Dallas-Fort Worth Land Rush Takes Off As Builders Struggle to Meet Demand
The COVID-19 pandemic and a severe shortage of homes have kicked off a new land rush in North Texas. Homebuilders and residential community developers in recent months have purchased thousands of acres of rural land in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. And buyers are combing the wilds of outlying counties looking for more dirt.
“It’s quite a scramble,” said North Texas real estate broker Rex Glendenning, who has recently handled several huge land sales in Collin and Kaufman counties. “I probably get 20 calls a week from builders and developers looking for land. They want to buy properties so they can begin development.”
D-FW-area home starts were up by more than a third in 2020 and are expected to head even higher this year. “The homebuilding market in D-FW has obviously revved up,” said Ted Wilson, principal with Dallas-based housing analyst Residential Strategies. “Several big builders are stepping up and buying tracts of land and developers as well who realize it’s a time they need to ramp up.”
Residential Strategies is forecasting that D-FW home starts will top 45,000 in 2021. But to do that, builders will need completed home lots — something that’s in limited supply in North Texas. “There is a shortage of lots out there,” Wilson said. “For most of this year, it’s going to be a pretty tight lot supply.” Wilson said currently there’s about a 20-month homebuilding lot supply in the D-FW area, down from the usual 24 months of lot inventory. To meet demand from homebuyers, builders and developers need to quickly tie up additional construction sites.
Most of the largest recent land sales in suburban D-FW are for new home communities that won’t be ready until next year at the earliest. “It’s taking 14 to 16 months to get lots delivered these days,” he said. “A lot of these are not going to hit the market until 2022 or 2023.” Some of the biggest recent residential land buys in suburban counties include:
Green Brick Homes has recently purchased land in five D-FW suburban locations to accommodate construction of more homes.
We have seen some of the highest housing demand in the nation in the Dallas-Fort Worth market,” Jim Brickman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Green Brick Partners, said in a statement. “Due to an increasingly limited supply of land and rising construction prices, the average price for a new home across D-FW has risen sharply. Our new developments represent over 2,000 new homes, including a significant number of value-oriented homes that will be optimal for first-time buyers...”