, according to analysts at RealPage.
And rents for single-family homes in North Texas were 15% higher year over year.
Population growth in the D-FW area and high prices that have discouraged many homebuyers increased the demand for apartments.
Developers are building more than 38,500 additional apartments. And D-FW leads the nation in apartment sales, with investors spending billions of dollars on local properties.
Biggest building boom: Industrial
With more than 30 million square feet of warehouse space under construction, the D-FW area is the county’s fastest-growing industrial and distribution market.
The pandemic has only added to the demand for North Texas logistics space, with companies ranging from Amazon to Zuri Furniture snapping up millions of square feet of new warehouse space in the area.
Most of the construction is in southern Dallas County and North Fort Worth. But warehouse building is booming east of Dallas and in Collin County, too.
The industrial projects have been mega-sized, with several 1 million-square-foot speculative warehouses in the works.
Biggest move: To Texas
There’s a reason for all those out-of-state license plates you’re seeing on cars in D-FW.
More than 170,000 people migrated to Texas in the last year, many of them to the D-FW area.
Fueled by demand from remote workers and folks seeking less expensive housing, thousands of residents are headed to North Texas from the West Coast, Midwest and Northeast.
Most of the migrants to D-FW were coming from Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix, researchers found.
Biggest construction trend: Single-family rentals
As rising home costs lock more families out of ownership, builders and investors are rushing to take advantage of demand for single-family homes.
Dozens of new D-FW communities are under construction with single-family rental homes.
Single-family rentals are one of the fastest-growing property types in the country. Players in the hot market range from big production builders including D.R. Horton to international investors.
Dallas-Fort Worth builders started 2,786 rental homes in the 12 months ending in September, according to Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies.
Even more build-to-rent communities are starting in 2022.
Biggest pending deals: Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the country’s top financial sector employment hubs, with thousands of jobs here for banking, insurance and investment firms.
JPMorgan Chase, State Farm Insurance, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, Liberty Mutual and other big financial firms have lured a flood of workers to North Texas.
Two pending office moves would bring thousands more jobs.
New York-based financial giant Goldman Sachs is looking to add thousands of new positions to its already sizable presence in Dallas. Goldman is looking to lease a huge block of office space just north of downtown in Hunt Realty’s North End mixed-use project.
And in Irving’s Las Colinas development, banking firm Wells Fargo is said to be looking at plans for a huge new regional employment center that would add to its presence in the area.
Biggest redos: Collin Creek and Redbird malls
Two old Dallas-area shopping malls are getting new life as major new mixed-use projects.
Construction kicked off this year on the $1 billion redevelopment of Plano’s former Collin Creek mall.
The 37-year-old regional shopping center on U.S. Highway 75 was mostly demolished to make way for new retail, apartments, townhomes, restaurants and offices.
Centurion American Development Group bought the 1.1 million square-foot shopping mall in 2018 and hopes to have the first new buildings ready by 2023.
And in Southwest Dallas, the first phase of the $200 million redevelopment of Red Bird Mall has opened its doors.
Builders completed a 300-unit apartment community in the RedBird project.
More sections of the 95-acre project at U.S. Highway 67 and Interstate 20 — now called RedBird — will open in 2022. The redevelopment will have new hotel rooms, office space, restaurants and shops.
Biggest land rush: New communities
Thousands of acres of North Texas land have sold this year as developers and builders scrambled to buy sites for new housing communities.
Big tracts of land in Collin, Kaufman and Tarrant counties changed hands to provide locations of thousands of new D-FW area homes.
One of the biggest buys was the 3,800-acre purchase of the historic Veale Ranch on the border of Tarrant and Parker counties west of Fort Wroth. Dallas-based community developer PMB Capital, which has large residential projects in the area, bought the big cattle ranch.
And Farmers Branch-based Centurion American Development Group snapped up thousands of acres around Celina in Collin County and east of Dallas near Terrell for new communities.