TAB News Briefs
May. 27, 2014

Vote today — Cast your ballot in runoff elections
It's time for you to cast your vote in today's Republican and Democratic primary runoff election. The following is a list of primary candidates supported by HOMEPAC, the registered, non-partisan, political action committee of the Texas Association of Builders, in the 2014 Primary Runoff Elections.More

Census: Texas boom times spur fast-growing cities, jobs, housing
Los Angeles Times
Leading the nation in job growth in 2013, Texas likewise added more houses than any other state and is host to seven of the 15 fastest-growing cities in the country, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. The Texas growth has been fueled by expansions in nearly every industry, including technology companies in Austin, financial firms in Dallas and oil drilling operations in the outskirts.More

Texas town bans pool construction
No construction of new swimming pools will be allowed in Lakeway, Texas as long as the drought exists, the city. The move is in conjunction with an emergency order issued on Monday pertaining to landscape installation requirements.More

Where have all the first time home buyers gone?
For about six months, Kevin Erspamer has been looking to buy his first home, in Brooklyn. "We've looked at 30 places at least," he says. His verdict? "We're holding off for now." Him and would-be first-time homeowners across the country. More

The Woodlands to get new custom-home community
Houston Business Journal
A new custom-home community in The Woodlands will help fill the demand for high-end homes. The Woodlands Development Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Howard Hughes Corp. has begun construction on The Woodlands Reserve, a 55-lot, gated, custom luxury community in The Woodlands. The streets have been completed and six homes are slated to be finished by the end of the year. Houston-based Frankel Building Group, which specializes in building LEED-certified homes, is the exclusive homebuilder.More

One of the country's largest homebuilders is working on a project near downtown Dallas
The Dallas Morning News
One of the country's largest homebuilders wants to build a housing community just blocks from downtown Dallas. Houston-based David Weekley Homes plans to build more than two dozen high-density houses on a vacant almost one acre tract at Live Oak and Oak Street, just east of downtown Dallas.More

Dallas home sellers are getting 99 percent of asking price
The Dallas Morning News
With Dallas-area homes in such short supply, it's no surprise that sellers are getting top dollar for their properties. During April, sellers of Dallas preowned houses got almost 99 percent of their asking prices, according to a new report by ZipRealty Inc. The Internet home marketing firm found that nationwide home prices rose by a 6 percent in the Dallas area last month compared to year-ago levels. That about the same as the national increase.More

Austin home prices show modest April gains on smaller inventories
Austin Business Journal
The number of available homes in the Austin metro area continues to drop, making it harder for buyers — especially first-timers — to find a home in their price range. According to data released Wednesday by the Austin Board of Realtors, there were 5,305 active listings on the Multiple Listing Service in April, 3 percent fewer than in April 2013.More

Zillow: Negative equity levels drop significantly in San Antonio
San Antonio Business Journal
At the end of the first quarter of this year, 12.8 percent of all residential properties in the San Antonio area with a mortgage were in negative equity, according to the latest analysis by Seattle-based online residential resource Zillow Inc. By comparison, as of the fourth quarter 2013, the negative equity rate for the local housing market stood at 13.7 percent.More

Why Central Texas is becoming a regional clean energy leader
With the recent release of the National Climate Assessment, the threat of climate change never has been clearer. Addressing this will require a fundamental transition away from fossil-fuel sources of energy in favor of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power. Electric utilities vary in their progress towards delivering a future powered by clean energy. Notably, Central Texas, with its combination of energy know-how, creative thinking and technology entrepreneurship, is home to many utilities leading the way in clean energy resources and smart grid technology.More

Sellers hold the cards in Dallas' hottest neighborhoods
If you haven't ventured out in the Dallas housing market for a few years, it could be a far cry from what you remember. Sure, there are still open houses, showing spaces like a four-bedroom, three-bath on Goodwin Avenue in the Vickery Place neighborhood. And there are plenty of Realtors like Rick Brooks with Dallas City Center working to match sellers with buyers. But in Dallas' premier neighborhoods, there is no longer time to sleep on your decision.More

Why housing isn't as cheap as it looks
The Wall Street Journal
A growing number of economists and policy makers are faulting last summer's spike in mortgage rates for a broad slowdown in housing activity that began last fall. Sales of previously-owned homes edged up 1.3% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.65 million units, reversing four straight monthly declines. Sales were still 6.8 percent below their levels of a year earlier.More

Plano facing buildout as undeveloped land dwindles
The Dallas Morning News
With the recent announcement that Toyota will be building on a 100-acre site in the Legacy business park, another piece of Plano's dwindling supply of vacant land will soon disappear. Less than 8 percent of Plano's 72 square miles remains available for residential or commercial development. Of that 8 percent, 6.6 percent — or 3,052 acres — is earmarked for commercial development. A mere 1 percent — or 428 acres — is left for housing.More

High demand for Sugar Land homes equals sweet deal for developer
Houston Business Journal
Pre-sales have begun on homes in one of the area's most popular master-planned communities. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taylor Morrison Home Corp. announced that pre-sales have begun for three of its home series in the Avalon section of Riverstone in Sugar Land. Taylor Morrison acquired 184 acres in the Riverstone master-planned community in 2011 to create one of the largest Avalon-branded developments so far.More

Construction industry looking to turn a corner
By Michael J. Berens
After a disappointing first quarter, construction activity continued to sputter in April. Industry data paint a mixed picture of gains and losses across sectors. Extreme winter weather and mixed economic signals have continually stymied hopes for improvement. It may be, however, that the worst is behind for 2014. Construction employment is steadily increasing, and industry analysts point to leading indicators that suggest business is poised to improve in the months ahead. More