State Fair

State Fair of Texas

Are you as excited as we are for the state fair? Today is the big day.  Here is a little history and awesome facts that you may not know.

The early days

The Dallas State Fair & Exposition, to which the present State Fair of Texas traces its origin, was chartered as a private corporation on Jan. 30, 1886, by a group of Dallas businessmen including W.H. Gaston, John S. Armstrong, and Thomas L. Marsalis. James B. Simpson was elected president of the association, and Sidney Smith was appointed as the first secretary.

A Fair split

Differences arose among the directors over where to build the new fairgrounds. Gaston proposed property in East Dallas, an 80-acre tract located within the modern boundaries of Fair Park. Strong opposition was voiced by C.A. Keating, speaking for the farm implement dealers. When no compromise could be reached, Keating and his supporters secured a charter for a separate event, the Texas State Fair & Exposition, which they announced would open just north of town on Oct. 25 – one day ahead of the Dallas State Fair.

The new plan

Exhibit facilities and a racetrack were built at each location, and both events attracted sizable crowds that fall. Attendance at the Dallas State Fair was estimated in excess of 100,000. But revenues for the fairs failed to meet expenses. The rival associations merged in 1887 becoming the Texas State Fair & Dallas Exposition. Despite indebtedness of more than $100,000, the directors voted to expand the fairgrounds by purchasing 37 acres adjacent to the East Dallas site.

Turn of the century troubles

The finest racing stock, cattle sales, concerts, balloon ascents, displays of farm machinery, contests for the ladies, and appearances by such notables as John Philip Sousa, William Jennings Bryan, Carrie Nation and Booker T. Washington brought thousands of Texans to the Fair each year. But the popular success of the exposition was shadowed by repeated fires, mishaps and mounting debt. A grandstand collapsed during a fireworks show in 1900, and the main exhibit building burned to the ground two years later. When the Texas Legislature banned gambling on horse races in 1903, thereby eliminating the Fair’s main source of income, the association faced a financial crisis. To protect this valuable community asset, the Texas State Fair spurned offers from developers and sold its property to the City of Dallas in 1904 under an agreement that set aside a period each fall to hold the annual exposition.

Starting fresh

The reorganized State Fair of Texas prospered immediately, establishing new records for receipts and attendance as 300,000 people streamed through the gates in 1905. President William Howard Taft visited the Fair in 1909, and Woodrow Wilson delivered a speech in 1911. Automobile races and stunt flying exhibitions became the top attractions. Attendance topped the 1 million mark in 1916. World War I caused the 1918 State Fair to be canceled, and Fair Park was converted into a temporary army encampment.

Coming attractions

The 1920s brought significant development and increased activity to the fairgrounds. A magnificent auditorium – which eventually would be known as the Music Hall – was completed in 1925, and outstanding New York shows were presented to Texas audiences for the first time. The Texas-OU football game was established as an annual fairtime event in 1929. And in 1930, the race track complex was razed to permit construction of 46,000-seat Fair Park Stadium – later renamed the Cotton Bowl.

Fair Park flourishes

In 1934, largely through the efforts of civic leader R.L. Thornton, Fair Park was selected as the central exposition site for the proposed Texas Centennial celebration. No state fair was scheduled in 1935, and construction began on a $25 million project that transformed the existing fairgrounds into a masterpiece of art and imagination. The 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition attracted more than 6 million people during its six-month run. A similar but smaller-scaled event, the Pan American Exposition, was presented in 1937. No fairs were held from 1942-1945. Following World War II, under the leadership of R.L. Thornton, the State Fair of Texas entered an era of unprecedented growth. Attendance reached the 2 million visitor level in 1949.

Big Tex finds a home

Highlights of the 1950s included the development of an international livestock show, installation of a monorail system, a Cotton Bowl concert by Elvis Presley, a visit from Vice President Richard Nixon and the first appearance of Big Tex, a 52-foot cowboy figure erected in the center of the grounds.

Since 1960, each exposition has been keyed to a theme. In 1968, the total number of fairgoers exceeded 3 million for the first time. Major renovation of the Cotton Bowl and Music Hall was accomplished during the 12 years that Robert B. Cullum served as State Fair president.

A Landmark Anniversary

Tragic midway accidents in 1979 and 1983 led to the adoption of a ride safety program that is considered a model for the amusement industry. Opening Saturday of 1985 was designated as “Eddie Robinson Day.” The legendary coach of the Grambling University Tigers led his team to victory over Prairie View in the Cotton Bowl to become the winningest coach in college football. In 1986, Fair Park was designated a National Historic Landmark, and the State Fair of Texas hosted a 31-day exposition celebrating both the Texas Sesquicentennial and the Fair’s own 100th anniversary.

The Fair as you know it

As the Fair moved into its second century of operation, new leadership assumed command. In 1988, Errol W. McKoy was named president with responsibility for the organization’s daily operation. The traditional fair season was extended from 17 to 24 days, and corporate sponsorship began to play an increasingly important role in programming. Involvement by major companies made it possible for the State Fair of Texas to offer its visitors a range of exhibits, entertainment, and services that are unmatched by any annual exposition in North America.

On the final Friday of the 2012 State Fair – October 19, 2012 – a fire due to an electrical short started in the base of the beloved icon, Big Tex. Dallas Fire Rescue rushed to the scene, but it was too late, the structure was destroyed. But, like any tall, proud Texan would do, this cowboy showed up for work in 2013. Big Tex returned to the State Fair in grand fashion with a Texas-sized welcome back celebration held on September 27, 2013. As he had done for many years, Tex breathed in a breath of fresh Texas air and said, “Howdy, Folks!,” to the world.

The State Fair board elected a new president in the spring of 2014 as Errol McKoy hung up his cowboy hat for retirement. Mitchell Glieber, who had served the Fair since 1999 in marketing roles, took over and first on his to-do list was to refresh the mission statement of the 128-year nonprofit organization. Not only did he want to continue putting on a world class event every year, he also wanted the State Fair of Texas organization to be known as a great community partner.

The State Fair of Texas celebrates all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment.

As a celebration of Texas heritage, the State Fair aims to embody all aspects of Lone Star culture. Although much has changed since its humble beginnings as a local fair and exposition, the State Fair of Texas embraces its historical roots and strives to preserve the traditions upon which it was built.

Source: State Fair of Texas

Going up in a red balloon

Plano Balloon Festival – September 20-22, 2019

We all look forward to the Plano Balloon Festival this time of year.  Did you know that this year marks the 40th year of Ballooning in Plano and Collin County?

This three day event starts Friday at 4:00 pm at Oak Point Park – 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano. The balloon launch is at 6:00 pm on Friday and 7:00 am and 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting). There are also a ton of fun events for the whole family.

Go to Plano Balloon Festival website and see the full schedule of events.

August Stats Are In!

Our Stats at a Glance are here!  Click here to see our new format of the stats by county.  For more detailed information, check out this link.  Or for full stats by county, click here.  If you need past DFW Real Estate Stats information, please visit our Resource Section located on all of our office pages.

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Texas Housing Insight

Here is a great post from Texas A&M Real Estate Center regarding home sales.


Texas housing sales recovered after second-quarter declines, trending upward amid lower mortgage interest rates and a robust economy. Mortgage applications for home purchases and refinances continued to rise, nudged by further decreases in interest rates. Demand was stable as the average home sold after two months on the market. On the supply side, single-family housing permits recovered from second quarter stagnation; however, starts remained sluggish. Home-price appreciation slowed but outpaced wage growth. Housing affordability continues to be the greatest challenge to the housing market across the state.


The Texas Residential Construction Cycle (Coincident) Index, which measures current construction activity, inched up amid ongoing payroll growth in the industry. Higher wages and an upturn in construction values, however, are crucial for the metric’s continued growth. The Residential Construction Leading Index rose to its highest level since the Great Recession as falling interest rates and a rebound in building permits favored a more positive outlook.

Single-family construction permits bounced back 16.5 percent after staggering in June, but the year-to-date (YTD) count remained behind January through July of last year. Nevertheless, Texas’ 10,504 monthly permits (nonseasonally adjusted) accounted for 15 percent of the U.S. total, extending a 13-year stretch as the national leader. Houston and DFW topped the list at the metropolitan level with 3,493 and 2,944 permits, respectively, but North Texas activity remained suppressed through 2019. On the other hand, permits rebounded in Central Texas after taking a step back in June. Austin ranked fifth behind Phoenix and Atlanta with 1,525 permits. San Antonio issued 817 permits, up 10.9 percent year over year (YOY).

Total Texas housing starts flattened as apartment construction stumbled on top of a steep decline in June. The single-family sector remained stagnant while single-family private construction values perpetuated a yearlong trend of decline. Houston construction values rebounded after falling to a seven-year low but trended downward. DFW registered similar movement while Austin and San Antonio values dipped in July.

Dwindling supply pulled Texas’ months of inventory (MOI) to the lowest level this year at 3.7 months. A total MOI around six months is considered a balanced housing market. The MOI for homes priced less than $300,000, which comprised the majority of sales, ticked below 2.8 months. Inventory for luxury homes (those priced more than $500,000), however, increased for the fourth consecutive month to reach an MOI of nine months. These divergent trends exemplify the shortage of affordable housing and the current mismatch between demand and supply.

The MOI ticked down across the major metros, chipping away at 2018 gains. Houston’s MOI fell below four months. Dallas and Fort Worth reached YTD lows at 3.2 and 2.6 months, respectively. In San Antonio, the MOI slid to 3.6 months, while Austin inventories fell to a three-year low, registering below 2.4 months.


Total housing sales through the MLS corrected upward 17 percent in July after declines in the previous two months. All price cohorts registered double-digit YTD growth except for homes priced less than $100,000, where a shortage of supply constrains sales. Despite the monthly jump, the sales pace shows signs of slowing in the $200,000-$300,000 price range, where more than a third of transactions take place.

After reaching YTD lows in June, metropolitan housing sales posted cycle-highs. Resale activity in Central Texas boosted YTD sales by 3.7 and 3.1 percent in Austin and San Antonio, respectively, compared with the same period last year. Total sales in Houston registered a 1.2 percent rise as the existing-home transactions increased at a more moderate pace. Growth in Dallas and Fort Worth home sales flattened at 1.0 and 0.7 percent, respectively, as North Texas’ resale market fell short of 2018 levels in the first seven months.

As sales stabilized, Texas’ average days on market (DOM) inched up to 60 days. Demand in the major metros also softened slightly but hovered around yearlong averages. Austin and San Antonio’s DOM stabilized at 59 days, as did Houston’s metric after falling the second quarter. The DOM in Fort Worth ticked up to 45 days. Dallas was the exception, where the DOM extended a sharp incline, reaching a six-and-a-half-year high of 58 days.

Continued concerns about global economic growth and trade uncertainty pulled interest rates down for the ninth consecutive month. Economic fundamentals at the state and national level, however, remain healthy and stable. Interest rates could fall further following the Federal Reserve’s rate cut. The ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yield flattened at a two-and-a-half year low of 2.1 percent, while the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s 30-year fixed-rate dropped below 3.8 percent. Texans capitalized on lower rates, pushing mortgage applications for home purchases up 18.1 percent YTD. Refinance mortgage applications, which are more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, have doubled since year-end.


The Texas median home price posted a new record-high, reaching $240,500. The annual rate of growth was 3.8 percent, below the 2018 average of 4.6 percent. Austin led the state with an all-time high median price of $315,500, followed by Dallas at $292,900. The median price in Fort Worth ($241,800) and Houston ($240,900) fell $800 and $400, respectively, from second-quarter record highs. San Antonio was the only metro with a median price below the statewide level, posting $232,500.

The Texas Repeat Sales Index increased 4.1 percent YOY on a statewide basis, insinuating greater home-price appreciation than the annual change in the Texas median home price. The index did, however, corroborate slowing growth compared with the 2018 and 2017 averages of 4.3 and 5.1 percent, respectively. North Texas registered 2.9 and 4.2 percent in Dallas and Fort Worth, respectively; however, appreciation calmed in comparison to 2018 levels. On the other hand, Austin’s index accelerated 5.2 percent, the fastest growth rate in over two years. Houston and San Antonio’s indices rose above last year’s average pace to 2.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively.

Click here for the full report.

Source – James P. Gaines, Luis B. Torres, Wesley Miller, and Paige Silva (September 6, 2019)…

DFW Real Estate, Housing Market, Title Insurance, Title Company

Remine At-A-Glance

Did you know that there is a program that allows you to farm neighborhoods much more efficiently?  Our Technology Trainers, Annette and Robin, teach a great class that dives into how Remine can change your farming game. 

Check out our Remine At-A-Glance class and learn how to better farm neighborhoods.

Click this link to sign up for this class or any of our other classes offered by wonderful and knowledgeable trainers.

Big Changes Being Made to Rollback Taxes for Agricultural Land in Texas

Here is some very helpful information of changes that were made regarding land used for agricultural purpose.

HB 1743 was passed and amends sections 23.55 and 23.76 of the Tax Code regarding the appraisal methods and procedures in Texas.  Specific changes made to the Tax Code are in regards to rollback taxes for agricultural land.  Land that is converted from agricultural use to non-agricultural use will still incur a rollback tax.  However, starting September 1, 2019 the number of years for a rollback tax bill for changing to a non-agricultural use will be reduced from five years to three years and the interest rate imposed on a rollback tax bill is also reduced from 7% to 5%.

Source:   Dr. Blake Bennett, Associate Professor and Extension Economist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Title Insurance Rate Change Effective September 1, 2019 – Reminder

Please note that beginning September 1, 2019, there will be a change to the basic premium rate for title insurance including an overall adjustment of -4.9 percent.

The Texas Commissioner of Insurance has issued an order adjusting the basic premium rate for title insurance and amending R-5, R-8 and R-20.

Summary of Changes

Basic Premium Rate – Includes an overall rate adjustment of -4.9 percent, a starting base rate of $25,000 and three new rate tiers for policies with face values over $25, $50 and $100 million.

Refinance Rate Amendment – Amends Rate Rule R-8 to provide for a 50 percent credit within the first four years and a 25 percent credit between four and eight years.

Simultaneous Issue Discount Expansion in R-5 – Allows a simultaneous issue rate credit for 90 days on transactions $5 million and above. The premium is $100 for each loan policy under these circumstances.

Construction Credit Expansion in R-20 – An extension of the credit for developers of large construction projects from one year to two years with a simultaneous issue rate for the loan policy.

These new rates will go into effect on all transactions that close (the date the papers are signed) starting on September 1, 2019.

Read the Order and View the Amendments

These changes are outlined in TDI’s adoption order. The revised rate chart and amended rules can be found in the following exhibits:

  • Exhibit A – Basic Premium Rates; Calculation for Policies in Excess of $100,000 with Examples
  • Exhibit B – (R-5) Simultaneous Issuance of Owner’s and Loan Policies
  • Exhibit C – (R-8) Loan Policy on a Loan to Take Up, Renew, Extend, or Satisfy an Existing Lien(s)
  • Exhibit D – (R-20) Owner’s Policy After Construction Period

Republic Title Online Resources

Please visit our website for additional online resources including:

As always, please feel free to contact your escrow officer if you have any questions about the new rates.  If you would like printed rate cards or need help using our online calculator, please contact one of business development representatives.

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