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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Jun. 12, 2012


Register for the Sunbelt Builders Show for free
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Sunbelt Builders Show™ registration is free for a limited time. Sign up now and the $50 registration fee is waived. The Texas Association of Builders annual convention will be held Sept. 13-15, 2012 at the Austin Convention Center. Known for its expansive trade show, thought-provoking speakers, and stellar networking opportunities, the convention is the premier event for residential construction professionals in the Southwest. More



Wildfire information: HUD grant
Texas General Land Office    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The State of Texas has been allocated $31,319,686 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD) as disaster recovery assistance for wildfires that occurred between Aug. 30, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011. Governor Perry has designated the Texas General Land Office as the administrator of these funds. HUD has issued federal guidelines on how the state can expend these funds. The state has drafted an action plan, and must now receive HUD's approval (estimated to occur around August 2012). More

Bipartisan lead paint bill would ease regulatory burdens without compromising safety
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Responding to concerns from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and affiliated trade groups, Reps. John Sullivan, R-Okla., Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and a bipartisan list of original co-sponsors today introduced legislation to make much-needed improvements to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead: Repair, Renovation and Painting (LRRP) rule. More

2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

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Austin: Newest figures for new home sales suggest market climb losing steam
Builder    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the Austin market in March, sales of new homes rose year-over-year, but the percentage rise was less than February 2012, suggesting the market may be leveling. Sales rose 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 566. This came after a 4.9 percent rise year-over-year in February. A total of 6,282 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in March, up from 6,257 for the year that ended in February. More

Household net worth in US increases by most since 2004
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Household wealth in the U.S. climbed in the first quarter by the most in seven years, bolstered by a jump in stock prices and more stable home values. Net worth for households and non-profit groups increased by $2.83 trillion from January through March, the biggest gain since the last three months of 2004, to $62.9 trillion, the Federal Reserve said in its flow of funds report from Washington. More

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Mayor, council to revisit refunds to developers for water, sewer
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and several City Council members said they will begin looking into whether taxpayers have reaped sufficient benefit from millions of dollars in reimbursements developers have received to install water and sewer improvements on their properties. The action came the same day the American-Statesman and KVUE News jointly reported that the city had spent more than $6 million to install water and sewer facilities on the site of a failed development in Northeast Austin that is now the focus of several lawsuits. More

Builders stress importance of multifamily housing finance programs
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The National Association of Home Builders told Congress that the Obama Administration's fiscal 2013 budget proposal to increase multifamily mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs) would be counterproductive. Testifying before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, Bob Nielsen, the immediate past chairman of NAHB and a multifamily home builder from Reno, Nev., said that the need to raise the MIPs in order to reduce defaults has not been demonstrated and that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has failed to provide an analysis on how the proposed higher MIPs would affect borrowers, lenders or renters who live in properties insured under the programs. More



433 acres added to Balcones National Wildlife Reserve
The Trust for Public Land    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Trust for Public Land has added over 433 acres to crucial nesting habitat land for two endangered songbirds — the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler. Both species have been endangered for years primarily because of the loss of their central Texas habitat to residential and commercial development. The land will be protected as part of the 46,000-acre Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, located 30 miles northwest of Austin. More

Ruidoso blaze slows; containment at 30 percent
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Little Bear Fire grew by about 1,500 acres to a total of about 38,000 acres. The greatly reduced expansion, down from its explosion of about 10,000 acres per day over the weekend, was attributed to a break in the weather, said Carl Schwope, an official with the U.S. Forest Service, at a public meeting at Ruidoso High School. More

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Port of Houston Authority commissioners urge open minds on dredging
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Port of Houston Authority commissioners addressed the pushback the authority is receiving from residents and sailing and community groups over its proposal to create a marsh in upper Galveston Bay from the clay, sand and silt dredged from one of its ship channels. The disposal option is one of two the authority included in a permit application under consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers to dispose of dredge material sucked up as part of a project to deepen, widen and maintain the 3.5-mile-long channel leading to the Bayport Container Terminal. More

US attorney asks FBI to evaluate builder certifications
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An assistant U.S. attorney in San Antonio has asked the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to evaluate complaints from some residents of two neighborhoods that their builders "defrauded federal agencies," according to a letter obtained by the Express-News. Residents of Stablewood Farms on the West Side say no one ever told them that their new homes were built on top of an old sewage treatment plant. Their builder purchased the lots from a developer more than a decade after the plant closed under the state's oversight. More

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Texas Comptroller reminds businesses of upcoming tax amnesty period
Window on State Government    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is reminding businesses they can soon begin clearing up their tax records without penalty and interest when the state's Fresh Start tax amnesty period begins June 12. The tax amnesty covers taxes and fees that were originally due before April 1, 2012. Businesses can file missing tax reports and pay the overdue taxes, or amend and pay previous reports in which they had incorrectly stated a lower amount than was due. The amnesty does not apply to underpaid tax returns (tax that was reported but not paid) or filing periods that businesses have in audit. More

Fed's Evans says low rates should have created refinancing boom
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said the Fed policy of holding interest rates close to zero should have prompted a boom in mortgage refinancing in a "moribund" U.S. housing market. “"ccommodative monetary policy is healthy, yet there are a lot of challenges," Evans said in a speech in Chicago. "The housing market looks relatively moribund," and "we should have seen an enormous refinancing wave" from low interest rates. More



TCEQ to hold drought planning workshop
The Brownsville Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a drought emergency planning workshop for water system operators in South Texas this week. Although there is no charge, registration is encouraged because of limited seating. More

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On water conservation, Texas has room to improve
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last week, on a quiet residential street in north-central Austin, a crew in hard hats and yellow safety vests worked to dig up a water pipe that had been laid in 1951. The pipe was prone to leaking, and the Austin Water Utility had decided to replace a long stretch of it as part of a five-year, $125 million push to replace leaking pipes. "Instead of continuing the Band-Aids, we just do the whole line," said Jason Hill, an Austin Water Utility spokesman. More

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International home shoppers attracted to US
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Foreign buyers hunting for safe investments are flocking to the U.S. housing market, attracted by low prices, according to a report. International clients accounted for $82.5 billion worth of sales for the 12 months that ended in March, according to the survey by the National Assn. of Realtors. That compares with $66.4 billion over the period a year earlier. More
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