Young People Still Hate Dallas

We're cool! Swear!
You may have seen some of the breathless headlines. "In the heat of summer, Forbes says Dallas is cool." "No surprise that Texas has some of the coolest cities in America." "Dallas Among Top 10 'Coolest Cities in America'."

But here's the deal, Dallas: Houston and Austin have both outcooled us. And it's all because young people hate it here.

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Dallas Is One of the Few Cities in America Where a Young Person Can Buy a House

Categories: Housing

If you're ages 25 to 34, you could buy a house for a really cheap price in Texas. Like, this mansion would be practically free.
Dallas is among the 10 best cities in the country for young people to buy a home, according to a new National Association of Realtors report. "Buying a home," if you're under 35, is an old-timey activity practiced mostly by your parents and grandparents, sort of like using a rotary phone or having a savings account.

The report uses job numbers and housing prices to determine where young people might actually be able to buy something. It surveyed 100 cities across the country and focused on specific data encompassing the 25 to 34 age group. The report excluded 18- to 25-year-olds who are typically less likely to buy homes, owing to crushing student debt and bar tabs. Austin joined Denver, two cities in Utah and five other cities on the list.

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Texas Home-Buyers Pay Highest Closing Costs in Country, Survey Says

Categories: Housing

Ashley Bischoff
And you thought buying that Manhattan condo was rough.

Texas has the highest processing fees for home loans in the nation, according to a recent Bankrate report, but don't bother asking why. The banks won't tell you. The report zeroed in on closing costs -- the combination fees charged by lenders for processing plus third-party fees for things like appraisals and credit checks. For a typical $200,000 home loan, closing fees averaged over $3,000 in the state.

"We've been doing the survey for 12 years and Texas is usually in the top five," says Holden Lewis, a spokesman for Bankrate. Lewis is a Dallas native but is based in Florida now. "And it's kind of a mystery to me. I don't know why."

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Recent Study Shows Poverty in DFW Suburbs Has Doubled in the Past 12 Years

Andreas Praefcke
Suburbia ain't all it's cracked up to be.

If you think more poor people are living in the DFW area in recent years, you could be spot-on. Heck, after the 2008 recession you could be one of them. According to a recent Brookings Institute study, DFW, land of the suburbs, is quickly turning into the land of the slums.

Elizabeth Kneebone authored the study. She says the general national increase in poverty levels is a result of the recession. "The overall poverty trend in the Dallas metro area is demonstrating the same trends we've been seeing nationally, but is even ahead of the curve in some ways," she said. "It's even faster than average."

Kneebone found that the population of poor people in DFW grew nearly 65 percent from 2000 to 2012, and that population is becoming concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. More than 56 percent of DFW residents below the poverty line live in neighborhoods with similarly high poverty rates, up from 40 percent in 2000. Perhaps most striking, impoverished neighborhoods are increasingly located in DFW suburbs.

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Three Years After City's $850K, Lancaster Corridor Apartments Still Abandoned, Choked With Weeds

Categories: Housing

The Oakglen Apartments circa 2011, when the City Council chipped in $850,000 toward a proposed redevelopment. It looks much the same now.
The Oakglen Apartments are, for lack of a better term, a craphole. Long-abandoned with boarded-up windows and, unless City Hall made good on its promise to mow the city-owned property on Wednesday after WFAA ran a story about neighbors' complaints, completely choked with brush and weeds.

It's not supposed to be like this. We don't mean in the abstract sense that apartments are built to be inhabited or that property owners, city of Dallas included, are supposed to keep their properties up to code. We mean there were concrete plans, and that those plans were funded with $850,000 in the city's HUD money. Today, the 64-unit Oakglen Apartments are supposed to look something more like this:

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In Dallas, You Need to Make $29,000 Per Year to Afford a Decent Apartment

Categories: Housing

Dustin Gilbert
Look hard enough and you should be find a quality place like this for $722 per month.
The Washington Post's Wonk Blog yesterday published a county-by-county map of what a worker needs to make to afford a decent one-bedroom apartment.

In Dallas (and Collin, and Denton County) the figure is $13.88 per hour, assuming 40-hour weeks and a full 52 weeks of pay. Annually, that comes out to about $29,000 per year.

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Troubled Patriot's Crossing Development "Back at Ground Zero" After HUD Denies Funding

Categories: Housing

On paper, Patriot's Crossing is still going to be a pleasant, 162-unit development on Lancaster Road offering military veterans affordable housing with easy access to the VA Medical Center. The problem -- one of them, anyway -- is that the generously subsidized project is can't seem to make the jump into physical being.

The latest in the ongoing saga, which has already raised plenty of concerns about city housing policy (a $4.5 million "forgivable" loan?), is that developer Yigal Lelah can't get HUD to provide the loan he needs to finance the project.

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Dallas Is Sitting On Hundreds of Tax-Foreclosed Properties, Almost All in Southern Dallas

Categories: City Hall, Housing

City of Dallas
The city's stock of tax-foreclosed properties is clustered heavily in neighborhoods in South and West Dallas and Oak Cliff. See the end of the post for the entire map.
It used to be that, four or five times a year, Dallas would have an auction and sell its tax-foreclosed properties to the highest bidder. The last one happened on June 13, 2013, two weeks before the City Council complained that the houses were falling into the hands of slum lords and shady boarding-home operators.

Since then, Dallas has been sitting on the properties it owns -- about 400 parcels in all -- while it figures out a way to keep them from dragging down surrounding neighborhoods. And by "surrounding neighborhoods," we mean West Dallas, South Dallas and Oak Cliff, which, with a few exceptions, is where the tax-foreclosed properties sit.

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Arlington Puts Hippie Garden on Trial for Tall Grass, Shows Jurors a Picture of Poop

Mark Graham
GoE's Quinn Eaker. He was kicked out of the courtroom for using his cell phone.
It turns out that Arlington, of all places, is home to a sustainable garden/hippie residence called the Garden of Eden. Naturally, Arlington does not approve.

Suspecting that the hippies were growing weed, officials first sent a manned aircraft over the Garden of Eden last year. Undercover officers paid a visit in person. It all hit the fan in August, when a SWAT team stormed the place looking for drugs.

The SWAT team didn't find a single bud. So instead, a bunch of city code enforcement officers showed up later that day. They cited the residents for having tall grass and storing inside furniture outside, among other violations. Code enforcement also mowed the lawn.

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Dallas Has Been Openly Funneling Affordable Housing Money Out of Downtown for Years

Categories: City Hall, Housing

Enjoy the view of downtown all you want, poor people. Just don't defile it with your presence.
HUD spent four years building its recently unveiled case against the city of Dallas, compiling statistics and gathering evidence to show that for years the city been illegally promoting residential housing segregation.

Evidence that the city was steering affordable housing outside of downtown, the claim that formed the seed of HUD's investigation, was right out in the open all along.

Dallas' City Center TIF, a redevelopment zone that encompasses most of downtown, has a $5 million pot of money earmarked for affordable housing. The condition? It had to be used outside the TIF district.

Karl Zavitkovsky, the director of the city's Office of Economic Development, offered a brief explanation.

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