Andy Beal, amateur mathematician, noted high-stakes poker player, failed space entrepreneur and Dallas' richest human, made a big splash in January when he bought Tom Hicks' former estate — listed for $100 million, the highest price for a single home in Texas history — in Preston Hollow. He wasn't done shopping.
Last week, as first reported by Dallas real-estate blogger Candy Evans, Beal bought the most expensive home for sale in Dallas County for the second time in three months, laying out for the former Margaret Crow estate on Preston Road in Highland Park, which had been listed for $46 million. Both properties are officially owned by trusts connected to Beal, according to Dallas Central Appraisal District records. Evans says that the properties' DCAD records reveal something else, too. Beal likely made his big splashes, she says, because he got a couple of good deals.
Based on appraisal numbers on DCAD's website, Evans guesses that Beal may have paid as little as $50 million for the Hicks home, which was initially listed for $136 million. Because of the property's 25-acre size and the potential that Beal could carve it up and turn it into multiple lots, it's like he got two homes for the price of one, Evans says.
"The Hicks estate came down hugely in price, and then he obviously negotiated a very good price on the Crow estate which is just a primo piece of property. He's now got two of the best pieces of property in the whole of North Texas. It was a good deal, and he's got the money," Evans says.
Beal's purchases reflect a larger reality about Dallas real estate that can be disheartening for those who don't have $50 million to spend. Deals can be found at the extreme high end of the market, among the $3 million-plus properties that Evans describes as "whales, " but finding suitable housing at even the high end of the normal-people market is much more difficult.
"They're hard to move because there are fewer buyers for them," Evans says of the high-end homes. "On the other hand, I know people out there trying to buy $400,000 or $500,000 homes that can't find them or are getting in bidding wars," Evans says. "There's a dearth of property at that price level and below, and that's where most normal people want to be."