TAB News Briefs
Sep. 2, 2014

Home prices gain but at slower pace in July
U.S. home prices rose in July but at a slower rate compared with earlier this year. The moderating price increases could help support sales. Real estate data provider CoreLogic said that prices rose 7.4 percent in July from July 2013. That was slightly below June's year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent and far below a recent peak of 11.9 percent in February.More

The hunt for a different spot to house political watchdog
The Texas Tribune
Suppose we all agree that investigations and prosecutions of corruption by state officials ought to be taken away from the local prosecutors in Travis County. Skip to the next question: Is there a place where political cases could be handled without any smell of politics?More

A lot of races, but not as much drama
The Texas Tribune
The elections are coming, but voters in most regions can go back to sleep — at least when it comes to down-ballot contests: Only a handful of legislative and congressional races are competitive. Here is a safe prediction: Texans will elect a legislature that looks — philosophically, anyway — a lot like the legislature that it is replacing. The same goes for the state's congressional delegation, where only one incumbent faces a serious challenge.More

Abbott backs out of debate, commits to new one
Houston Chronicle
Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott backed out of a debate with Democratic rival Wendy Davis, setting off a series of events casting uncertainty on whether voters will see the candidates on the same stage more than once before Election Day. Hours after Abbott withdrew from a debate Sept. 30 in Dallas, the attorney general's campaign said it had accepted an invitation to a new debate on the same date in the same city. Davis' campaign held firm on her commitment to the original event, saying its hosts would like to meet after the weekend to sort out the mess. More

Is Wendy Davis' political star fading in Texas gubernatorial race?
Fox News
As a feisty state senator with pink sneakers and a fist in the air, Wendy Davis captured both the love and the ire of America last year when she pulled an 11-hour filibuster of anti-abortion measures in the Texas Capitol. But after using that star power to win her party's nomination for governor, Davis is still struggling to take a lead over Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, and some say party confidence in her race is waning. More

Texas abuzz about possible Perry-Cruz 2016 battle
The Associated Press via ABC News
The prospect of a two-Texan presidential tilt is dominating political conversation in the state, even outshining a fiercely contested governor's race — and starting to get noticed nationally. Perry's preparations have long been obvious, while Cruz is working to raise his profile beyond just the far-right base and insert himself into the presidential conversation.More

Looming water shortage worries Houston developers
Houston Business Journal
Between tropical storms, hurricanes and major floods, Houston averages more than 45 inches of rain each year. However, with a booming population and severe drought across the Southwest, the Bayou City may soon run out of water — and that could spell disaster for commercial and residential developers. More

Study finds more arsenic in north Texas water wells near drilling
North Texas water wells within two miles of active gas drilling sites contain higher concentrations of arsenic and other carcinogens, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. In the study, University of Texas at Arlington biochemists measured 100 wells across the Barnett Shale, believed to hold one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S., and compared the results to a similar study undertaken before hydraulic fracturing technology and higher natural gas prices opened the area to drilling. More

What $1 million buys in Dallas
The Motley Fool
In Dallas, a million bucks isn't what it used to be. At least not in the single-family real estate market. The strength of the Dallas housing market, and the relative lack of post-bubble bargains, is directly attributable to the metro's strong economy. In fact, Texas powered through the recession with relative ease. But what makes Dallas unique among most other major U.S. metro areas is that it's a seller's market. More

Building communities one tiny house at a time
USA Today
Thousands of tiny houses have popped up across the country in the past decade but are spread out — located in back yards, recreational vehicle parks and illegally on privately owned land. Now that the tiny house movement has gained popularity and the trend shows no sign of fading soon, advocates have turned to developing tiny house communities. More

1st-time homebuyers squeezed out of Houston's hot housing market
Houston Business Journal
Houston's housing market is ranked among the least affordable for first-time homebuyers, according to a new report. WalletHub analyzed housing markets in 300 largest cities nationally, looking at 17 metrics such as median household income adjusted for cost of living and median home prices. The personal finance website then ranked the cities based on the affordability of homes, the strength of the local real estate market and residents' quality of life.More

Why a slowdown in housing prices is great news
The New York Times
There was some glumness in the latest news on housing prices. There shouldn't be. Slower home price rises — and in some markets, outright declines — are a sign the housing market is starting to move past the boom-and-bust cycle of the last dozen years toward a market where sensible prices driven by local economic conditions prevail.More

Homebuyers age 55+ make move as house values rise
Investor's Business Daily
The younger crowd may be skittish about moving into the housing market due to sparse financial resources and lack of credit. But it's a different story for Americans age 55 and over. Those who can are jumping into homebuying — selling their existing houses to move into new ones aimed at their age group. Many are at or near retirement, while others are seeking a change in lifestyle — and at this age they can have financial flexibility. More