So what is happening around our area. Here's a nice recap for August 2016:
- Denton County property values continued their upward climb this year. The Denton Central Appraisal District’s 2016 certified valuations were finalized on July 22, 2016. Countywide property values rose nearly 11% over last year. Unfortunately, property owners who disagree with the Denton CAD’s 2016 appraisal of their property value must have filed a written protest with the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) before May 1. As expected, the 2016 Certified Valuations were less than the Preliminary Valuations, but higher than the 2015 Certified Valuations.
- California-based Charles Schwab Corp. will create at least 1,200 new jobs with its planned regional office campus in northeast Tarrant County. The 500,000-square-foot office center in Westlake has been given a $6 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant to help pay for the project. The San Francisco-based company rented office space in Westlake to temporarily house up to 500 Schwab employees in November 2015, so this is a commitment to the DFW area. Construction on the new office center begins in 2017.
- H-E-B continues to tease North Texans with the prospect of opening grocery stores in the region. The San Antonio-based grocery recently purchased six Sun Fresh Market stores, and remains coy about whether those locations will become home to H-E-Bs or the fancier Central Market brand. The state’s largest independent grocery chain has purchased four Dallas store locations in Uptown, Lake Highlands, Lakewood and Northwest Dallas, along with 2 more store locations in McKinney and Grapevine. H-E-B also owns 20 pieces of land in North Texas where new stores could be built.
- Pinterest is changing the way it sells its ads. Marketers will now be able to bid on inventory through an auction process. Previously, CPMs – or cost per thousand impressions – were only available on a fixed-priced basis. Meanwhile, the company also added that marketers can now add frequency capping, which will allow them to specify the maximum number of times a person can see their campaign.
- Dallas has made the list of international cities with the greatest office rent increases,according to a report released on August 10, 2016 by commercial real estate firm JLL. Big D was at the top of JLL’s list of top markets for quarter-over-quarter office rent growth. Average quoted rents in the Dallas area were up 8% at midyear from the first quarter. Office rents in North Texas now top $25 per square foot on average — a record high, according to JLL. The only other North American markets with big rent gains on the list were Montreal (6.3%) and San Francisco (5.8%). Rents in Houston, hard hit by the energy sector slowdown, were actually 1.1% lower this year, so as you study data, be aware that Texas numbers as a whole, may not be reflective of North Texas activities.
- Ford Motor Co. announced in August that it intends to have a fully driverless vehicle — no steering wheel, no pedals — on the road within five years. The car will initially be used for commercial ride-hailing or ride-sharing services, with sales to consumers coming later. Ford’s approach to the autonomous car breaks from many other companies, like Mercedes-Benz and Tesla Motors, which plan to gradually add self-driving capability to traditional cars. In July, BMW announced a plan to put an autonomous vehicle with a steering wheel on the road by 2021. Ford is taking the same approach as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which supports moving directly to self-driving cars once the technology is perfected.