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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources July 19, 2011

Star Awards deadline extended until Friday
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The 2011 Star Awards final deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 22 — but don't wait until the last minute. Look at all the exposure you could be getting! Check out last year's Star Awards winners on YouTube. Remember that winners are also featured in Texas Builder magazine and showcased on the Star Awards Winners' wall on display during the Sunbelt Builders Show™ October 20-22, 2011 at the Austin Convention Center. For more information or to begin your entry, click here. More

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NAHB applauds EPA rejection of renovation clearance testing requirements
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The National Association of Home Builders commends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for rejecting a proposal to add third-party clearance testing to the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. "We're pleased that the EPA listened to the concerns of remodelers about the extreme costs the proposed clearance testing would have imposed," said Bob Peterson, NAHB Remodelers chair and a remodeler from Fort Collins, Colo. "Home owners are saved from spending a great deal of money on lead testing. If remodeling is more affordable, home owners will be able to hire an EPA-certified renovator to keep them safe from lead dust hazards during renovation." More

Q&A: He's rebuilding windstorm insurer
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
John Polak, interim general manager of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, was hired earlier this year by the insurer's board amid a fraud investigation by the Travis County district attorney's office. The Texas Department of Insurance is overseeing TWIA, the wind insurer of last resort for Texans in hurricane-prone coastal areas that was also sued by thousands of policyholders after Hurricane Ike. Polak, most recently vice president of National Interstate Insurance Co. in Ohio, is charged with rebuilding the insurer. More

Buffett predicts job growth when housing rebounds
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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the nation's employment picture will improve significantly once residential housing construction rebounds. Buffett spoke to Bloomberg Television as the Labor Department released a weaker-than-expected monthly jobs report. He said the report shows the economy is still a long way off from where it should be, but Buffett remains optimistic about the recovery and sees no danger of a second recession. More

Builders push green to stand out in foreclosure-filled market
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In the 20 years Ron Betenbough's company has been building homes in west Texas, he's always been willing to compete on price. Now, in a market crowded with cheap properties, he's also touting environmentally friendly construction and energy-saving features. Betenbough Homes has been promoting all its houses as "green" since November, after winning certification under an industry-run program, Betenbough said in a telephone interview. The company didn't raise prices, absorbing added costs of less than $500 on each of its units, which list for as low as $110,000 in some subdivisions. More

Some legislators took vacations while others worked
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
While some members of the Texas House went full throttle during last month's special session, working on issues such as education, redistricting and insurance, others embarked on cruises and idled in various vacation spots. Now, more than two weeks after the end of the special session, some members still are wary of saying exactly where they were. More

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Donors to meet about White House race for Rick Perry
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About four dozen donors and elite fundraisers are meeting in Austin today to determine if they can help bankroll a presidential campaign for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The donor meeting, reported by the Austin American-Statesman and other Texas news outlets, is just one of several signs that Perry could be joining the field of GOP presidential candidates. More

Home building spikes in June after dismal spring
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Builders broke ground on more single-family homes and apartments in June, as the home building industry tried to shake off a historically bad spring. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 629,000 homes last month, a 14.6 percent increase from May. Still, that's roughly half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists say must be built to sustain a healthy housing market. More

Texas still second in mortgage closing costs
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas has the nation's second-highest mortgage closing costs, which include fees charged by lenders, appraisers, title companies and other parties involved when a home changes hands, according to a new survey. According to Bankrate, a respected financial information website, Texas homeowners last year paid an average of $4,944 to close the sale of a $240,000 residence with a $200,000 mortgage. That compared to a U.S. average of $4,070. More

Rick Perry says federal border security effort is 'grossly inadequate'
Houston Chronicle Texas Politics Blog    Share    Share on
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Gov. Rick Perry, who is nearing a decision on a potential 2012 presidential run, threw in a familiar jab at federal border security efforts under President Obama during remarks to a Texas Municipal Police Association conference. More

Making green roofs even greener    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Researchers Kasun Hewage and Fabricio Bianchini are taking a good idea and making it better, perhaps spawning a new construction technology for use in arid countries worldwide. Hewage, an assistant professor of project and construction management in the School of Engineering at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus, and his Master of Applied Science student Bianchini have been looking at ways to make green roofs even more environmentally friendly by using construction waste. More

Some homeowners to get more money for their Ike claims
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Some homeowners insured by the state's two insurers of last resort will soon receive additional payments for their Hurricane Ike claims. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and Texas Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan, which sell coverage to those who can't find it in the private market, agreed to settle cases brought by state regulators over delayed payments and disputes over damaged roofs and other claims after Hurricane Ike in 2008. The companies settled without admitting any violations of state regulations. More
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