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Home   About Us   Membership   Education   Events   Contact Us           September 24, 2015


$48.5 million now available to Texas employers for employee training
Texas Workforce Commission
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced the availability of $48.5 million in job-training funding from the Texas Legislature for Skills Development Fund grants during the 2016-17 biennium. This year marks 20 years of the Skills Development Fund customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and their workers. The Skills Development Fund has become Texas' premier job-training program, by providing vital training for high-demand occupations for Texas businesses and workers through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, local Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners.
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Governor Abbott declares October 2015 'Careers in Construction Month'
At the request of the Texas Association of Builders, Governor Greg Abbott has proclaimed October 2015 "Careers in Construction Month" in the State of Texas to increase public awareness and appreciation of construction craft professionals and the entire construction workforce. See the proclamation here.

The Texas Association of Builders, an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders, has 28 local home builders associations and nearly 10,000 members across Texas, representing over 702,500 jobs and more than $31 billion annually in the Texas economy. For the last several years, Texas' residential construction industry has faced a shortage of skilled workers and over the next five years, 20 percent of skilled laborers in the construction industry will retire. According to the Texas State Data Center, in 2014 an estimated 2,600 individuals moved to Texas every day, and as additional individuals and companies continue to relocate to our great state, the need for quality, affordable housing will continue to be in demand.

In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 5, the comprehensive education reform bill, that gives high school students a choice in their post-graduation path, allowing them to prepare for college, or choosing elective courses that prepare them for employment immediately upon graduation from high school by, for example, earning construction industry or trade certifications. This year, the 84th Texas Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law, House Bill 18 and House Bill 505 that removed the dual credits cap, thereby allowing students the opportunity to graduate from high school with not only an industry or trade certification, but with an Associates Degree. Home building companies are excited about the opportunity to welcome these skilled, educated graduates into our industry to help ensure that we can provide shelter for the citizens of our state.

The mission of the Texas Builders Foundation, the charitable arm of the Texas Association of Builders, is to support and develop the future of Texas' construction workforce by providing scholarships to students who are enrolled in construction related programs in Texas' technical and trade schools and colleges and universities. By designating October 2015 as "Careers in Construction Month," the Governor has provided the Texas Association of Builders and the Texas Builders Foundation with an additional tool in their efforts to educate the youth of Texas on the construction industry as a professional career path. In 2014, the Governor issued a similar proclamation, and we are honored that Governor Abbott supports the need to continue to promote and recognize the professional construction workforce in Texas.

For more information, contact Lorraine Urey at the Texas Association of Builders at or (512) 476-6346.

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Analysis: More voices, and perhaps, more headaches
The Texas Tribune
Opinions about legislation often show up in state records whether Texans testify or not. Many sign up as witnesses and register their support or opposition, and then they don’t testify at legislative committee hearings. But they have to come to Austin to register. Getting people to show up in Austin to demonstrate is not impossible. For instance, two huge factions showed up with pre-printed T-shirts two summers ago to demonstrate for and against legislation on new abortion regulations. But that was so unique that it — along with a certain Democratic senator's filibuster —made national news.
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Austin-area home sales rise in August; prices set monthly record
Austin American-Statesman
Home sales climbed more than 8 percent in August, while the median home-sale price rose to $265,000 — a record for an August, the Austin Board of Realtors said. The board said 2,943 homes were sold last month, an 8.2 percent increase over August 2014. The median price was a 7.7 percent increase compared with the prior August. As they have been for some time, board officials expressed concerns about the rising cost of housing in Central Texas, a region where demand for housing continues to outpace supply and has been pushing prices up.
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Highland Homes: Building innovative homes in Texas for 30 years
San Antonio Express-News
Brother-and-sister team Rod Sanders and Jean Ann Brock founded Highland Homes in 1985 during one of the toughest real estate markets in the U.S. to date. With Sanders' keen business knowledge and Brock's innovative approach to sales, marketing and architecture, 13 homes were sold in the first month of operation. Today, Highland Homes builds more than 2,000 homes a year in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
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Construction worker pay soars as home builders hunt for labor
It's a good time to be in the field. The shortage of construction labor is wreaking havoc on home builders, but it’s welcome news for workers in the field. Companies like Shea Homes, Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., and Beazer Homes USA have all identified the scarcity of workers as a factor that's causing an industry slowdown. Meritage Homes Corp. even lowered its forecast last week because of rising labor costs and the difficulty it's having finding enough workers to finish projects, Bloomberg reports. The worker shortage is so acute in Arizona that Active Lifestyle Communities, part of Shea homes, is telling customers that their homes may not be completed for a year — about twice the time it usually takes.
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Half of major metros on track to hit highest home sales since 2007
Single-family home and condo sales through August were on pace for an eight-year high nationwide and in 110 out of 204, or 54 percent, metropolitan statistical areas with sufficient sales data, according to RealtyTrac. A total of 1,947,028 U.S. single family homes and condos sold through August in 2015, up 5.44 percent from the same time period a year ago to the highest total for the first eight months of the year since 2007, when there were 2,069,963 sales.
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Huge D-FW home price gains buck national trends
The Dallas Morning News
Dallas-Fort Worth home prices continued to buck national trends in August. U.S. home appreciation leveled off to 3.3 percent. But in the D-FW area prices jumped by 13.8 percent compared with August of 2014, according to a new report by Zillow Inc. Only Denver — up 16.3 percent — had a higher year-over-year home price gain, according to the Internet real estate marketing firm.
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36 states, D.C. add construction jobs in last year; multifamily, hotel markets remain hot
Construction Citizen
Seasonally adjusted construction employment rose in 36 states and the District of Columbia from August 2014 to August 2015, declined in 13 states and held steady in North Dakota, an AGC analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed. The number of places with year-over-year gains was the smallest since April 2012.
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ABOR: Austin homes harder to buy as prices trek upward
Austin Business Journal
More Austinites are being left empty-handed in the pursuit of buying a home and have to look further outside the city limits to find one. That's the conclusion of the Austin Board of Realtors, which released its monthly housing report. "As Austin Realtors we've seen our city expand in ways we never could have imagined, but household incomes have not been expanding at the same rate as the cost of living in Austin," said Barb Cooper, the 2015 president of ABOR.
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Time to start shorting home builders?
Is it time to start shorting home builders? ZeroHedge thinks so. First a little background: Housing starts fell to a three month low of 1.126 million in August, missing expectations of 1.116 million, and below last month's downward revised 1.161 million. But home builders remain supremely confident, with a survey of confidence hitting a 10-year high in September. "The new-home and rental markets continued to have significant pent-up demand, which positions us well for years to come," Lennar Corp. CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement related to the company’s third quarter earnings. "While our home building business continues to be the primary driver of our quarterly earnings, we are in an excellent position across our multiple platforms."
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Houston home builders losing sales to resale market as new home prices skyrocket
Houston Business Journal
Houstonians have always paid a premium for a new home versus a "resale" home. Historically, buyers spent about 15 percent more on a newly constructed home over an existing resale home, according to Metrostudy Corp., a national housing research firm. However, this price gap between the new and existing home market is growing.
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Home building, labor and immigration
We know the "labor shortage" issue is a relative term. It has factored into start-to-completion cycles, and it's beginning to factor into direct costs for labor. We assume that current capacity bottlenecks and constraints project to a woeful mess when a home building pushes toward its reversion-to-norm level of 1.3 to 1.5 million starts across single-family, multi-family and manufactured housing. Immigration reform — particularly in some markets like Texas, Arizona, California, and maybe Denver — is a material issue to consider in the labor capacity constraint equation.
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