Dallas construction points the way out of recession



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Posted on September 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 7:32 AM

DALLAS — While the rest of the country slogs its way out of recession, Dallas appears to be sprinting.

Construction records show a 1,300 percent increase in permits for new multi-family construction since 2009.

In the city's Oak Lawn neighborhood, six new apartment buildings are planned or already under construction, adding 1,000 new units.

"We've been so successful with the first stage of iLume that we are putting in another 240 units," said developer Luke Crosland at a construction site on Cedar Springs Road across the street from a companion apartment project.

"Residential is all about jobs," Crosland said.

People with jobs need a place to live. That's what's spurring construction of high-end apartments at Victory Park, the neighborhood's first new development in five years.

The developer, Behringer Harvard, said it is taking advantage of rents that are climbing 5 percent year-to-year.

And they're not the only ones bullish on housing.

The City of Dallas reports the value of construction permits has climbed from about $50 million in 2009 to $700 million today.

Crosland points out that this is happening at time when banks are reluctant to loan money. "We have 35 percent equity to 30 percent equity required in new projects, whereas before projects were financed with 10 to 5 percent equity."

Developers hope that needing to have that much skin in the game will keep the market heating up, while keeping it from getting overheated.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com