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Here’s what a half-million bucks will get you in and around DFW

The market for $500,000 homes in North Texas is changing fast.
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DALLAS — The $500,000 home in North Texas is changing fast, says Lisa Birdsong, an agent in the Frisco office of Coldwell Banker Realty. And so are the buyers of homes priced at or near the half-million-dollar mark, she adds.

“What we’re seeing right now is buyers are so much more patient than they were even a year-and-a-half ago,” Birdsong said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal. “We saw such a frenzy back in the high years. Everything was moving fast. They aren’t doing that anymore.”

Take a photo tour of North Texas homes on the market priced around $500,000, compiled with help from Coldwell Banker, by clicking here.

This is the fourth in a series of stories the Dallas Business Journal will run on DFW housing options at various price points. Here’s how you can access the series:

Builders in the suburbs are “spoiling” the buyers, Birdsong said, with features on newly constructed homes at the $500,000 price such as granite or quartz countertops, hardwood flooring throughout, high-end appliances and outdoor fireplaces. Three and even four-car garages have become a staple at the half-million mark in the suburbs, Birdsong added.

The combination of a getting a new-build and extras like those make it difficult for resale homes to compete, even if they’re closer in, Birdsong said.

“The half-million-dollar buyer really gets a lot in the suburbs,” she said.

She’s seeing several trends at the $500,000 price point.

Formal dining rooms are going away. Media rooms are increasingly on the ground floor. Cabinets and countertops are being built into pantries so appliances that might otherwise be kept on kitchen counters can be plugged in but out of sight.

Single-story construction of large homes on big lots in the suburbs north of Highway 121 — places like Prosper, Frisco, McKinney, and Celina — is hot, Birdsong said.

Condos and townhomes are also popping up in North Dallas and suburbs where single-family homes have historically dominated, she added.

Charles El-Moussa, president of Coldwell Banker Realty Texas, said $500,000 homes are a solid move-up market.

“The average price here (in North Texas) is in the $300s,” El-Moussa said. “So when you go to $500,000, you’re tailoring to a little higher buyer. It’s in the middle block. It’s a sweet spot, and there are quite a few homes in that price category.”

A check this week by Coldwell Banker showed 491 houses on the market in the $490,000 to $510,000 range in the 20-plus counties in and around North Texas.

Seventy-six of the homes were in Dallas, 49 were in Tarrant County, 112 in Collin County and 78 of the homes were in Denton County.

Birdsong said this week there were only 26 single-family homes with three or more bedrooms in the $490,000 to $510,000 price range inside the loop.

Inside the loop, buyers typically get three bedrooms for $500,000, while in the northern suburbs they may get six for the same price, Birdsong said.

The spring buying season, which doesn’t usually begin until after the Super Bowl, started early this year, Birdsong added.

“We’re seeing very, very strong buyer activity right now,” Birdsong said. “They recognize the market conditions are good, the interest rates are good, the economy is good. We’re just in a great situation right now.”

Because of new, speculative home construction in northern locales like Prosper, it has become a buyer’s market, while it remains a seller’s market south of I-635, in North Dallas, and in closer-in suburbs like Plano, she said.

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