Homebuilder Sentiment Index Slips One Point

The National Association of Home Builders says its housing market index slipped by one point in June, reflecting many builders' uncertainty about when their business prospects might improve. The Washington-based trade association said Monday the index fell to 15 - the first decline since January, when the index dropped to an all-time low of 8. More

Opinion: Fire Sprinkler Debate Should Be Left to Towns

West University Place, the Texas Municipal League and the Texas Association of Fire Chiefs have something in common. All have asked Gov. Rick Perry to veto Senate Bill 1410. S.B. 1410 prevents a city from having a residential fire-sprinkler ordinance. About a month ago, the city of West University Place passed an ordinance requiring residential fire sprinklers in new homes. The West University fire chief recommended this change, and it was unanimously passed by the city council. More

Editorial: Local Control, Sprinkled with Confusion

Raise your hand if you're for local control. OK, put it down. You're not that special. Just about everybody is for local control. But sometimes it can be tough to figure out how to get there. Our case-in-point is another late-in-the-session amendment tacked onto a semi- related bill as the Legislature drew to a close. More

Newmark Homes Rises from Ashes of Dead Parent

Newmark Homes Houston LLC is buying a majority of the Houston assets of its former owner, Tousa Inc. Tousa, a national home builder based in Hollywood, Fla., purchased Newmark in 1999. Tousa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early last year under the weight of the nation’s housing slump. More

Slump Leads to Fewer Teardown Fights Between Preservationists, Builders

For preservationists, sometimes the best that can happen is nothing at all. Katherine Seale, director of Preservation Dallas, said the most striking change she has noticed recently in her North Dallas neighborhood has been the lack of change – the teardowns of nearby ranch-style houses has all but ceased. The reason is the recession. More

Vision North Texas Session Produces Ideas on Transportation, More

Vision North Texas has completed its research and will now concentrate on publishing by year's end North Texas 2050, a plan to direct growth throughout the 16-county region, where the population is expected to reach 12 million by 2050. "Determining how we grow is going to be so important to our future," said Mike Eastland, executive director of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, one of three Vision North Texas partner-sponsors. "We've got to provide development options." More

State Farm Refund Amount, If Any, Up in the Air

$1 billion. $350 million. $0. Depending on whom you believe, that's what State Farm Insurance owes its 1.2 million customers in Texas for overcharging on homeowner policies dating to 2003. The state's consumer advocate for insurance, the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, is arguing in documents filed this month that the state's largest property insurer owes policyholders $785 million plus interest – or nearly $1 billion in refunds. More

Plan to Reorganize is Next for Keller Williams

Keller Williams Realty can move forward now and file a plan of reorganization. Last month the El Paso company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy listing more the $400,000 in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, bankruptcy court records show. The company has 180 days from the date it filed for bankruptcy to file a plan of reorganization along with a disclosure statement. More

Economist: Good Time to Buy a House

Texas is still a buyer's market. At least that's what local realtors and at least one economist say. As the nation's foreclosure rate reaches 32 percent, the rate in Texas has been declining steadily, down 14 percent since last year. Jim Gaines, research economist for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said the Texas housing market, including the Comal County area, is doing very well compared to the rest of the nation. More

Kinky Friedman Sends Rick Perry a Gift

Kinky Friedman sent Gov. Rick Perry a set of training wheels last week in response to the governor breaking his collarbone in a biking accident. "The little note said, 'Sorry you got hurt. Too bad they don’t make training wheels for a legislative session,'" Friedman said in an interview. More