Texas Land Development Activity Soars

Among the neighborhoods making RCLCO’slist of the 50 top-selling neighborhoods in the nation for 2023, 21 of the 50 are located in Texas. See which ones made the list!

Land Development Activity is up across North Texas. Builders started construction on 12,173 single-family homes in the fourth quarter of 2023. That’s a jump from just 8,107 starts in fourth quarter 2022, according to the latest estimates from Dallas-based Residential Strategies.

Fort Worth Makes Affordable Housing Headlines

Our recent Savvy Special Report article shows Millennials are today’s largest buying group. And Gen-Z’s coming next are even more keen on owning a home.  As these young adults look for a place to call their own, the question is—where can they afford to buy? — Fort Worth!

Three Texas cities made Point2’s “Top 10 Cities where young adults have the most promising chances of becoming homeowners.” Fort Worth was #8, behind #2-ranked Corpus Christi and #4-ranked Laredo.

NEZ Rules May Change

Fort Worth’s Neighborhood Empowerment Zones (NEZ’s) are designed to assure the continued availability of affordable housing in the city.  The NEZ areas are economically challenged parts of the city. The intent is to spur development and promote growth and improvement. But city officials are discussing changing the rules.

As Fort Worth’s current city code stands, developers in an NEZ can apply for a five-year tax abatement. They must set aside 20% of their units as affordable housing. (as defined by HUD based on area median family income) for five years. Or instead, developers can opt to pay $200 per unit in their development, for five years. The city anticipated using the fee money to build affordable housing elsewhere.

Members of the City Council will vote on whether to remove the pay-out option altogether. No developer applying for the tax abatement has opted to do the set aside since 2015, city officials say.  And with costs soaring since the pandemic, the fee money isn’t enough.  They say raising the $200 per unit fees still wouldn’t be enough to provide a comparable amount of affordable housing.

Landsea Homes Corp will Acquire Arlington-based Antares Homes for $232.2 million

Landsea moved its headquarters from California to Uptown Dallas last year.  Up to this point, it has mainly been acquiring construction sites in the Austin area.  But now Landsea makes its first move into the Dallas-Fort Worth home construction market with the purchases of Antares Homes.  The deal adds 2,298 owned or controlled construction sites across 19 North Texas communities to Landsea’s portfolio.  Antares’ sites are primarily located on the outer-ring cities surrounding Fort Worth. These include Burleson, Cleburne and Godley, as well as the city of Fort Worth, Arlington and Forney (east of Dallas).

Big Plans for Denison

Developer Craig International has worked diligently with the city of Denison in Grayson County. And now, the Preston Harbor project moves forward. The project poses to open the entire west side of the city to the 90,000-acre Lake Texoma.

The $6 billion development has 9.5 miles of shore frontage on Lake Texoma. It also boasts 27 internal lakes, posing to make Preston Harbor a stunning premier destination. More than 7,500 homes will include luxury single-family and multi-family housing.  The Preston Harbor community also includes plans for a Margaritaville resort hotel, retail, restaurants, and an upscale marina.

Craig International partnered with the Choctaw Nation; Dave Johnson, founder and former CEO of Plano-based Aimbridge Hospitality; and N9 Capital Partners on the Preston Harbor project.

Builder magazine’s says among U.S. metros with populations over 750,000, Austin is No. 1 for year-over-year- growth in gross domestic product. Median Income increased by 2.7% from the previous year to $101,875.  And Austin ranks the highest of all Texas markets as #5  on U-Haul’s 2023 Growth Index.

The population for the metropolitan area is approximately 2,550,980 people. And it’s projected to increase by 1.9% this year. There are approximately 995,100 households in the region, which is up 2.3% year over year. The average list price for a new single family homes in the region decreased 3.2% from 2022 to $485,723 in December. But homes priced over $550,000 experienced the most closing activity over the past year.

National Funding for Affordable Housing Initiatives

HBA of Greater Austin was one of 18 HBAs in 14 states to receive funding from the National Association of Home Builders last year to address key housing priorities. 

The Austin City Council passed new code amendments for the first phase of the “Home Options for Middle-Income Empowerment” (HOME) Initiative, with a 9-2 supermajority. The approved code amendments are among a series of updates to the city’s Land Development Code (LDC), which governs land use regulations in Austin, intending to provide more housing types and increase housing supply within single-family zoned areas of Austin.

The Austin City Council voted to allow the construction of more homes on single-family lots in a major bid to put more housing units on the market. The change allows up to three housing units, such as duplexes and triplexes, on almost any lot in the city where single-family homes are currently allowed.

Setting the National Example for Tesla Solar Neighborhoods

Tesla confirmed that it has now deployed “over 600 solar neighborhoods” with a total capacity of over 100 MW. A new partnership with Beazer Homes illustrates Tesla’s strategy of partnering with major new home builders to deploy its solar and Powerwalls.  One of the largest development projects to date offering Tesla solar roofs and Powerwalls is located in Austin.  There, Brookfield Asset Management and Dacra will implement the systems into. 12,000 new homes.

Listed at $65M, The Lodge at Hunters Creek, an estate on Timberwilde Lane in Houston, made the 2023 list of Most Expensive Homes for Sale in Every U.S. State. The price includes its personal 24-hour guard team. The 22,000 square-foot estate home is the 8th most expensive listing this year.  It features 12 bathrooms, 8 bedrooms, a guest lodge, 2 pools, spa, glass elevator, outdoor kitchen and bar, and more.  See others across the country that made the list.

2021 I-Codes Now In Effect in Houston

The International Building Code®, International Existing Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Residential Code®, International Swimming Pool and Spa Code® and International Energy Conservation Code® became effective for Houston builders on January 2, 2024.

The updated I-Codes include requirements for energy storage systems to help facilitate their implementation and improved construction methods for tiny homes, 3-D printing and the use of intermodal shipping containers as buildings. The I-Codes also introduce mass timber buildings, a new construction methodology, to the city and added provisions for construction and fire safety.

Major National Builders Have Big Plans in Houston This Year

Toll Brothers

Construction is underway in The Orchard Collection at Pomona. The master planned community in Brazoria County is in the city of Manvel.  The neighborhood is situated in a gated section of the master plan with 60-foot-wide home sites and a choice of six home designs ranging from 2,700 to over 3,600 square feet of luxury living space. Home designs in this collection include one- and two-story floor plans with 3-car garages, 3 to 5 bedrooms, and 3 to 4.5 baths. Homes are priced from the mid-$500,000s.

Toll Brothers at Pomona offers premier amenities including access to a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse with two resort-style pools with cabanas, state-of-the-art “exploration zone” playground, fitness center, fishing pond, catering kitchen, and walking trails and parks. Residents will be immersed in a vibrant social and active lifestyle with year-round planned events inspired by an on-site Lifestyle Director. Students will have access to the renowned Alvin Independent School District and on-site elementary school.


Headquartered and originating from The Woodlands, Texas, LGI Homes now sells homes across 36 markets in 21 states. As one of America’s fastest growing companies, locally-based LGI Homes has closed over 65,000 homes since its founding in 2003.  Two of its newest communities are close to home.

Located in the Fort Bend County city of Beasley, Emberly is a 933-acre, master-planned community by Starwood Land conveniently located near the shopping, dining and entertainment centers of Rosenburg, Richmond and Sugar Land. Emberly will include an Amenity Village with a pool and clubhouse, splash pad, pickleball courts, sand volleyball court, dog park and more. LGI Homes at Emberly offers six brand-new floor plans, ranging in size from 1,421 square feet with three bedrooms to 2,281 square feet with four bedrooms.  New homes at Emberly start in the $290s and feature brick masonry, spacious layouts and large front and back patios.

In Northeast Houston, Wayside Village by LGI Homes offers its residents quick access to I-69, I-610 and I-45. Located 10 miles from downtown Houston and 20 miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport,. Wayside Village will offer amenities including a children’s playground, BBQ grills and walking trails. New homes at Wayside Village start in the $220s. Five floor plans rangie in size from 1,076 square feet with three bedrooms to 2,316 square feet with four bedrooms.

KB Home

KB announced the grand opening of Grace Landing in Willis, Texas. The community’s one- and two-story floor plans feature up to five bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths with prices starting from the low $200s.  Grace Landing community amenities will include a playground, pavilion and splash pad and the community is zoned for Willis Independent School District. 

According to SABOR, the median home value in San Antonio is around $299,000, which is considerably lower than the median home value in cities like Dallas and Austin.  And for that reason San Antonio has great advantage for real estate investors looking to enter the Texas market.

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