1. As housing costs soar for buyers and renters, rentals become scarce
As single-family home prices in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake continue to increase, more moderate-income residents might consider renting a home instead. The limited number of available rental homes in these cities, however, has forced some residents into apartments or outside the cities entirely.
Between May 13 and June 13, there were 49 available rental houses in the cities of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake, according to North Texas Real Estate Information Systems data. The majority were in Grapevine.
A lot of factors go into why there are so few rentals in the area, Southlake Realtor Jeremy Bravo said.
Property owners are typically looking for a certain return on their investment when it comes to rentals, he explained. But because the home prices are already high in the area, it is tough to set a rent that people will pay, Bravo said.
“For instance, if you buy a home for $800,000 in Southlake, you generally rent it for $8,000 [per month], but that’s not happening,” he said. “You’re renting it for $4,000 to $5,000. So you’re not getting that 1% [investment return] that most investors are looking for.”
Having a lower return on investment directly ties into the number of homes available for rent, he said.
“It’s very rare that people will rent [their properties] here, just because it doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint,” he said.
Increasing property taxes
While increasing home values can mean dollar signs for sellers, it can also make it harder for people trying to rent.
Sabina Cantrell said she lived in Grapevine and Colleyville until 2011, when she had to move to Bedford where it was more affordable. She moved back to the area a few years later after she found a townhouse to rent. But now, property tax appraisals are affecting her rental payments.
“The recent increase in property taxes has forced my landlord to raise the rent $300 [more per month], so I will be having to move again,” she said. “I live on a fixed disability income, and living in this area is becoming impossible.”
The property taxes a person pays is based on the value of the property that person owns. Increasing rental prices are usually attributed to an increase in property value appraisals.
The Tarrant Appraisal District’s 2019 land value estimates marked another year of property value increases for the cities of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake. Grapevine’s estimated 2019 taxable value increased by $858 million over 2018 values. Colleyville’s estimated 2019 taxable value increased by $490 million, and Southlake’s estimated 2019 taxable value increased by $866 million.
“The real estate market we are currently seeing is the best I have witnessed in decades,” Jeff Law, chief appraiser for the TAD, said in an email. “For the past several years demand has outpaced supply not only here in Tarrant County but all throughout the state, and that will always cause prices to increase.”
Limited rental options
Out of Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake, only Grapevine allows the development of apartment buildings. That limits the rental options for people in these cities, Bravo said.
Taylor Stainbrook has been renting in Grapevine for 10 years and currently resides in an apartment within the city.
“Rentals are expensive here if you want to live in a safer area,” she said. “I’m still holding out hope that some developer will create a tiny house community in the suburbs where one can actually live comfortably and within reason.”
She rents because she does not want a mortgage or the responsibility of maintenance, she said.
Cantrell said she would also like to see more housing options.
“I am all for progress, but communities should have a blend of housing to allow for all forms of income to live there,” she said.
As the cost of labor continues to increase, Bravo said it is doubtful more affordable housing structures will be built in the area. Property owners in cities such as Southlake will continue having to set lower rents as home values increase, and that creates fewer rental home options on the market.
“Renting in places like Colleyville and Grapevine are much more affordable,” he said.
2. Senior population in local cities increases
The population of people 65 and older in the area is increasing at a higher percentage than the overall population, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Their numbers are growing in part due to longer life expectancies, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
This increasing population can make it harder for younger families to find available homes and move into the area. It also indicates the high quality of life residents enjoy and their reluctance to leave it.
3. Southlake smooths the way for residents to add accessory structures
At a June 18 meeting, the City Council voted to provide flexibility for residents looking to install accessory structures on their property. Amendments to the city’s existing ordinance regarding accessory structures removed some requirements and added some provisions. Accessory structures are usually part of a person’s property, and examples of these structures can include gazebos and attached garages.
The amended ordinance will ultimately shorten the approval process for accessory homes in the city, Mayor Laura Hill said.
”I love it,” she said when presented with the amendments to the city ordinance. “I think it makes it so much easier for residents with large pieces of property to use their land efficiently without having to go through such a long process. The process right now is tough.”
4. Starter homes a scarce resource in Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake
The typical home in Grapevine is more affordable than the homes in Southlake and Colleyville. There were 13 homes in Grapevine listed at or below $300,000 as of June 13, North Texas Real Estate Information Systems data showed. In Colleyville there were five, and none were listed in Southlake at that price point.