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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Feb. 9, 2012

$26 billion bank foreclosure fraud settlement to be announced
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State and federal officials will announce a landmark settlement with five of the nation's banks over their flawed and fraudulent foreclosure practices. The $26 billion deal, which officially will be unveiled at a Department of Justice news conference, aims to help troubled borrowers by reducing the amount they owe on their mortgages, lowering their interest rates and paying restitution to homeowners who suffered mortgage-related abuses. More

Texas property values on the rise
The Associated Press via    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas property values increased 1.3 percent statewide last year, the comptroller's office says, in another sign the economy is getting stronger. The assessed value of all residential and commercial property across the state increased to $1.69 trillion in 2011, compared to the previous year's $1.67 trillion. In 2010, Texas suffered the first decline in statewide property values in 17 years, and state budget writers had anticipated another 1 percent decrease last year — but 2011 was more positive than expected. More

Construction employment hits 2-year high in January but industry 17.7 percent unemployment rate remains double overall rate
The Journal of Commerce    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The construction industry added 21,000 jobs in January, as a second consecutive month of unseasonably mild winter weather helped the industry raise employment to a two-year high, according to an analysis of new federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the gains remain fragile amid declining public sector investments in construction and infrastructure. More

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Texas Green Home Summit will focus on water conservation April 18
TAB and Texas Green Home Summit    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas's premier green building event continues to grow along with the ever-increasing demand for resource-efficient homes. The Texas Green Home Summit will once again offer relevant and practical solutions from leading national and regional experts.

This year's summit will put a special emphasis on water efficiency and policy issues related to the state's ongoing drought. Several seminars will focus on new technologies and practices that could come into their own if water becomes more scarce and therefore more valuable.

Exhibitors will be in the middle of the action thanks to the new venue (The Plano Centre) and an entire educational track dedicated to on site demonstrations on the show floor.

Register early for only $65 at Exhibitor and partnership information can also be found online.

Appraisers following suit over power-line easement valuation
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A suit challenging the Gillespie Central Appraisal District's valuation of a new electrical line through the Hill Country holds tax implications for other power corridors statewide. Plaintiff Horse Hollow Generation Tie LLC , a Florida power company subsidiary, is fighting the $14.3 million taxable value that the district put on easements in Gillespie County that the firm obtained for the 345-kilovolt line that went into service in late 2009. More

MLAW Consultants & Engineers

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DFW among few labor markets to add jobs since 2006
Dallas Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Dallas-Fort Worth is one of 13 of the nation's top 100 labor markets that have bounced back during the recession, having regained all of the jobs that were lost in the five years following 2006. That's according to an analysis of preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by On Numbers, a feature of American City Business Journals, the parent company of the Dallas Business Journal. More

Texas' electric power under scrutiny
Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last summer's record heat pushed the Texas power grid to the brink. Many of us sat comfortably in our air conditioning without realizing we were on the edge of rolling blackouts. Today, a state House committee will look into what's being done to prevent that from happening again. More

Obama administration releases January housing scorecard
Department of Housing and Urban Development    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have released the January edition of the Obama Administration's Housing Scorecard — a comprehensive report on the nation's housing market. Data in the January Housing Scorecard underscore fragility as the overall outlook remains mixed. Inventories of existing homes for sale and the overhang of homes held off market improved over the last two quarters and foreclosure starts continued to fall in December. However, data on new home sales and home prices offered mixed signals, while foreclosure completions ticked upward. More

BP said to seek settlement of spill claims
FuelFix    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
BP Plc. is negotiating with U.S. officials to settle pollution claims over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that may leave the company liable for as much as $17.6 billion in fines, a person familiar with the talks said. The government cited the energy company with violations of the federal Clean Water Act for the offshore spill, the biggest in U.S. history. Officials are seeking fines of as much as $4,300 for each of the 4.1 million barrels spilled after the explosion of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig. More

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Travis County looks to buy housing authority building
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Travis County commissioners are weighing an offer to buy an office building from the Housing Authority of Travis County, a move that the housing authority says could generate money for affordable housing. County Judge Sam Biscoe said Travis County currently leases about 12,000 square feet of space at the roughly 20,000-square-foot building at 502 E. Highland Mall Blvd., near Highland Mall. The Housing Authority, an independent, government-funded agency that provides access to low-income housing, occupies the remainder of the space. More

A big step forward for the housing market
Motley Fool    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For years, the housing market has been locked in a deep freeze, as a combination of underwater mortgages, reluctant lenders, and a lack of political will have kept a huge mass of homes off the market and in limbo. But as banks are finally coming to the conclusion that it makes more sense to accept smaller losses now to move forward, rather than clinging to the fading hope that they'll somehow recover more in the future, housing could finally get the catalyst it needs to recover. More

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Texas sales tax revenue up nearly 10 percent
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says state sales tax revenue for January was up almost 10 percent over last year. Combs reports 22 consecutive months of increased revenue. Wednesday's sales tax report showed revenue for January at $2 billion, and Combs says tax revenues continue to grow in all major categories. The January increase was led by the oil and natural gas sectors. Restaurants and services sectors also showed increases. More

Fannie Mae: Outlook for home prices rises again
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The consumer outlook for U.S. home prices improved again in January, extending a recent upward trend in housing market sentiment, according to mortgage market firm Fannie Mae. For its monthly reading, Fannie Mae said respondents in its January survey predicted home prices will rise by 1 percent over the next year, up from the 0.8 percent gain forecast in December. More

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Sierra Club files lawsuit to delay Trans Mountain road project
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An environmental group has hauled the state and federal governments into court, alleging they haven't followed their own environmental rules as they've fast-tracked the expansion of Trans Mountain Road. The Sierra Club filed suit in federal court in Austin. It's arguing that state highway officials used the threat that the project might lose funding to rush it to approval. More

Greenest in America: Man receives -28 on energy scale
KYTX-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Green homes are becoming all the rage with builders and home buyers alike and for good reason. The greener the house — the more green you can save. Recycled products, tight construction and solar powered homes are gadgets that are no longer things of the future. Rudy Wright's home in Smith County seems to have everything. Even obscure, recycled material made into counters and floors. "I can go in and control my home automation system," he said. A home he said is the greenest in America. More
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