Igloos can be attributed to the Innuit, native to the arctic regions of Canada, Greenland (remember, not green), and even the United States. The Innuit are commonly referred to as Eskimos.
Igloos were primarily constructed of ice but also employed whale bone. With temperatures in the region dropping as low as -49, Igloos were surprisingly efficient at utilizing body heat alone for warmth and could range from 19-61 degrees on the inside!
Igloos are different in construction from geodesic domes in that their components are built in an ascending upward spiral pattern, and if built properly can support the weight of a full-grown man. Unfortunately, they only offer limited protection from Polar Bears.
July was an amazing month for real estate, August is looking to be even better. We’ve about made-up in sales volume for the COVID-dip, and every indicator says August is going to be a banner month. Unless the election has more of an effect on the market compared to other election years (and the effect is noticeable), 2020 will actually have a higher sales volume than 2019. Despite millions of people out of work, low interest rates and mass migration to DFW have helped us beat the odds.
While it’s a hot market, it’s possibly the most emotional real estate market in history. It’s absolutely maddening. I don’t blame people… between COVID, the heat, low inventory and the politically charged climate of an election year, it’s no wonder everyone is on edge. In previous years I wouldn’t have put much credence in back-up offers, but we’ve seen many contracts fall through in 2020 and many of them are due to buyers and sellers having personal issues with one another. We’re earning our money as Realtors, and in all honesty, this is exactly what the market needs to thin the herd of flippant agents.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve picked up disc golf again after a 20-year hiatus (thanks to my great friend, Chad Lasseter, for helping me rediscover it). Frankly, it’s been a Godsend. It’s a great excuse to get outside and soak up some sun, allows you to be as serious/casual as you like, and is both less expensive and less physically strenuous on the body as regular golf. I never realized just how indoors-oriented I’d become until I started spending several hours outside at a time, and it’s really nice to actually be adapted to the summer heat. Don’t get me wrong, a 107 degree heat index is a sweaty experience, it’s nowhere nearly as oppressive as it has been in previous years. For anyone interested, there are dozens of courses around the Metroplex, and it’s just a fun, laid-back time. Anyone feel like throwing the disc some weekend, just let me know!
In case you didn’t know, there is a virus spanning the globe. Experts have issued guidelines that were taken up by Metrotex Realtors, and together they introduced safety protocols designed to protect buyers, sellers & real estate professionals. It’s not a whole new way of doing things, but there have been some adjustments.
Real estate saw some rough times from April, May, and into June. Sales were down considerably, but more affected was inventory. Fortunately, basic laws of supply-and-demand have kept sales prices moving upward, and interest rates have motivated buyers into stepping out of quarantine and buying a home.
Technology has never been more important in real estate. Along with great photography, 360 walkthrough technology, like Matterport photography, ensures even quarantined buyers can virtually tour a home. Protocol dictates that all real estate professionals wear masks and self-quarantine if they feel unwell. Personally, I leave masks at the front door of my listings along with hand sanitizer and a request that everyone disinfect when they’re entering and leaving.
Besides having very little to choose from, buyers are not as affected as you’d expect. Virtual showings – agents previewing a home while FaceTiming their buyers – are a lot more common.
Closings – normally my favorite part of the transaction – are now done remotely or in people’s cars… which stinks. Also, closings are often being delayed because virtually all the cogs in the real estate machine are operating below maximum efficiency. It’s an emotional market in 2020, and these delays do nothing to help, but with a little patience and perseverance, people are still moving down the road and realizing the American dream.
As a nation of settlers, our immigrants have bought with the the influences of their homelands, and those from the Orient are no different.
Asian architecture – and there are many variations based on region/country – is typically wood-framed, characterized by graceful and distinctively shaped, multi-level roofs that curve upwards at the corners. Entryways almost always face south. Structures are symmetrical in layout, they may be round, square, even octagonal in shape.
Often meticulously decorated with culturally significant carvings, of animals and mythological figures, they symbolize more than just a dwelling, but a tribute to history. Red roof channel fortune, green harmony, yellow royalty. They are often surrounded by graceful gardens.
What a wacky year it’s been (insert your favorite expletive for “wacky” if you like). Despite a non-existent April-May, aggregate sales in 2020 trails 2019 by only 2% for single-family homes, and 10% for condos and townhomes. If you read this newsletter, and I’m sure it’s the primary focus of your life – a veritable north star the dark night of COVID – you’ll know just how terrible sales were for two of what should have been top sales months. Again, I have no idea how the year is going to turn out, there are conflicting forces at play. Working against a strong 2020 are COVID and it’s a presidential election year. Working for the market are tens of thousands of people flooding into D/FW in search of jobs, prosperity and a 110 degree heat index.
Inventory is still critically low in the DFW area. Builders around the periphery simply can’t put up enough product to keep up with demand. It’s amazing that parts of the Metroplex that were once rightfully considered the middle-of-nowhere are now bustling population microcosms. I mean, there isn’t a tree over 7′ tall in these areas, but by the year 2070, they will be MAJESTIC.
I try to keep my comments as macro as possible, but for the most part, the majority of my work is in East Dallas and Lake Highlands, both of which have been particularly resurgent in the last couple of months. Sales volume has risen 38% and 62%, respectively. What areas are suffering? Park Cities and Oak Lawn. Luxury homes over $1,000,000 – particularly $2,000,000 – are simply not selling these days. And the condos and townhomes that compose the majority of Oak Lawn are also lagging.
As was typical of all New World settlers, Dutch settlers in New York, New Jersey, Delaware & western Connecticut brought their familiar architecture with them.
The Dutch Colonial homes were characterized by gambrel roofs with curved eaves, double-hung sash windows, and outward swinging wood shutters, these charming homes were originally designed with only one room (open concept before it was a thing).
Besides what was just mentioned, Dutch Colonials varied wildly in form. During the late 1800’s they had a very Victorian flare, while after 1900 their design contained more classical elements.
We see this style in D/FW from time-to-time. In fact, the very first home I ever held open was Dutch Colonial. It was on Reiger in Old East Dallas. Sweet memories…
It didn’t used to be this way in Dallas. We’ve always had hot summers, but nothing like the kind of humidity we’ve had to endure these last few years. Texas has the 6th highest humidity in America (There’s a reason I never considered living in Houston).
Humidity presents a challenge because it negates our body’s natural ability to cool through sweating. When we sweat, evaporating perspiration actually transfers heat from our bodies to the droplets. This also increases our perception of temperature (measured by the heat index).
“But John, you brilliant, yet oddly quirky tome of useless knowledge,” I hear you ask, “how do I take precaution not to fall victim to heat exhaustion?” Well, dear reader, allow me to help.
Proper Ventilation – Be it outdoors or indoors, a nice fan or cross-breeze is a life saver. One of the articles I read suggests you keep your windows open to facilitate the breeze, but these days, that sounds like the dumbest idea on Earth.
Drink Cold Water – In addition to keeping you hydrated – something we can’t get enough of during the summer – ice-cold water cools you from the outside in.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes… or Don’t – The old idiom is to always wear loose-fitting clothes so you can get better circulation, leading to sweat evaporation. However, moisture-wicking technology made of nylon has become a staple in the closets of athletic people. Underarmour and Nike were pioneers of this technology.
Plants Are Your Friend – I don’t imagine the cactus plant on your desk is going to make a ton of difference, but plants absorb moisture in the air and can have a positive effect on the humidity around you.
Don’t Eat Heavy Carbs – Ideally, a salad or fresh fruit will contribute the least to your overheating, but lighter proteins such as chicken or fish are considerably better than the heavier meals like baked lasagna (even though delicious). Save that for the fall… and for your fat pants.
Take Cold Showers – I never understood how people could take cold showers until I started mowing the lawn. Start off with a nice lukewarm temperature, then lower it incrementally so there’s no shock to the system.
It’s getting harder to predict how the year is going to turn out sales-wise. Sales for May were down a staggering (but predictable) 25% from May 2019, but pending sales going forward are up 19% from the previous year. It would appear that the market is going as the COVID-19 Lockdown is going, and now that new restrictions have been put in place, it’s causing things to slow down again. I think all-in-all we’ll still have a pretty good year, but it all depends on how much the election is going to impact sales and what the state of the virus is going to be like in the fall.
One of my chief frustrations with COVID-19 and the lockdown (besides the obvious economic crash and 100,000 death toll, of course) is that our shindigs have been put on hold. The usual John Angell Real Estate Group spring party was cancelled in April (although it would have been a push given my back surgery in February), and the July 4th party has been called off as well. I hate the idea of it, it could have been done outside, but the risk is just too high and the optics would have been foolish.
I’m glad to get back to the office, even with “social distancing” rules. We all have an inner introvert who loves staying at home, occasionally Zoom chatting (although I imagine only about half the people I see on Zoom are wearing pants), and saving money by not eating lunch out. But I think even the most introverted of us was either starting to go a little crazy from a lack of human interaction or, even worse, becoming accustomed to isolation to the point of enjoying it. I had a good friend once who I lost to bonafide agoraphobia after she started working from home. Her world got smaller and smaller until she couldn’t even walk her dog in public places or go to the grocery store. We all need to be vigilant against infection, but not at the expense of our nature as social animals.