TAB News Briefs
Feb. 21, 2013

Tickets still available for the HOMEPAC fundraiser tonight
Make plans to attend the HOMEPAC Game Night on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. Buffalo Billiards is directly across the street from the Driskill Hotel and offers a true Austin experience with live music, sports TV, pool, darts, food and beverages. Kick off your evening on 6th Street with us. Tickets are still available for purchase at the TAB registration desk on the Mezzanine level of the Driskill Hotel until 5 p.m. All proceeds will directly benefit HOMEPAC.More

Education, Medicaid, water and transportation issues flood Capitol
Despite periodic drizzle, the Capitol grounds were flooded by advocates. Each voiced concerns over issues of importance to be taken up by the 83rd Texas Legislature. "I think the drought has magnified the needs of the water challenges facing our state moving forward," said Scott Norman with the Texas Association of Builders. While transportation issues and funding the state water plan are top concerns for builders, Norman says they're issues of critical importance to all Texans. "As we are trying to meet the housing needs of Texas moving forward, as our population continues to grow, as our economy continues to grow, water will be vital."More

Putting together a transportation plan, building permits on hold
KUT News
A backlog of building permits at City Hall has Austin homebuilders upset. Kathey Comer is with the Home Builders Association. She says, as of last week, there were 475 permits waiting for action. Those are permits to build a new home or remodel an existing one.More

New Houston-area theme park under development
Houston Chronicle
Developers hope an empty, heavily wooded plot of land in New Caney will transform into a thriving entertainment district by 2015 — complete with a theme park, water park and a new dining and music scene and more elaborate attractions. Construction will begin on the Grand Texas Theme Park in October to be ready for a grand opening in March 2015 if all goes according to plan, said Monty Galland, a pre-development manager for the project.More

District judge approves El Paso plans for downtown baseball stadium
El Paso Times
A district court judge has allowed the city of El Paso to charge ahead with plans to build a minor league baseball stadium. Travis County District Court Judge Tim Sulak ruled that the city of El Paso can issue bonds to finance construction of a $50 million baseball stadium that was approved by voters last year.More

Solar systems could be offered as standard in new Texas homes
House builders in Texas will be obliged to offer customers the option of installing a solar system in new build homes under proposed legislation. Two bills, SB 304 and SB 305, were filed earlier this month by Senator José Rodriguez and are designed to promote the uptake of solar energy in the state. Under the SB 304 bill, homebuilders in Texas would be obliged to offer home buyers the option to install a solar energy system in their homes for "heating or cooling or for the production of power." However, home buyers are not obliged to say yes.More

Cline Shale: Unconventional housing solutions needed for unconventional region
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Increased housing demands because of the oil boom from squeezing the Cline Shale have Scurry County officials taking unconventional action. In November, the Scurry County Commission approved the use of 126 acres of county-owned land for the Maverick West Residential Development. That move made Scurry County the first to subdivide and develop county land for houses. "This is one way the county can get ahead of what is coming," said Scurry County Judge Ricky Fritz. "We are happy that we can be involved and do something to get things moving in a positive direction, rather than sitting back and letting someone else take the lead."More

Mayors back Texas water bill
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Midland Mayor Wes Perry told lawmakers that until recently, his city never worried about water. He explained that until recently, his booming oil town had plenty of water. "Obviously, a few years ago that changed," Perry said. Drought and population increases have hit Midland hard. San Angelo Mayor Alvin New and Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald flanked Perry, together forming one of several panels on House Bill 4 in a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday. They supported the bill.More

San Antonio home sales are up nearly 24 percent over last year
San Antonio Express-News
The San Antonio housing market is off to a roaring start, with the number of homes sold in January jumping nearly 24 percent over the same month in 2012. Last month saw 1,249 housing sales, up from 1,008, according to data from the San Antonio Board of Realtors. That showing continues a string of solid gains. January's figures also mark a 35.5 percent jump from the same period in 2011, when there were 922 home sales.More

Study: US-European Union trade pact could add billions to Texas economy
Austin American-Statesman
Texas exported more than $29 billion of goods and services to the European Union last year, but an economic projection released Wednesday suggests that figure could shoot significantly higher if U.S. and EU officials can hammer out a long-sought free-trade agreement. If negotiators reach a pact to eliminate tariffs between the United States and the 27 EU member countries, Texas would stand to gain at least $9.1 billion in annual business activity by 2020, according to the report by the Perryman Group, a Waco-based economic consulting firm.More

Dallas area sees huge falloff in home foreclosures as market turns the corner
The Dallas Morning News
The number of homes posted for foreclosure has fallen to fewer than 2,000 for March. North Texas home foreclosures are down more than 50 percent from a year ago, a dramatic turnaround in the number of distressed houses in the area. Fewer than 2,000 Dallas-Fort Worth homes are threatened with forced sale by lenders next month, says Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service. (Registration may be required to view full article.)More

Homebuilder confidence dips
The Associated Press via FOX 34 News
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders slipped this month from the six-and-a-half year high it reached in January. Many builders reported less traffic by prospective customers before the critical spring home-buying season. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index fell one point to 46 from 47 in January. It was the first monthly decline in the index since April.More