Housing surge gobbles up 'legacy lots' in North Texas



Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwheelertv


Posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM

LANCASTER — Her dog Dee is a good companion, but when Robin Williams became one of the first to move into a new Lancaster subdivision six years ago, she was hoping she might get some human neighbors, too.

"I thought it would grow pretty fast with the development, but all of a sudden it just stopped," she said.

It was a sign of what was to come for years.

As the real estate market took a beating, housing starts stopped in many developments. The number of new homes declined by nearly three-quarters.

"About half the builders in Dallas-Fort Worth either closed shop, went out of business, or left the market entirely," said Ted Wilson of Residential Strategies.

He said the most recent data now shows almost 2,000 homes a month are being constructed here, including development of "legacy lots." There are as many as 15,000 of them locally where development began before the recession but never reached the final step of being constructed.

"We're finding that most of these legacy lots all across Dallas and Fort Worth have pretty well been gobbled up by builders."

Robin Williams has noticed the changes all around her home. "Right here, and two over there, and the ones on that street... and they are just finishing up these and two on the other street, she said.

Williams thinks having new neighbors will be good for her property value, and for walks on a contiguous sidewalk where she and her dog might soon actually run into someone she can talk to.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com