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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Jun. 26, 2012

Housing market recovery on track, despite bumps
MSNBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A backward baby step in home sales last month is little more than a momentary bobble amid what appears to be an otherwise mending U.S. housing market, many industry analysts and some Realtors agree. While purchases of previously owned homes slipped by 1.5 percent last month as compared to April, many experts brushed off the decrease by pointing to a vastly limited stock of available listings — especially a dearth of more-upscale houses in nicer neighborhoods. What's more, that lack of inventory seems to be helping shove values higher; the national median home price was up nearly 8 percent in May when compared to the same month last year. More

New home sales reach 2-year high as US rates fall
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Demand for new U.S. homes rose more than forecast in May as mortgage rates dropped, bolstering the residential real estate market while other parts of the world's largest economy cool. Purchases climbed to a 369,000 annual rate, the most since April 2010 and up 7.6 percent from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 67 economists was 347,000. More

Austin No. 1 in U.S. for newest housing stock
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Austin is No. 1 for having the newest housing stock in the nation. As of 2010, the Austin area had 708,643 housing units — defined as all dwellings, including houses, condominiums and apartments. A total of 106,069 were built no earlier than seven years ago, a number nearly identical to the number of currently existing homes in Austin that were built prior to 1970: 105,469. More

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New home sales rise 7.6 percent in May
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 units in May, according to newly released data from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. "The relatively strong increase in new home sales this May is an indication that more potential home buyers are being drawn to the market by today's excellent mortgage rates as well as firming conditions in some local economies," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. More

Analysis: Obama's election-year housing push shows a pulse
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama's election-year "to do" list for Congress appears likely to largely fall victim to partisan sniping, but one element — mortgage relief — is showing a pulse. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have both expressed interest in a bill that could make it easier for millions of Americans to refinance home loans, although they are circling each other warily as they try to determine their first steps. More

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High court's ruling on immigration not likely to have immediate effect on Texas
Austin American-Statesman Postcards Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Arizona's immigration law isn't expected to have an immediate effect on Texas. State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, who has put forth numerous bills targeting illegal immigration, is waiting to see what effect the ruling will have on the future of immigration-related bills in the Legislature. Scott Riling, Riddle's chief of staff, said he and Riddle have not heard any discussion around the Capitol about whether the ruling will have any kind of chilling effect. More

Changes are on the horizon for federal policy on green building
Daily Journal of Commerce    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On May 8, the House of Representatives' Science, Space and Technology Committee's subcommittee on investigations and oversight held a hearing titled "The Science Behind Green Building Rating Systems." The subcommittee heard testimony from a number of organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council, the Green Building Initiative and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. More

Life by the drop: Drought, water and the future of Texas
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
AudioBriefDrought may be a part of life in Texas, but last year's crisis left an indelible mark on the state and raised tough questions about its future. In a special report on the 2011 drought, KUT News, StateImpact Texas and Texas Monthly examine how the state will manage a growing population amid a shrinking water supply. More

Lady Bird Lake boardwalk contract up for approval; construction could start in August
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With shovels finally ready, the Austin City Council will consider a $21.7 million contract for the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk project this week. And an associated measure would reallocate $5.8 million to the project to cover the higher-than-expected construction cost — the city had estimated $17.4 million when Austin voters approved money for the project in a 2010 bond election, $4.3 million less than the lowest bid — as well as another $1.5 million for ongoing city costs associated with the project. That $5.8 million will come from money, also approved as part of the 2010 bond election, intended to reconstruct West Third Street downtown, but the city said it can replace that with unspent transportation bonds approved by voters in 2000. More

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Prices rise as Houston housing market sizzles
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An explosion of home sales last month helped drive up housing prices in the Houston area and push down inventory to a five-year low, a new report shows. For the past 12 months, real estate sales have been up on a year-over-year basis, as consumers feel better about the local economy and secure enough in their jobs to enter the property market. Low mortgage rates, too, have helped undecided Houstonians get off the fence about becoming homeowners. More

Texas program races to save historic courthouses    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Visitors climbing the stairs to Barbara Shaw's third-floor office at her South Texas courthouse would spot the gaping cracks in the 19th century brick walls and ask whether the place was safe. Shaw couldn't offer them much reassurance. "I mean, what do you say? Everybody that walked in there, when they leave, what do they remember? That rickety courthouse," said the Karnes County judge, who set up shop last year in a new location where she chairs the county commission. "It was scary to walk around there." More


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OSHA warns outdoor workers to stay cool
KXAN-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The US department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration has launched a nationwide summer campaign to protect people who work outside. The "Water. Rest. Shade." campaign hopes to prevent heat related illness for workers. Nationally about 40 workers died on the job each year due to heat related illness according to Casey Perkins, director for OSHA in Austin. More

Texas builder must pay millions to fund more accessibility
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Justice Department has settled a $10.5 million disability claims lawsuit against an Irving-based construction company and six affiliated companies. The agreement requires JPI Constructions to pay a $250,000 civil penalty in addition to $10.25 million into an accessibility fund to provide retrofits at properties it built and to increase the stock of accessible housing in the communities where those properties are located. More

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Businessman: Cheaper to recycle than throw away old shingles
The Brownsville Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two hailstorms this spring affected more than 150,000 Rio Grande Valley homes, according to HailWATCH data cited in a McAllen Valley Roofing news release. That means a lot of insurance claims for a lot of new roofs — and plenty of old roofing to be disposed of. "On average, a house in the Valley can have about 3 tons of shingles — 150,000 shingles that need to be thrown away," said Brian McSteen, manager of McAllen Valley Roofing. "We need a place where we can properly dispose of the old shingles to prevent so much waste. The solution is to recycle the shingles." More

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San Antonio plan with tolls on expanded 1604, 281 approved
San Antonio Express-News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The region's transportation planning organization approved a proposal to expand Loop 1604 and U.S. 281 with a mix of nontoll and toll lanes, but only after Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson threatened to approve just a part of the proposition and table the rest. Texas Department of Transportation officials said such a move could have jeopardized millions in state dollars for the projects. More
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