The website Zillow.com reports that the North Dallas area is seeing home price increases more like the boom years of the mid 2000's with the far North seeing 15% average increases in the last 12 months, and those closer to town going up 10%. Other areas of the Dallas Metro are level or beginning to trend up, as well.
This is obviously good news for those who bought at the top, or refinanced in 2007 or before, and have been struggling...It is also good news for the building trades. While it may be possible to cover a $30,000 kitchen remodel with your American Express Card or from savings, most folks seem to prefer to use their equity as the smart way to finance home improvements.
With mortgage rates at historic lows, homeowners who have equity get a double benefit. This means that depending on the interest rate on their current loan, homeowners may be able to refinance their existing principle, plus enough to finally do the kitchen or bathroom remodel, and end up with the same payments they had before.
For example: say your home in North Dallas has a mortgage of $200,000. If the current interest rate is at 4.5%, your payments are going to be in the neighborhood of $1000 a month. If you were to add a $40,000 remodel to that home, thereby increasing your mortgage to $240,000, but get a 3.4% mortgage, your new monthly payment would still be about $1000.00.
Because a smart remodel can add at least $40,000 to the value to the home, this may leave you with the same net worth, the same payment, and a better home.
Many homeowners in Dallas do not realize that home prices are headed upwards. Speculators have entered the market, foreclosures are getting processed through to new owners, and the upward pressure on prices is helping those who were barely upside down to get ahead or to be in a position to sell. This in turn is creating more demand with very little supply.