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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Jan. 29, 2013


TAB News Briefs
Jan. 29, 2013
TAB Quick Links >    Home     Education     Legislative     Publications     Calendar     Sunbelt Builders Show     Resources



Texans voice praise, concerns over immigration plan
The Texas Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An immigration reform plan unveiled by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators was greeted with mixed reviews by Texas lawmakers and stakeholders, with some groups hailing the effort as a positive leap forward and others chiding the plan's emphasis on border security. The plan includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 to 12 million people in the country illegally, but contains a strong border-security component that includes more unmanned aerial drones to help secure the border, additional U.S. Border Patrol personnel and completion of an entry-exit monitoring system to ensure people here on temporary visas leave the country as required. More



State of the State speech will be scrutinized for clues to Perry's future
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Rick Perry will deliver his seventh State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 29, a speech that will help set the tone for the legislative session and might also reveal a little bit about his own state of mind. Perhaps not since his first State of the State address in 2001 have Perry's future plans and current standing been so uncertain. More
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Legislators outline Texas water plan funding proposals
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
House and Senate proposals to use $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund for water infrastructure would provide loans to jump-start regional projects that are needed immediately, key legislators said recently. That money would be "seed capital," and supplemental revenue would still be required. (egistration may be required to view full article.) More

Texas lawmakers urged to crack down on construction fraud
WFAA-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Some key lawmakers in Austin want new legislation cracking down on tax cheats in the construction industry. It's a response, in part, to a series of reports by News 8 about rebar contractor Andy Anderson, who first blew the whistle about tax cheats in the construction industry. "What they're doing is cheating," Anderson said. Two years ago, contractors like Anderson were getting underbid by competitors who didn't pay taxes on their workers' wages. More

State senate finishes starting
Texas Weekly    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The beginning, at least for the Texas Senate, came to an end this week. (Paid registration may be required to view full article.) More

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Spending cap could put Texas rainy day fund off limits without tricky vote
Austin American-Statesman    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Legislators of all partisan stripes have been eyeing Texas' rainy day fund as a source for new water and transportation projects, but some budget gymnastics might be necessary for them to get at that money. Members of the Senate Finance Committee were told that the state's constitutional spending cap applies to money in the rainy day fund, meaning that legislators might need to vote to exceed the cap first if they want to access the nearly $12 billion in the rainy day fund. More

Housing market's latest obstacle: Appraisals
MarketWatch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
To determine the value of a property, appraisers are supposed to review purchase prices of similar, nearby homes that sold in the past six months. But when a property is much pricier than others in the neighborhood, it can be hard to find similar examples close by. As a result, their asking prices are often out of whack with values that are later determined by appraisals. More

NAHB names The Nationals Gold Award winners
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The year's most outstanding work in residential real estate sales, marketing and design was honored on Jan. 22 at The National Sales and Marketing Awards gala held during the 2013 International Builders' Show. Hosted by the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) National Sales and Marketing Council, the awards ceremony, considered one of the building industry's most prestigious events, attracted more than 500 building industry professionals for an up-close look at the year's most innovative and successful ideas. More



NAHB announces national Green Building Awards winners
NAHB    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Several builders, remodelers and other home building industry professionals were honored as winners of the National Green Building Awards given by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The awards were presented during the International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas. Each year, NAHB recognizes individuals, companies and organizations for excellence in residential green design and construction practices and for green building program and advocacy efforts. The awards were presented during the Eco-Disco, a special networking and awards event held during Green Day at IBS, a day featuring education sessions, special events and product and home tours on green building. More

Custom home trends expected to accelerate
The Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Over 20 years in the custom home building world, Frank Dimperio has watched home buyers become more savvy and educated. "Cutting edge is what our custom home buyers demand and what we strive to deliver," says Dimperio, head of Naperville, Ill.-based 5th Avenue Construction. More

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Texas Court hits open beaches law
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Supreme Court dealt another blow to the Texas Open Beaches Act in a case pitting beachfront property owners against the city of Surfside. The court overturned an appeals court ruling upholding Surfside's refusal to permit repairs or extend utilities to houses that the Texas General Land Office determined were in the public right-of-way as a result of beach erosion. It asked the lower court to reconsider its decision in light of the state Supreme Court ruling last year in the Severance case, which weakened the Open Beaches Act. More

Salamanders come with a $29 million price tag
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated that protecting salamanders in Travis, Williamson and Bell counties would cost $29 million over the next 23 years. The Fish and Wildlife Service's economic analysis looked at the feasibility of protecting 6,475 acres of critical habitat for the Jollyville Plateau, Georgetown and Salado salamanders. The protection would cost about $1.25 million per year largely in administrative costs. More

Home building outlook is cautiously optimistic
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although recent months have seen improvement in the number of housing starts and permits pulled, it will be multi-family builders that feel the uptick initially, according to a panel of economists speaking at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas. Apartment builders will be the first to benefit by an increasing number of new households as young adults move out on their own and fewer households double up, the experts said. More

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New Austin homes could need no-step entrances
KEYE-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Austin City Council could soon require new homes to have an entrance accessible to people with disabilities. The Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities is proposing a change to the International Residential Code. Members are asking for a percentage of new homes to have one flat entrance. In 2008, the committee asked for all new homes to have a no-step entrance. However, that was turned down. More

Austin is America's fastest-growing city
Forbes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Austin took the top spot for the third year in a row on Forbes' list of "America's 20 Fastest Growing Cities." The Capital City is an economic powerhouse thanks to the 51,000-student University of Texas at Austin, a bevy of Silicon Hills startups and the presence of mega corporations like Whole Foods Market Inc. and Dell Inc., the magazine wrote. More

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Eldon Rude departs Metrostudy, plans to stay in Austin
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Eldon Rude — one of the more visible professionals in Austin's housing industry — has resigned his position as the director of Metrostudy Corp. for the Austin market. Houston-based Metrostudy was recently acquired by Hanley Wood LLC, a housing research firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. More

Pending sales of existing homes in US decreased 4.3 percent
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Pending U.S. home sales declined in December for the first time since August, showing uneven progress in the housing market. The index of contracts for the purchase of previously owned homes fell 4.3 percent to 101.7 after a revised 1.6 percent increase, the National Association of Realtors reported recently in Washington. More

Housing likely to contribute to 2013 GDP
HousingWire    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Housing will contribute to gross domestic product in 2013, barring some unforeseen double-digit recession or economic downturn, Fitch managing director Robert Curren said. Fitch projects single-family housing starts will grow 18 percent in 2013, with new home sales rising 22 percent and existing home sales edging up 7 percent. The average single-family new home price edged up 3.5 percent in 2012 and is expected to rise 3.8 percent in 2013, Fitch said. More




City lacks funding to hire development review staff
Austin Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Austin City Council will meet Jan. 29 to discuss how to pay for several "urgent" initiatives, including bringing on more staff to deal with the growing load of new development projects planned for the city. Officials did approve hiring 14 full-time workers to help with the backlog of commercial construction permits and hope to add four more employees, which would cost about $240,000 per year. More

Landowners' water rights murky
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many landowners in the Brazos River basin were recently told by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to stop using river water for agricultural purposes. Despite having a valid state water rights permit, they must suspend use of my water rights due to limited water availability caused by record drought conditions. Under Texas law, when there is not enough water for all water-rights holders, the most senior water-rights holders, like Dow Chemical, are entitled to the water that is available. More

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