KILLEEN RANKED 8TH STRONGEST ECONOMY IN THE NATION
KILLEEN, TEXAS – Killeen’s economy has not only fared well in recent years; according to the POLICOM Corporation, it has become significantly stronger. The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 8th in the nation on the POLICOM Corporation’s 2013 Economic Strength Rankings, an improvement from the 2012 ranking of 30th on the list.
POLICOM produces this study annually, analyzing the economic strength of 366 MSAs in the United States and ranking them accordingly. In less than a decade the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood MSA has improved its standing in the chart by 161 places with a steady climb from the rank of 169 in 2006 to its best position yet with the 8th spot in 2013.
"To investors, those who start businesses, create wealth, provide jobs and pay taxes, the important economic factors are trends over time,” said John Crutchfield, President/CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. “By POLICOM's definition, their 'highest ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time'. For our MSA to be ranked 8th out of 366 MSAs in the U.S. is an extraordinary achievement. When coupled with other factors, such as the City of Killeen's recently achieved high-quality credit rating, the achievement is even more remarkable. Our region is poised for a tremendous future."
In 2012, the MSA was ranked 30th in the nation and 5th in Texas behind the state’s four major metropolitan areas – Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. The 2013 study ranks Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood as the 3rd strongest economy in Texas behind Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos ranked 4th in the nation and San Antonio-New Braunfels ranked 7th. The Killeen area surpassed Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington at the 14th position and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown ranking 17th in the nation.
“The rankings do not reflect the latest ‘hotspot’ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation,” said William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM.
The study measures 23 different economic factors over a twenty-year period to determine an area’s “economic strength” - the long-term tendency for an area to consistently grow in size and quality. To be designated a Metropolitan Statistical Area, the area must have at least one urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000, plus adjacent counties which have a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties. They must have a minimum of one county but most often include several counties.
POLICOM, located in Palm City, FL, specializes in analyzing local and state economies and has created this study each year since 1997 to enable the corporation to study the characteristics of strong and weak economies. Data stretching from 1992 to 2011, released in January, 2013, was used for this study. Specific formulas determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time.
Cheapskates of the world unite -- you have nothing to lose but your spare change!
The 10 cities below offer the lowest cost-of-living levels of some 300 communities surveyed each quarter by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
"These are parts of the country that are incredibly inexpensive," the council's Dean Frutiger says. "Prices there are a lot less than [No.1 cost-of-living area] Manhattan."
The council volunteers help compile cost-of-living figures for various cities by checking local prices every three months on some 60 goods and services, from doctor's visits to T-bone steaks.
The group then runs the numbers through a weighting system to give more prominence to things such as rent and mortgage bills.
There's also a heavily weighted "miscellaneous" category that serves as a catch-all for everything from bowling prices to dry-cleaning costs.
If your idea of the perfect date is using a two-for-one coupon at a Sunday matinee, click below to see the U.S. communities that offer the nation's lowest cost-of-living levels. (There are three Texas entries, which are grouped.)
Each city's score reflects how its living costs compares with the national average. For instance, a score of 90 means a community's cost of living is 90% of the overall U.S. average.
All local property prices are from Realtor.com -- the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site -- and exclude mobile homes.
We just went to the grand opening of the first building and we were thrilled to hear about the next step for Texas A&M - Central Texas!
TAMU-Central Texas campus moves and seconds
KILLEEN - Officials have broken ground on a second building at the Texas A&M-Central Texas campus. The $50 million, 125,500-sf facility will be home to a library, counseling center, career services, School of Education, social work program, distributed learning and instructional technology, and will provide additional classroom and laboratory space.
Campus officials dedicated its inaugural building, Founder's Hall. As reported in September 2010, the university broke ground at 1001 Leadership Place on the first building housed on 662 acres transferred from the U.S. Army to the Texas A&M University System.
The $40 million, 103,000-sf building includes classrooms, a lecture hall, student services, enrollment services, administrative offices, support services and a campus bookstore.
By: Esther Cho 05/15/2012
Nationwide, the number of homes listed for sale has fallen 21 percent from a year ago, according to Pro Teck Valuation Services' May Home Value Forecast.
Also, the forecast reported Months of Remaining Inventory (MRI) is at 6.3 months, which is the lowest level since 2006.
A strong market will have 0 to 5 months of inventory, a balanced market 6 to 10 months, and a soft market will have 11 to 15 months.
From 2002 to 2005, when the housing market was booming, the national MRI was at or below 5 months.
As listings and MRI decline, some of the metro areas that fell the hardest may be recovering now.
The report noted that closely watched areas such as Phoenix, Miami, Atlanta, Orlando, and Riverside-San Bernardino are high on the list in terms of seeing the greatest declines in listings. As for areas with low MRI, Phoenix, San Jose, and Seattle topped the list.
Using a broad base of indicators, including MRI, median prices, number of active listings, sales percent change, and other indicators, HomeValueForecast.com ranked the 10 best and worst performing core based statistical areas(CBSAs).
Commenting on top performing CBSAs, Michael Sklarz, principal of collateral analytics and contributing author to HomeValueForecast.com, noted that “Rustic Belt” states such as Michigan and Illinois are seeing positive trends as the number of their active listings decline over the past year.
“This has led to most of these markets having balanced or tight markets based on their Months of Remaining Inventory values,” he said.
When observing trends for the worst performing CBSAs, Sklarz pointed out that a high percentage are located in the Northeast and all locations have double digit months of remaining inventory.
“Also, prices in these metros have held up much better since the market peak in 2005-2006 compared to the current top ranked markets,” said Sklarz. “We believe that the relative rankings in the bottom ranked metros are not offering the same bargains – in terms of compelling prices and high rental yields – as the top ranked ones.”
Boise City, Nampa, Idaho
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan
West Palm Beach-Boca Rotan-Boynton Beach, Florida
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Florida
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Virgina-North Carolina
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Existing home sales across the state surged in February, reflecting a stronger market, an improving economy and “better weather than February last year,” said Real Estate Center Research Economist Dr. Jim Gaines.
“In some cases, the increased sales occurred within the lower-priced home market as mortgage lending requirements have improved,” Gaines said.
Sales in Texas last month were up 21 percent over February 2012, according to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data compiled by the Center. The National Association of Realtors reported an 8.8 percent year-over-year jump in sales.
Median prices continued to be flat across the state as a whole, but they exhibited wide variation among individual markets, with some markets showing significant surges and others further declines.
“Median price in the four major markets (Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio) were essentially flat, with more significant changes occurring in the smaller markets where large percentage changes can occur more easily,” Gaines said.
1. Equity. When you pay rent, you never see that money again. It is lining the landlord's pocket. Yes, buying a home may come with some hefty initial costs (downpayment, closing costs, inspections), but you will make that money back over time in equity built in the home. Historically, homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. Some areas are still experiencing normal appreciation rates. For the areas that have seen harder times since the recession, experts feel that the housing market will recover. Homeownership is about building long-term wealth. A home bought for $10,000 in 1960 is most likely worth 10 times that in today's market.
2. Relationships: Renters tend to see their neighbors come and go quickly. Some people sign year leases while others are in the community for much shorter terms. Apartment complexes also tend to have less common shared space for people to meet, greet, and socialize. Homeowners, however, have yards, walking trails, or community pools and clubhouses where they can get to know each other. Neighbors stay put much longer (at least three to five years if they hope to recoup their closing costs). This means more time to develop relationships. Research has shown that people with healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress.
3. Predictability: Well, as long as you have a fixed-rate term on your mortgage it's predictable. Most people buying homes today know that a fixed-rate is the way to go. This means your payment amount is fixed for the life of the term. If your mortgage payment is $500 today, then it will still be $500 a month in 10 years. This allows for people to budget and make solid financial plans. The sub-prime crisis meant many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages saw their monthly payments rise and then rise some more. Homeownership, though, generally comes with a predictable table of expenditures. Even the big purchases are predictable. You know most roofs last just 15 years (or so). You know that each year you'll need to pay for the gutters to be cleaned, and so on.
4. Ownership: Okay, this is a given. Homeownership means you "own" your home. That comes with some incredible perks, though! You can renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart's desire. You can plant trees, install a pool, expand the patio, or do holiday decorating that would rival the Kranks (if the HOA allows!). The bottom line is this is your home and you can personalize it to your taste. Most renters are stuck with the same beige walls and beige carpet that has been standard apartment decor for 20 years. Now is your chance to let your home speak!
5. Great Deals: It's a great time to buy. Interest rates are at historic lows. We're talking 4.0 percent instead of 6.0 or higher. This means big savings for today's buyers. Home prices have also taken a dip since the recession, which means homes are more affordable than ever. If you have steady income and cash for a downpayment, then be sure to talk to your local real estate agent about what homes in your area could be a fit for you.
Homeownership can be a real joy. It's time to get off the fence and into a home that is right for you!
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy gained 231,700 jobs from December 2009 to December 2010, an annual growth rate of 2.3 percent, according to the Real Estate Center's latest Monthly Review of the Texas Economy.
U.S. nonfarm employment rose 0.8 percent over the same period.
The state’s private sector posted an annual employment growth rate of 2.7 percent compared with 1.2 percent for the U.S. private sector from December 2009 to December 2010.
Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in December 2010, up from 8.2 percent in December 2009, while the nation’s rate decreased from 9.9 to 9.4 percent over the same period.
All Texas industries except trade and information had more jobs in December 2010 than in December 2009.
All Texas metro areas had more jobs in December 2010 than in December 2009. Odessa ranked first in job creation followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Waco, Longview, and Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in December 2010 was 8 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, Lubbock, College Station-Bryan and Abilene.
DALLAS (Dallas Business Journal) – The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is offering $45 million to consumers through its first-time homebuyer program.
“Despite all the negatives we hear from other states, the fact is that the Texas economy — and the demand for homeownership — both remain quite healthy,” said Michael Gerber, executive director of the state agency. “Many families want and are ready to take that exciting step toward homeownership, and TDHCA wants to help them achieve their dreams through safe, reliable lending products offered through the state, coupled with responsible homebuyer education."
The Texas Mortgage Credit Program will help reduce borrowers' tax liability by offering a credit in exchange for taking a certified homebuyer education class. Homebuyers could save up to $2,000 in annual taxes.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – The Texas economy continues to outperform the U.S. economy in the current recovery, according to the Real Estate Center's latest monthly economic review.
The state’s economy gained 194,400 jobs from November 2009 to November 2010, an annual growth rate of 1.9 percent, compared with the nation’s 842,000 jobs, an annual growth rate of 0.6 percent.
Texas’ private sector continues to play a key role in job creation. The state’s private sector posted an annual employment growth rate of 2.2 percent compared with 1 percent for the U.S. private sector from November 2009 to November 2010.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in November 2010, the same as in November 2009, while the nation’s rate decreased from 10.0 to 9.3 percent over the same period.
All Texas industries except the trade and information industries had more jobs in November 2010 than in November 2009. The state’s mining and logging industry ranked first in job creation followed by professional and business services, education and health services and manufacturing.
All Texas metro areas had more jobs in November 2010 than in November 2009. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission ranked first in job creation followed by Brownsville-Harlingen and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos.
The state’s actual unemployment rate in November 2010 was 8.3 percent. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate followed by Amarillo, Lubbock, College Station-Bryan and Abilene.
FORT HOOD (GlobeSt) – Ground has broken on the $534 million Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, which will replace the existing 45-year-old healthcare facility of the same name.
Construction on the 947,000-sf facility is slated to begin in April on the site of the old Fort Hood stadium. It will be nearly 60 percent larger than the current facility and will include a six-story hospital tower, three out-patient clinic buildings and three parking garages.
Balfour Beatty Construction and McCarthy Building Companies have partnered to build the facility with design assistance from HKS Architects and Wingler & Sharp.
The facility will be designed to meet USGBC LEED Gold certification requirements.
Currently, the hospital serves roughly 45,000 soldiers and nearly 125,000 family members and retirees within a 40-mile radius.
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood metro area is the best in the nation among 200 major metropolitan areas for its overall business climate, according to an annual study released this week.
The nonpartisan think tank Milken Institute released its 2010 Best-Performing Cities ratings Thursday. Central Texas outstripped last year's top-ranked Austin-Round Rock metropolitan service area to capture the top spot.
The study was designed as an objective measure of which metropolitan areas are most successful in creating and retaining jobs, and how good those jobs are in terms of wages and overall economic strength, according to a preamble to the report. Emphasis is placed on growth in employment because of its importance in determining the economic health and viability of communities, the report said.
"Basically, we look at jobs," said Skip Rimer, executive director of programs and communications at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Milken Institute. "How well cities do at creating jobs and holding on to jobs. In particular, good paying jobs."
The Killeen area ranked second last year behind Austin-Round Rock. The region ranked 13th in 2008, moving upward on the list from 33rd place in 2007.
"That growth has not been in any one specific area," said John Crutchfield, president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. "But that growth has occurred steadily over the last 10 years. We've increased our population by about 30,000 in that 10 years."
Overall, 11 of the top 25 ranked metro areas on the 2010 listings are in Texas, according to the report.
The Houston-Sugarland MSA is ranked 10th, down from fifth place last year. San Antonio was knocked out of the top 10 this year, falling to 14th. To the north, Dallas lost five places, moving from 13th in 2009 to 17th this year, and Fort Worth toppled from last year's 12th place ranking to 23rd position, the report said.
Comparisons are made on one-year and five-year trends in both wages and salaries and job growth. The five-year trends cover the years 2004 to 2009, while the one-year snapshot covers April 2009 to April 2010, Rimer said.
The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area, which includes portions of Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties, ranked seventh overall in five-year job growth, posting 10.75 percent greater growth than the national average. One-year job growth of 3.84 percent greater than the national average ranked the area fourth in the nation.
Wage and salary growth, at 22.72 percent greater than the national average, posted the region a first-place ranking, as did the region's 6.18 percent increase in salaries and wages compared to the national one-year average, the report said.
"I think it's great," Killeen Mayor Tim Hancock said. "It proves we have the ability to maintain. We are what we claim to be."
Charlie Kimmey, chairman of the board of directors for the Temple Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
"It's huge," Kimmey said of the report. "A lot of good things are going on in our Central Texas area."
The greatest increase, compared to state averages, was in the realm of high technology growth, the study found. The Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area experienced economic impact from technology-based businesses at a rate 48.17 percent greater than state averages over the five years from 2004-09.
A significant portion of the growth in the technology sector is directly related to Fort Hood, through some 240 companies directly involved in defense contracts, Crutchfield said. But high tech is not the sole purview of the Army, he said.
In the eastern portion of the county, McLane Advanced Technologies in Temple is another example of strong growth in tech industries, Kimmey said. The company, with several ongoing defense contracts, grew its workforce from about 30 employees, 18 months ago, to several hundred today, he said.
"They've just grown by leaps and bounds," Kimmey said. "That's just one that comes to mind."
It shouldn't come as a surprise to find the engine driving both growth and the continued strength of the local economies is the defense industry and Fort Hood, Rimer and Crutchfield said. Studies conducted about two years ago by the office of State Comptroller Susan Combs found the local economic impact of the military post tops $7 billion annually. Statewide, that impact is almost $11 billion a year, Crutchfield said.
Cooperation is key
But that isn't the only force powering the ongoing growth, he said. It's also fueled by increasing cooperation among the communities in the service area.
"We've worked very hard this year to be more engaging with more chambers of commerce in our area — Belton, Salado, Killeen," Kimmey said. "When one wins, we all win."
Crutchfield agreed. The report bodes well for the Central Texas region, not only for what it says, but for the scope of where it says it.
"That's a national report and it gets national attention," he said. "It really makes a positive statement. For lack of a better term, it is very positive, unpaid advertising for us.
"Regionalism is something that folks have to learn," Crutchfield said. "We're now in a global economy, made possible by the ability to communicate at the speed of light. The competition for Killeen is not Temple. It's competition around the world."
You see, homeownership matters. It matters in ways you may never even consider when you are signing your first contract. You are providing your family with a solid foundation – a place to come home to. A place of your own.
Studies show that homeowners are not as transient as renters are. Demographically, they are older and have larger incomes. They are more established in their jobs and better educated as well. Their children often grow up – from pre-school to high school graduation – within the same school district, and that helps them to form friendships that can last a lifetime. They get better grades, and there are even studies that suggest homeowners’ children are at lower risk of teenage pregnancy.
It matters in schools, which are supported by the property taxes of homeowners – homeowners who make very deliberate decisions about where they buy, based on the quality of education in the neighborhoods they’re considering. Those parents are so invested in the decisions they’ve made that they support their schools through volunteer work and fundraising efforts.
It matters that people of different backgrounds make choices to live as one community. Each family in that community shares a financial stake in keeping their homes and streets clean, attractive and safe. And with taxes being what they are, here’s one other important truth. Homeowners vote, and they do so in far greater numbers than renters do.
And when all is said and done, homeownership matters because it provides a real bond between you and your neighbors. Renters may come and go, but as a homeowner, you’ve established roots with the other owners on your block that will serve you well through the years, even if you’re not exactly the best of friends. You’ll find yourself marking time by watching the neighbors’ kids grow up. You’ll shovel out of blizzards together, share gossip at the grocery store, and grab each others’ vacation-time mail.
And it all adds up.
From your own home, and throughout your community…and all across America, homeownership provides the nation with stability, security and strength.
Homeownership matters. To people, and communities, and America.
TEXAS (The Atlantic) – Even in the middle of the Great Recession, Texas is faring well compared with the rest of the nation, racking up an ever-growing list of accomplishments.
In addition to ranking fourth in the country with the least amount of state debt, Texas has four cities in the Milken Institute’s Top Five Best Performing Cities Index, four among Forbes' list of top ten “Cities Where the Recession is Easing,” and four in last year’s Top Ten in Homebuilding.
Texas is home to three of the top five most resilient major metro areas for employment, with McAllen first, Austin third, San Antonio fifth and El Paso and Houston not far behind in the top 15.
The Lone Star State also claims 64 Fortune 500 companies — more than any other state — in addition to being dubbed Top State for Business for the second time in three years by CNBC.
The Atlantic says these accomplishments are because Texas’ major cities have chosen comparatively stable industries — Houston is the nation’s energy hub, Austin leads in education and technology, and San Antonio dominates the health care and education sector in addition to military spending.
“Our research shows that the more tax incentives and less regulation you have, and the less likely businesses are to get sued, the more likely it is they’ll want to come and prosper in your state,” said Brooke Rollins, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
These factors support Texas’ position as a global economic leader, having the 15th largest economy in the world.
TEXAS (CNBC) – Texas has reclaimed the top spot from Virginia as CNBC’s number one state for business.
The news source's study measures states on 40 different metrics in ten key categories including cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life, economy, transportation and infrastructure, and technology and innovation.
According to government figures, the Texas economy is the 15th largest in the world in addition to being home to 64 Fortune 500 companies — more than any other state.
Although the state ranked high overall, it did fall short in the "cost of doing business" category, where it came in at number 30.
Texas came out on top of Gadberry's survey, with four high-growth cities: Atascocita, Katy, Mansfield, and Wylie. The report only included areas larger than 10,000 occupied households that met requirements for growth rate, household income, length of residence, and other factors.
Larry Martin, principal of the Gadberry Group, says many of the places with the biggest housing growth at the beginning of the last decade, such as Nevada, Florida, and Arizona, also saw the biggest drop-off since the economy sank. Texas, however, enjoyed relatively strong housing and job markets over the last 10 years, thanks in large part to the presence of major employers in the robust energy business. As of December, the state unemployment rate was 8.3% (lower than the national rate of 10%), according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It also had the largest state population growth between July 2008 and July 2009, according to a December release by the Census Bureau. "New homes are still being built and people are still moving into these homes" in Texas, says Martin.
Part of the state's strength, says Mark Mather, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C., is its diversified economy. Main industries include petroleum refining, chemical production, aerospace, and information technology.
Here is some more great news about how well the Texas real estate market has held up despite the massive problems elsewhere in the country. As you’ll see, the Killeen-Temple-Ft. Hood market put in an especially strong showing! – Jean Shine
LOS ANGELES (Milken Institute) – Texas metros, led by number one Austin–Round Rock, claimed four of the top five spots and nine of the top 16 in the 2009 Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best-Performing Cities Index.
Also making the list were Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood (2), McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (4), Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown (5), San Antonio (11), Fort Worth–Arlington (12), Dallas-Plano-Irving (13), El Paso (14) and Corpus Christi (16).
Austin–Round Rock was the first metro to ever be ranked number one twice on the index, the last time being in 2000.
But it doesn't stop there. Nine other Texas metros made the top 25 out of the 124 smallest metros that were studied.
Those were Midland (1), Longview (2), Tyler (4), Odessa (5), College Station–Bryan (14), Texarkana (17), Waco (18), Laredo (20) and Abilene (21).
Leaders in this year’s index, which ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs, are all metros that succeeded in avoiding the worst of economic declines driven by falling housing markets and job losses in manufacturing and global trade.
Regional economic factors also strongly influenced the rankings this year, with the oil and gas sector, technology and alternative energy providing stability among metros in Texas, North Carolina, Washington and Louisiana.
Another factor helping Texas metros move up in the rankings is the state’s favorable business climate and its ability to attract jobs and corporations away from higher-cost states.
This is a great article about our “neighborhood” lake here in Harker Heights. From our office, I can be on the lake in less than 10 minutes! We spent enough time on this lake when my sons were growing up that we can claim it as a home away from home. – Jean Shine
In Central Texas we are blessed with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities such as parks, trails, lakes
and fishing areas all within less than 30 minutes drive of our home, yet many times I see these parks and lakes being under utilized.
I talk to local people every week who simply aren't aware of all the opportunities we have for outdoor recreation right here in our own backyard.
One of the best kept secrets in the state is Stillhouse Hollow Lake located just a few miles southeast of Killeen. The lake is an impoundment of the Lampasas River and was completed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1968 and covers 6,430 acres at full conservation pool.
Most of the land around the lake is Corps of Engineers property keeping lakeside development to a minimum.
The shoreline is mostly rocky and the water is typically very clear.
Several parks surround the lake and offer a variety of recreational uses including camping, fishing, picnicking, boat launching, hiking and more.
The lake experienced dramatic flooding in the spring and summer of 2007 and reached levels 40 feet higher than normal.
Several parks experienced significant damage and were closed for extended periods of time while repairs were made. Most of these parks are now back in operation with the exception of Dana Peak where only the boat ramp has re-opened. Lake managers expect to fully re-open Dana Peak in the spring of 2010.
Hours and entry fees for the parks vary with most of the parks closing at sunset and several of them including Rivers Bend and Cedar Gap having no entry fees.
Currently the lake is at or near the normal pool elevation of 622 feet above sea level. Over the past few weeks the lake reached levels of 6-8 feet above normal with the heavy rains we received.
Lake managers have been releasing a high volume of water from the dam at 3100 cubic feet per second and anticipate reducing this to around 1500 cubic feet per second as the lake reaches normal levels.
This is a perfect time of the year to enjoy picnics at Stillhouse Hollow because the parks are less crowded and you can have your choice of picnic areas. Also the cooler temperatures are a blessing since the lake has very few shaded picnic areas. If you do decide to picnic on a warm day, it's a good idea to bring a canopy or umbrella for shade.
The well maintained concrete boat ramps at Stillhouse Hollow are wide and gently sloping. Most of them have courtesy docks nearby for easy loading and unloading of passengers and gear.
Free launch is available at Cedar Gap and Rivers Bend. Remember to observe courtesy rules on the boat ramps such as waiting your turn and having your boat ready to launch when you back down the ramp.
You should observe the "no wake" zones near boat ramps as a courtesy and safety precaution.
Autumn fishing is great on Stillhouse Hollow with the most popular species being white bass and largemouth bass. White bass are moving into deeper water now and you'll need sonar gear and deep water lures to tackle these feisty fighters.
Largemouth bass can still be found in shallow water on warm afternoons and will move between the deep water off the points and the shallow areas in the coves depending on weather and wind conditions.
Dark colored plastic worms and shad imitation crankbaits are the lures of choice right now for largemouth bass.
I've spoken to several fishermen who are catching good numbers of catfish on trotlines and jugs as well as rods and reels fished from the shore.
They are using live bait such as perch and Black Saltys and cut bait such as shad and chicken livers to catch channel and yellow cat.
In warmer weather, boating becomes more popular on Stillhouse Hollow with several great areas for water skiing and tubing.
Even on the windiest days, you can usually find a quiet cove behind some high bluffs to pull the kids on a tube.
Be sure to stay a safe distance away from fishermen and anchored boats. Sailing and kayaking are gaining popularity on the lake as well and most evenings you can see several kayakers near Rivers Bend park with at least one kayak club frequenting the lake.
We are truly blessed to have such a beautiful and diverse outdoor recreation area and I encourage you to put down the remote, shut off the computer, gather up the kids and get out and enjoy the outdoors at Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
CARY, N.C. (Local Market Monitor) – Five large Texas cities and ten smaller ones are among the nation's top markets when it comes to expected home price performance, according to Local Market Monitor’s latest Home Price Forecast.
Among the largest markets — those with populations exceeding 600,000 — Dallas-Plano-Irving, Fort Worth–Arlington, Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, San Antonio and Wichita Falls filled five spaces on the ten-slot list of cities with the best expected performance in home price over the next year.
The same survey of the smallest U.S. markets revealed ten Texas cities were tops, tied with other cities across the country. These were Abilene, Amarillo, Brownsville-Harlingen, College Station–Bryan, Corpus Christi, Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood, Laredo, Lubbock, Texarkana and Waco.
The study predicts local market behavior over the upcoming 12 months in over 300 markets, identifying those that are stable and have opportunity for growth.
COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas beats the rest of the country when it comes to housing affordability, according to first quarter 2009 Texas Housing Affordability Index (HAI) numbers compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The numbers reflect the ability of a median-income family to purchase a median-priced existing home in their area. Texas had a ratio of 1.95 in first quarter 2009 compared with the nation's 1.55.
"The slowdown in the housing market nationally and within Texas has led to significantly increased housing affordability everywhere, and Texas continues to maintain its place as the most affordable high-growth state in the country," said Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist with the Center.
First National Real Estate Brand to Offer Automatic Notifications of New Listings Through a Mobile Application
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – August 20, 2009 –Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC today announced the launch of the first-ever international home search application for iPhoneTM and AndroidTM-powered devices. The Coldwell BankerReal Estate mobile application enables users to easily search for property listings and recent home sales in 28 countries in North America, Europe, Central America, Caribbean, Australia and South America. The results of these searches as well as the search itself can be saved in a personalized ‘My Coldwell Banker’ account newly created from the user’s smartphone or added to an existing account with coldwellbanker.com by logging into the site directly from the handheld device. Unique to the Coldwell Banker application, searches that are saved to an app-created ‘My Coldwell Banker’ account will automatically generate notifications of new properties and open houses, alerting the user to updated results right on the device’s homepage.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate continues to raise the bar on the traditional home search. In October 2008, Coldwell Banker Real Estate set out to reach the masses by becoming the first full-service national real estate brand to optimize its Web site for use on all mobile devices. By early 2009, international Coldwell Banker Real Estate listings in 28 countries became accessible via the Coldwell Banker brand Web site on the iPhone, Blackberry and other smartphones. To date, more than 200,000 users have viewed Coldwell Banker Real Estate listings from the convenience of their handheld devices. Building upon this success, the Coldwell Banker brand is taking the next step in providing consumers with greater flexibility when searching for a home by designing a mobile application that is intuitive, quick and convenient.
“While the desktop computer remains a proven screen, Coldwell Banker recognizes that today’s technologically savvy consumers are also using smartphones to access information on-the-go,” said Michael Fischer, senior vice president of marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “We are committed to improving the consumer experience and will continue to introduce innovative technology such as this mobile application to provide our customers with up-to-date home data the moment they want it and to wherever they may be.”
Features of the new application include:
GPS-based search to locate nearby homes for sale, open houses and recent homes sold
Ability to sort recently sold properties by location, price and sale date
Option to view search results in list form or on a variety of maps including street, hybrid and satellite that are marked with “clickable” Coldwell Banker Real Estate icons
Detailed property listings that include images and a slideshow view
Direct dial and e-mail functions from the user’s mobile handset to the local Coldwell Banker Real Estate listing agent associated with each property
Real-time notifications of new properties and open houses identified through the user’s customized saved searches
Bootstrap Software was responsible for developing and building the Coldwell BankerReal Estate mobile application.
iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Computers, Inc.
Android is a trademark of Google Inc. Use of this trademark is subject to Google Permissions.
About Coldwell Banker Real Estate
Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier full-service real estate provider. In 2008, Franchise Times magazine’s prestigious Top 200 issue ranked the Coldwell Banker system No. 1 in real estate for the ninth straight year and 12th among franchisors in all industries. The Coldwell Banker System has approximately 3,500 residential real estate offices and more than 101,000 sales associates in 47 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker System is a leader in the industry in residential and commercial real estate, and in niche markets such as resort, new home and luxury property through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® division. It is a pioneer in consumer services with its Coldwell Banker Concierge® Service Program and award-winning Web site, www.coldwellbanker.com. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.
COLLEGE STATION— “It appears we are at the bottom of the housing market in most Texas cities,” said Real Estate Center Director Mark Dotzour after reviewing the state’s latest home sale numbers.
Dotzour mentioned two years ago that new home construction needed to fall dramatically to avoid the level of overbuilding that could damage Texas housing markets. He even picked summer 2009 as the bottom of the housing cycle because bankers would constrain credit to homebuilders and developers.
Apparently he was right on all counts. The Texas inventory of unsold new and existing homes is in good shape.
“I feel now is the time to buy a house in most Texas cities,” he said. “Housing affordability has never been higher, and I never thought I would see 5 percent mortgages in my lifetime. If you plan to live in the house for at least two or three years, now is the time to buy.
“If you are planning to build a home to retire to in the near future, now is a great time to do it. Contractors are plentiful, construction costs are lower and mortgage money is cheap,” he said.
Dotzour said mortgage rates should remain low as long as the federal government continues to purchase almost all residential mortgages. When they stop, rates will move up.
The Center’s chief economist is quick to note, however, that everything hinges on one crucial assumption — “that the federal government doesn’t cause further damage to the U.S. economy with higher levels of intervention in healthcare, taxation, cap and trade and rewriting accounting and legal standards.”
The Obama administration introduced an $8000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers in February in order to stimulate the housing market. Some believe the government should do more and offer incentives to all homebuyers. Johnny Isakson, a Republican Senator, has submitted a proposal to offer all buyers a $15,000 tax credit for home purchases. Isakson said the rising number of foreclosures "is continuing to precipitate a downward spiral in values, loss of equity by the American people and a protracted, difficult economic time." Analysts believe that the proposal may not find favor with Congress.
"There is bailout burnout across the country," said Brian Gardner, senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. "There's an argument for the stimulus, but the possibility of the bill passing is unclear," said Gardner. The proposal will cost the government $30 billion. Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst for Concept Capital's Washington Research Group, said that "in an era of record deficits, it will be hard for lawmakers to accept that cost." The National Association of Realtors and National Association of Homebuilders have welcomed the bill since they expect the proposal to eliminate oversupply of homes and stabilize the property market.
Texas home prices remain stable and a home is a good investment.
FHA loan limits have been raised temporarily.
Receive up to $8000.00 tax credit on homes purchased before December 1, 2009
Interest Rates are LOW!
1. Texas Home prices remain stable. Nationally, home prices dropped 4.5 percent last year for the overall index (which includes financing and re-financings) and 8.2 percent based on purchases-only data. But latest home appreciation rates released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) indicated Texas fared well in 2008, especially compared with the rest of the country- in fact Texas home prices increased an average 2.1 percent last year! What does this mean for you...a homeowner or a new
homebuyer? The Killeen-Temple-Ft. Hood area home appreciation rates were up by 2.5%, this means that owning or buying a home in the Central Texas area is still a good investment!
2. FHA Loan limits have been raised temporarily. If you qualify for a FHA loan, FHA Loan limits for the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Area increased from $200,160.00 to
$271,050.00 for a one-unit property. This temporary new increase is established for 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and allows homebuyers more flexibility in choosing the right home.
3. Receive up to a $8000.00 tax credit on homes purchased before December 1, 2009. As mentioned in our last month’s newsletter…. First-time Homebuyers can claim a tax credit worth $8000.00 - or 10% of the home’s value, whichever is less on their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. To qualify for the credit the home purchase must be made between January 1, 2009 and November 30, 200, the buyers must be First-time homebuyers (may not have owned a home for the past three years), and they must live in the home for at least three years or they will be obligated to pay back the credit. For more information visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.
4. Interest Rates are low. Interest rates are the lowest they have been in the past five years. Lower interest rates mean lower payments and puts money back into your
pocket for other expenses. Owning a home is a good investment.
(Forbes.com) – Texas has nine of the top 20 best cities for job growth in the United States, according a new study. Texas dominated every category, led by number one-ranked Odessa.
Others on the list are Longview (3), Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood (5), Austin–Round Rock (6), McAllen-Edinburg-Mission (7), Laredo (8) and Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown (10). Next come College Station–Bryan (16) and San Antonio (20).
The study used job growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 333 U.S. regions.
TEXAS (The Eagle, Beaumont Enterprise, Associated Press) – Texas' foreclosure filings last month dropped 14.1 percent from a year earlier but increased 7.9 percent from January, according to the latest report from RealtyTrac, a foreclosure-listing firm.
Those numbers compared favorably to the nation's. RealtyTrack reported that, nationally, nearly 291,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice last month. That is up 30 percent from February 2008 and 6 percent from January.
The news varied throughout the state. For example, Brazos County experienced a slight uptick in foreclosures.
RealtyTrac listed a total of 58 bank-owned properties in the county since late 2006. Of those, 17 were entered over the months of January and February, compared with two properties entered from the same period of 2008.
Meanwhile, farther east, the Jefferson County clerk’s office records show that banks filed 67 notices in January, 97 notices in February and 28 so far in March. That compares with 141, 91 and 66 notices in those respective months last year.
Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said he believes more people in the area will face foreclosure in the coming months. In Beaumont, some areas may see higher rates than others, and those areas may be subdivisions where creative financing was used to get people into homes that they maybe could not afford.