Mike Copeland: Investment fund certified; Building permit roundup; Waco home price climb

Mom-and-pop businesses, some struggling to qualify for bank loans, now have an even stronger ally in the McLennan Community Investment Fund.

Already providing financial assistance totaling $325,000, mostly through loans averaging $8,500, the fund has received certification from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It becomes eligible to receive grants up to $1 million, though its first likely will fall between $600,000 and $700,000, Executive Director Jane Allen said in an interview.

“In turn, McCIF will lend those funds to small business owners … for their businesses’ growth and further development,” according to a press release. “Some funds will also go toward providing financial education to small business owners.”

Allen said the fund was created to serve Waco, Robinson, Bellmead, Lacy Lakeview and Beverly Hills. Board members include Waco insurance executive Tom Chase, Waco City Council Member Andrea Barefield, Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Alfred Solano and Jocelyn Williams, coordinator of the Cen-Tex African American Chamber of Commerce’s Center of Business Excellence.

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The fund so far has received $310,000 combined from the city of Waco and McLennan County, and about $75,000 in private donations, Allen said. Its designation by the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution qualifies it for significantly more federal money.

Allen said loans locally are available at 6% to 9% interest for help acquiring equipment, vehicles or real estate.

Building permit roundup

Development along Lake Brazos near Interstate 35 continues, with Catalyst Urban Development following through on announced plans to build a parking garage. It has secured a permit valued at $6.5 million to place a 491-vehicle precast concrete garage at 520 S. University Parks Drive, according to a newsletter from the local Associated General Contractors of America office.

Another permit valued at $750,000 will allow alterations to the former McAlister’s Deli space at 812 S. Sixth St. to CAVA Mediterranean Grill. Another, for $700,000, was issued to replace a chiller in the office building at 801 Washington Ave. A permit to remodel an office suite at 925 Columbus Ave. does not include an estimated cost, according to the Associated General Contractors of America newsletter.

Home price climb

Home values as determined by the McLennan County Appraisal District and home prices as determined by the law of supply and demand continue to surge locally for varied reasons. But TexasRealEstateSource.com put the trend in focus by comparing price increases in ZIP codes statewide.

Waco’s 76701 ZIP code ranked 23rd on the list, its average home price rising from $106,297 in 2016 to $270,355 this year. That is a 154% increase over seven years, tying Houston’s 77026 ZIP code, where the average price increased from $57,627 to $146,153, according to the breakdown.

The 76701 ZIP code includes an area roughly bounded by the Brazos River, Jackson Avenue, Waco Drive and 25th Street.

Waco’s ZIP code 76707 ranked 30th on the list, the average home increasing in sales price from $59,671 to $146,974 over seven years, a 146% increase. That ZIP code is found in North Waco, home to the Sanger Heights neighborhood. The river, Waco Drive, Cumberland Avenue and New Road serve as rough boundaries.

“By analyzing data completeness of each month, it was deemed that February 2016 had the most complete data whilst being far enough back to provide an insight as to how house prices have changed over time,” a methodology explainer says.

Median house prices came from Zillow.

Eight of the 10 top Texas ZIP codes for increased home prices are in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the percentages ranging from 228% to 189%. Topping the list is Round Top, a tiny community in Fayette County, where the average home price skyrocketed to $1.05 million from $301,003 seven years earlier, a 251% increase. Second is ZIP code 78203 in San Antonio, which saw a 235% jump over seven years, from $55,288 to $185,505.

The list assigns ranks to 100 ZIP codes experiencing the largest increase in average sales price. The last four making the list are ZIP codes in Dallas, Whitney, Bells and Bartlett, all tied at a 122% increase.

Across Texas, the average house price has risen by 74% from 2016 to 2023, with only one ZIP code, 78332, experiencing a slight depreciation in average home price, about 1%, according to a summary accompanying the report. The 78332 ZIP code includes properties in Alice, Palito Blanco and Ben Bolt.

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