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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Jan. 31, 2012

Rethinking water: Growing population, limited supply mean costs destined to rise, experts say
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Is water too cheap? Perhaps the most obvious indication that it is, said Michael Webber, a University of Texas professor who heads a research group focused on water and energy, is how freely we use it. "A hundred years from now, your grandkids would ask you, 'You sprayed what on your lawn? That's crazy,'" Webber said. Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource — clean drinking water — on the ground, Webber said. More

Settlement talks on maps halted
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Settlement talks aimed at creating interim maps for an April 3 primary seem to have stalled, but whether they've hit an impasse or are on hold depends on who you talk to — and hints at tension among the Democratic and minority groups aligned against the state. Luis Vera, representing the League of United Latin American Citizens, said talks "broke down" between the Texas attorney general's office and plaintiffs groups Sunday. More

Obama Administration expands foreclosure relief program
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Struggling homeowners are set to get more help from the federal government as the Obama Administration extends its key foreclosure prevention plan for a year. The administration will also add the number of people eligible for the program to include investors and will increase incentives for large banks to modify more troubled mortgages. More

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Contracts to purchase existing US homes hold near 19-month high
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes in December held near a 19-month high, showing the stabilization in the market that began in late 2011 will extend into the new year. The index of pending home sales decreased 3.5 percent last month after jumping a combined 18 percent in October and November, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. It was the best back-to-back reading since a buyer tax credit boosted demand in early 2010. More

Houston dominates master-planned community home sales list
Houston Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Woodlands and Cinco Ranch were two of the top five selling master-planned communities in the U.S. in 2011, according to data released Jan. 24 by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC. More

MLAW Consultants & Engineers

Engineering for Texas builders since 1964, MLAW provides soils reports, foundation designs, framing plans, wind storm plans, forensic engineering and inspections.

How the payroll tax cut extension will affect mortgage rates and fees
The Daily Facts    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As most are aware by now, after a lot of head-banging, rhetoric and posturing, Congress passed, and the president signed, a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut just before Christmas. This extension takes a cut that had been implemented in the Bush administration and extended it for all of two months into 2012 — until the end of February. More

Freddie Mac bets against struggling homeowners
NPR via The Seattle Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-owned mortgage giant, has placed multibillion-dollar bets that pay off if homeowners stay trapped in expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates. The trades give Freddie a powerful incentive to do the opposite of its charter — to make home loans more accessible — highlighting a conflict of interest at the heart of the company. More

White River Hardwoods-Woodworks Inc.

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Travis to consider water-use rules for development
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Travis County commissioners might vote today on a controversial set of rules as a moratorium on development in the western part of the county is scheduled to expire. The county has been working on the rules since the moratorium on projects using groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer began in October 2010. The moratorium was extended in September when a more stringent set of rules was proposed than those set to be considered by the Commissioners Court today. More

Study: US housing market 'still a rocky road'
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
VideoBriefKarl Case, co-creator of the S&P/Case-Shiller Index of property values, talks about U.S. home prices and outlook for the housing market. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities declined 3.7 percent from November 2010 after decreasing 3.4 percent in the year ended in October. Here, Case speaks with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt on Bloomberg Radio. More

RoyOMartin offers extended-length OSB panels for roof and sidewall applications.

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Cypress community starts tree farm
Cypress Creek Mirror    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Bridgeland is planting more than 250,000 tree seedlings on a 1,300-acre parcel of undeveloped land as part of an ongoing tree farm operation. Eventually, nearly 700,000 trees will be planted. The project began in 2006 and during the ensuing five years, more than 80,000 trees were planted on 507 acres. In 2013, the project will finish with its biggest effort — more than 350,000 trees planted on an additional 1,300 acres. More

Three recession home remodeling trends likely to stick around
U.S. News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A soft economy prompted some homeowners to take a new look at their existing footprint. Even as housing market conditions turn a little brighter, many homeowners still opt to stay put and update their current quarters instead of selling at lower prices. The numbers prove it. Remodeling industry sentiment, as tracked by the National Association of Home Builders' Remodeling Market Index, hit a 5-year high in the fourth quarter. More
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