RE/MAX Cinco Ranch Katy Texas Real Estate - Houston Texas Real Estate. Learn about Katy, Houston Texas living. Discover the best places to live, reviews of Katy, Houston master planned communities. Wrapup on real estate news, and cool facts, happenings and info on Katy and Houston Texas.


Westheimer Road. Texas History

Westheimer Road

Nothing says more about a city than its names Westheimer Road

Is named after Mitchell Louis Westheimer (1831-1906). He came to Texas from Germany in 1859 and bought 640-acres of farmland, which became known as the Westheimer Plantation residence on the site of the present Lamar High School. With his wife he raised sixteen children: eight of their own, three orphans, and five children of relatives.

In the 1860s Westheimer built a school on his farm for the children of the area. He was a hay merchant and owned a flourmill, and also it was him who laid the first streetcar tracks in Houston. In the
1880s Westheimer opened the Houston Livery Stable. His nephews formed the Westheimer Transfer and Storage Company in 1883, which is still in operation today. The Westheimer family was active member of the oldest synagogue in Texas, the Congregation Beth Israel.

In 1895 Westheimer dedicated a portion of the land from his plantation to Harris County to provide right-of-way for a short-cut road to Columbus and Sealy. This road was denominated Westheimer Road and runs west from near downtown Houston over thirty miles to Fulshear. It is the longest major thoroughfare in Texas.

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OnTheAvenues SEO

Great place for information related to SEO, search engine optimization as it relates to web sites, blogs, and using SEO techniques for social networking and more. Latest news, processes and answers to questions to help you perform better on the internet by knowing how to use the proper resources

in reference to: Facebook | OnTheAvenues (view on Google Sidewiki)

Best Forex Program Reviews. Top Forex Software Reviews.

Unbiased Forex Software Reviews, Forex Program Reviews. Using the best Forex software will net you more in forex returns!

in reference to:

"Best Forex Program Reviews. Top Forex Software Reviews.Unbiased Forex Software Reviews, Forex Program Reviews. Using the best Forex software will net you more in forex returns!"
- Best Forex Program Reviews. Top Forex Software Reviews. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Trailer Life. RV Living

For People On The Road! Resource Guide For Trailers, 5th Wheels, MotorCoach. Trailer Living honors those folks who enjoy the freedom of being able to pick up and go whenever they wish. From trailer humor, trailer park living tips to useful RV, 5th wheel, motorcoach info to trailer parks and National parks information, RV cooking and so much more. We make trailer living and RV-ing hip, cool and fun.

in reference to: Trailer Life. RV, 5th Wheel, Motorcoach Resources. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Trailer Life. RV Living

For People On The Road! Resource Guide For Trailers, 5th Wheels, MotorCoach. Trailer Living honors those folks who enjoy the freedom of being able to pick up and go whenever they wish. From trailer humor, trailer park living tips to useful RV, 5th wheel, motorcoach info to trailer parks and National parks information, RV cooking and so much more. We make trailer living and RV-ing hip, cool and fun.

in reference to: Trailer Life. RV, 5th Wheel, Motorcoach Resources. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Real Estate Info. Phoenix AZ

Helpful group of realtor's from The Cutty Group providing insight into the real estate market, home loans, home buying, foreclosures,bank owned,short sales, home market news and all things real estate

in reference to: Facebook | The Cutty Group (view on Google Sidewiki)


Houston-Galveston Area Livable Centers Grant

Houston-Galveston Area Council Awards Energy Corridor District with Livable Centers Grant

The Energy Corridor District was recently selected by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) to receive federal funding to allocate toward furthering the creation of the District as a pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly area as part of the Livable Centers Program. Search ALL metro Katy and Houston Properties for Sale FREE through the Complete Texas MLS - Click Here

The Livable Center Plan is for the area within a one mile cycling and walking distance of the future Energy Corridor Transit Center at the Addicks Park & Ride Lot. The 20-year plan will develop the area as a mixed-use transit-oriented development with pedestrian connections bridging IH 10 to existing and future development on both sides of the highway.

To residents and employees in the area, this grant money will improve connectivity between existing neighborhoods and developments, provide an accessible pedestrian/bicyclist environment, strengthen accessibility to transit and improve pedestrian/bicyclist safety. The project has the potential to connect 30,000 acres of parklands to neighborhoods and businesses creating a destination for visitors, a more desirable place to live and a special work environment that will contribute to retaining and attracting the best workers to Houston’s energy companies. This increased availability of alternative transportation also will help reduce air emissions by encouraging more people to drive less.

Additionally, a parking management plan for the area will encourage more high quality infill development that is sustainable with a positive impact on the environment. This grant will further the Energy Corridor District’s goal of becoming the westside transit hub for Houston and a pedestrian and bicycle friendly community. Source:

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West Houston Trails Master Plan

West Houston Trails Master Plan Seeks Public Input at Sept. 9 Community Input Meeting and Online

Community recommendations are wanted for a proposed West Houston Trails Master Plan under development by the Energy Corridor District and the National Park Service with guidance from agencies and input from stakeholders. Community comments on the trail plan will be gathered at a community input meeting scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th, as well as through The trail plan encompasses 113,000 acres within a 6-mile radius centered at the intersection of IH-10 and State Highway 6.

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The goal of the West Houston Trails Master Plan is to develop a shared-use trail system that will connect existing and new trails throughout West Houston to improve commuter solutions, outdoor recreation, rain runoff management and habitat preservation while linking residential communities and business centers.

Three options encourage citizens to get involved:

  • A community input meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, 5:30-8: 30 p.m., at Maurice L. Wolfe Elementary, located at 502 Addicks Howell Rd. in Houston.
  • Through Sept. 30, 2009, visit to read more about the plan and provide online comments.
  • Add a link from your company or organization’s Web site encouraging visitors to log on to to give their input.

The West Houston Trails Master Plan initiative is led by the Energy Corridor District and the National Park Service with guidance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Harris County Public Infrastructure Department, Harris County Flood Control District, Houston Parks and Recreation, City of Houston- Planning & Development, City of Houston- Public Works & Engineering, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, Houston Community College and numerous diverse stakeholders.

The Energy Corridor District was selected by the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program of the National Park Service to receive planning assistance for the West Houston Trail System Plan. The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program helps carry out the National Park Service mission by working with local governments and citizen groups to revitalize nearby rivers, preserve valuable open spaces and develop local trail and greenway networks, all resources that link communities together. Source:

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Houston Ranked #1 Mega-Market of the Year

Houston Texas Ranked the #1 Mega-Market of the Year

Right on the heels of Site Selection naming Houston as the #1 metro in the nation for corporate relocations and expansions, Southern Business & Development has lauded the region as the Mega-Market of the Year. The region’s point total of 205 actually topped the point totals of 10 Southern states in the 2009 SB&D 100.

Rice Ranks #1 in Quality of Life

The Princeton Review recently cited Rice University as the top-ranked school in the country for quality of life. Rice also ranked 8th for “happiest students,” 11th for “lots of race/class interaction” and 19th for “great financial aid.

Houston's Skyline One of the Most Stunning in the World recently cited Houston as having one of the greatest urban silhouettes in the world. It joins such “instantly recognizable” landscapes as Sydney, Dubai, Paris and Hong Kong

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Lowest Mortgage Rates Are Brilliant.

Lowest Mortgage Rates Are Brilliant

From a past few years many people have made their way towards the mortgage companies to purchase their properties because of the easy installment facilities and Least Mortgage Rates. People have understood the word mortgage very well and this is the reason why the mortgage companies are thriving year by year or in fact day by day. Buying the property, taking the assistance from the mortgage companies is a simple method without burdening ourselves with the bulky amounts.

Some years ago obtaining a good and a luxurious house was only a dream or we can say that it was a difficult job, whereas these days by following some simple but perceptive methods we can achieve anything we want in our life. Successful mortgage companies like Mortgage rates Toronto have made the task of a common man easier by providing funds at affordable Efficient Mortgage Rates and also by fixing easy installments.

Actually some people are still in a confusion and do not exactly understand the benefits of the loan taken from the mortgage companies. For such people it is advisable to visit any of the leading mortgage websites and clear their uncertainties before making any major decisions. The major benefits which one can get from the mortgage companies is that they can consult and take the proper information, details from the brokers or the advisers systematically and then fix the Cheap mortgage rates procedures.

People can also take their assistance so that one can renovate the house because it is not always possible to spend a part of savings or even huge savings just to renovate the existing house. In this situation one can go in for the Mortgage Refinancing Toronto which means one can get the facility to take loan against existing property. In this procedure one also gets to know the cost of the property and the Mortgage Rates of the same.

This is a simple process and again one can get proper knowledge and details from the leading mortgage websites of the town. Ultimately it is a simple procedure for a common man which is advantageous for him/her to spend the additional funds to redecorate their dream house in a proper and a systematic way without paying a huge amount. My sister had also taken assistance from Mortgage Refinancing Toronto. She was satisfied with the Current Mortgage Rates.
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Affordable Home Mortgage Rates.

Goals Can Be Easily Set With Affordable Home Mortgage Rates.

Today, we have to consider life in an optimistic way. It has to be all about looking ahead and charting the course with precision. For a simple reason growth or the expansion of business is essential these days and that too with higher opportunities. To move ahead in life, we need to think about proper wealth management advice which the financial advisors can give us in a unique way. We can consider going in for Home Mortgage Rates which are very beneficial for a common man. They keep in their mind the financial plan of their client and then guide them towards the way which is most suitable for them.

They have several mortgage products which include the fixed rate mortgage, Interest only mortgage, Adjustable rate mortgage, Negative amortization mortgage, Tracker mortgage, Balloon mortgage, Graduate payment mortgage and several others. Each type of mortgage has its own benefits, terms and conditions and the borrower is advised to take proper assistance from the agents and then apply for a mortgage. Each mortgage product has a period of loan for which a fixed rate amount can be applied.

Here are some simple tips if we follow while going for the Affordable mortgage rates, we can benefit ourselves the most: 1] If the monthly resources of a person is planned before he/she goes for a mortgage, then he/she can be clear with the sum he/she has to deal with. 2] Strategy wise one has to be very specific about the investments and the debts.

3] He/she should not sign any papers without reading the details of the terms and conditions and see that he/she picks up the Affordable Mortgage Rates. 4] A borrower should also be conscious of the fine if he/she fails to pay the installments for a month or a two for any cause. I have a good practice of looking my finances before I plan any big financial investment. I definitely follow these tips and then proceed further.

He says that in fact taking mortgage for purchasing a house or any other property is a handy tool and it should be considered wisely. There are many Efficient Mortgage Rates and one has to choose according to the necessity. At Mortgage Rates Toronto my father has chosen Best mortgage rates and he says that he was very happy with their installment procedures. In the entire process one has to be wise and choose the Efficient Mortgage Rates.
If you are looking for the best mortgage rates, do visit John Smith’s site for all your Home Mortgages, and get the ideal Mortgage Rates now.

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Houston: America’s Most Enthusiastically Cosmopolitan City

Houston: America’s Most Enthusiastically Cosmopolitan City

The following is an excerpt from a special report on Texas as published in The Economist July 9, 2009.

Joel Kotkin, an urbanologist based in California, recently compiled a list for Forbes magazine of the best cities for job creation over the past decade…Mr Kotkin particularly admires Houston, which he calls a perfect example of an “opportunity city”—a place with lots of jobs, lots of cheap housing and a welcoming attitude to newcomers.

The article goes on to read…He is certainly right about the last point: not too many other cities could have absorbed 100,000 refugees, bigheartedly and fairly painlessly, as Houston did after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. With vibrant Asian communities alongside its balanced Hispanic, white and black mix, with no discernible racial tensions, and with more foreign consulates than any American city except New York and Los Angeles, Houston is arguably America’s most enthusiastically cosmopolitan city, a place where the future has already arrived.

Next year’s national census is expected to show that flourishing Houston has replaced struggling Chicago as America’s third largest city.


Harris Country Texas Energy Corridor News

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Celebrates “Topping Out” With Dream Tree
Brightly colored ribbons, each representing the dream of a Houston-area child, decorated a tree raised to the top of the Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus building last week celebrating the hospital’s “topping out.” The hospital collected more than 300 dreams that area children wished for themselves, their family or friends.

Girl Scouts Express Appreciation to Fire Station 78
As a thank you to Houston Fire Department Fire Station 78, located near Eldridge and Memorial, four members of Girl Scout Troop 12548 recently delivered a dozen hand-painted coffee mugs and homemade baked goods to the men that help protect the Energy Corridor. Painted during a Girl Scout outing at Glazed Over, each mug was designed to reflect the Energy Corridor and Fire Station 78. Troop 12548 whose members will be high school freshmen in the fall, spent time with the firemen, thanking them for their hard work and dedication and learning about what they do. Read More...
Energy Capital Run Offers Fun for the Family While Supporting a Good Cause
Join us for the 3rd Annual Energy Capital Run benefiting the Joint Association to Stop Spina Bifida on Saturday, October 24. The fun family event includes a 1-mile run for kids and adults, a 5K walk and a 5K competitive run. The scenic course begins at Plazas at the Parkway shopping center and winds through the Energy Corridor. The event culminates with an after-race party with free food, prizes and entertainment. Read More...
Grand Parkway Program P3 Industry Forum Slated for July 21
Harris County, acting as the representative for a seven county coalition of Houston region counties, invites all current and potential participants in the Public Private Partnership (P3) Industry to an Industry Forum on the Grand Parkway Program. The Industry Forum will be held on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to no later than 5:00 p.m. at the JW Marriott Hotel, located at 5150 Westheimer.Read More...

Tailoring Expertise at Elias Tailor Comes to Energy Corridor
With over 48 years of experience tailoring, Elias Moubark, owner of Elias Tailor, can work magic with whatever your alteration needs may be. Elias also specializes in tailoring custom clothing for both men and women. After 23 years at his Woodway and Voss location, he has moved to the District at 1140 Eldridge Parkway, Suite 110. Elias Tailor is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information about Elias Tailor, call 281-556-0206.
Property Owners Petition to Join the District
Energy Corridor District staff and SWA Group recently met with property owners to discuss plans for the Grisby Square “Letitia Village” area, also known as Grasshopper Square. The plan includes a parking management plan, street improvements, streetscape enhancements and tree protection.Read More...
Sidewalk Enhancements Ensure Greater Mobility Throughout Energy Corridor
The Energy Corridor District continues to improve alternative transportation opportunities in the District by adding 5 foot wide sidewalks and 8 foot wide shared-use trails along various vehicular corridors to advance safe pedestrian and cyclist mobility.

Texas Energy Corridor News

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Celebrates “Topping Out” With Dream Tree
Brightly colored ribbons, each representing the dream of a Houston-area child, decorated a tree raised to the top of the Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus building last week celebrating the hospital’s “topping out.” The hospital collected more than 300 dreams that area children wished for themselves, their family or friends.

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Cinco Ranch No. 1 Community in Houston Texas

Cinco Ranch is nation’s #2 for new-home sales: study
Community also #1 in Houston and Texas

Cinco Ranch is the No. 1 community for new-home sales in Houston and Texas, and ranks second nationwide, according to a new study just released by RCLCO, a leading independent real estate advisory firm which has compiled the annual list since 1994.

With 775 new-home sales in 2008, Cinco Ranch was one of only three communities on the RCLCO list to report positive sales gains for 2008 over 2007. New-home sales in this 7,600-acre community, a development of Newland Communities, increased 7 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year.

The only other communities on the RLCO list with positive sales gains – Telfair in Sugar Land and Eagle Springs in northeast Houston – are also located in Houston, and are also developments of Newland Communities. Overall, Houston was home to five of the top 10 communities on the RLCO list.

“Another highly positive trend for Houston – not reflected on the RCLCO report – is the fact that 2009 new-home sales for the three Newland communities on the top 10 list are on par with, or even ahead of, 2008,” said Ted Nelson, President of Newland's Central Region, which includes Texas.For 2009, Cinco Ranch reported a total of 254 new-home sales through April 19 – a 4.5% increase over the same period in 2008.

"Continued strong new-home sales in Cinco Ranch, Telfair and Eagle Springs prove that during uncertain economic times, homebuyers are choosing quality homes in well-planned, well-located communities with great amenities and lifestyle built in," Nelson said. “Homebuyers seem to be viewing large-scale master-planned communities as strong investments, especially those communities with strong track records, such as Cinco Ranch, now in its 18th year of development.”

Nelson added that Cinco Ranch had an eventful year in 2008, with the mid-year opening of a new 2,400-acre phase that will ultimately contain 5,000 new households. Newland Communities has also worked to expand new-home offerings throughout Cinco Ranch, ranging from neighborhoods appealing to first-time buyers with homes from the $160,000s, to custom estate homes priced in the $1 million range. All three Newland Communities developments on the list also posted increases in the average sales price of new homes in 2008. The average sales price was up 11% in Cinco Ranch, 6% in Eagle Springs and 3% in Telfair. About Newland CommunitiesNewland Communities is the largest private developer of planned communities in the United States. With a legacy that began in 1968, Newland specializes in comprehensive residential and urban mixed-use master planning with expertise in leading large-scale single- and multi-family new-home communities. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Newland and its affiliated companies are currently developing and managing nearly 40 projects in 14 states.


Houston Tx Healthiest Housing Markets for 2009

The Healthiest Housing Markets for 2009
Builder, in conjunction with Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, debuts its metric for determining markets with the best and least potential.
By: Boyce Thompson

With most economists and builders expecting a national market decline this year, this may not seem like the best time to be selecting the "healthiest" markets in the country. Virtually every market was down last year. But a close look at the numbers reveals that some markets have way outperformed others during the last four years and are likely to continue to do so this year.

When the housing market stages its official recovery, the markets listed on the following pages are likely to lead the parade. It may take a year or more for the weakest markets--where burgeoning foreclosure sales are still pounding new home values, making building and selling new homes an exercise in futility-- to finally stage a turnaround. We’ll present that list next week.

The healthiest markets have many things in common. Most of them are great places to live, either close to the ocean, mountains, or major universities. Most of them didn’t have a huge run-up in prices during the boom and aren’t experiencing rampant deflation during the bust.

To compile these lists, we analyzed the top 75 housing markets in the country. We ranked them based on population trends and job growth, perennial drivers of housing demand. We also examined what’s happened with home prices; many of the healthiest markets have managed to hold the line on home values. And finally, we considered the rate building permits, which may be the single best ongoing indicator of builder confidence in a market. We combined all these metrics to produce a score for each market. Here are the top 15, in reverse order.

15. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
2008 total building permits: 3,211

Though permit activity dropped sharply last year, Myrtle Beach remains one of the hottest markets in the country, especially when you analyze the number of permits pulled per resident. Only 263,287 people live in the Myrtle Beach metro area, which until recently had been growing its population by nearly 5 percent a year. That means builders pulled one permit for every 82 residents. A steady influx of people, many of them retirees, are drawn by close proximity to the ocean and 117 golf courses at last count. That has helped keep home prices steady; they fell only 10 percent last year to a very affordable $174,800. Most of the home building is split between Brunswick and New Hanover counties. Jobs are dependent on the tourist industry, though, and the metro area was rocked last year when a $400 million rock-and-roll themed amusement part, Hard Rock Park, opened and then filed for bankruptcy. Myrtle Beach added jobs last year, but as of December employment was decreasing at a 4.2 percent rate compared to a year earlier.

14. Wilmington, N.C.
2008 total building permits: 3,551

Wilmington has the second highest ratio of permits pulled per resident, behind only Myrtle Beach. The population here, 352,919 by Census estimates, has been growing at a 4 percent annual rate for the last five years, well above the national average. Primary residents are drawn by a four-season climate, close proximity to Atlantic beaches, and affordable housing. Median home prices, at $198,700, are just about the national average. The area gave back 1,000 jobs last year, after gaining 19,000 the previous three years. Wilmington has had a 60 percent decline in permit activity since 2005, around the national average, but its track record for population growth helps it make this list.

13. Charlotte, N.C.
2008 total building permits: 12,231

People and businesses must love Charlotte, because they are moving there at a high rate. The metro area of 1.74 million has grown its residents by 4 percent annually over the last five years, one of the highest rates in the country. They are drawn by relatively affordable housing for the east coast—median home prices are only $210,900, and they’ve only "corrected" downward by only 4.2 percent in the last year. A strong fourth quarter helped Charlotte record 12,231 permits last year, only a 44 percent decline since 2005. Charlotte’s strength relative to other markets led the investment banking firm UBS to predict last year that it would be one of the first markets to recover from the housing downturn. Charlotte is still a single-family market, with 62 percent of the residential activity in stand-alone homes. The job market in this banking hub contracted last year, after growing 3 to 5 percent annually the previous three years.

12. Denver, Col. 2008 total building permits: 8,800

Denver has been all over the home building news of late, with Beazer and Centex leaving town, then Village Homes of Colorado declaring bankruptcy. But the market hasn’t been hit as hard by the home building recession as other Western markets, in part because it didn’t experience rampant price appreciation during the boom. That’s partly because there’s lots of land available to develop in Denver. The median price of an existing home here was still an affordable $225,100 in the third quarter of last year, down only 11.4 percent in the last year (through 3Q 08). Denver enjoys one of the highest population growth rates in the country--2 percent annually for each of the last five years. Builders pulled 8,800 permits in Denver last year, down from 20,864 in 2005, a percentage decline that’s close to the national average. Denver is buoyed by a strong commercial real estate market.

11. Nashville, Tenn. 2008 total building permits: 8,142

Nashville, the 20th largest home building market, operated under the radar of the national housing boom. It didn’t ramp up wildly during the boom years, and it’s not contracting viciously during the bust. Median home prices remain an affordable $152,100, propped up by a growing job base. Eighty percent of the residential construction is single-family. Some of the market’s resilience stems from above-average population growth of about 2.3 percent a year. Back in the day, 2005, Nashville accounted for 16,654 permits; it now runs at about half that level. But that’s a better performance than most major markets.

10. Washington DC 2008 total building permits: 11,693

Washington D.C. showed signs last summer that it might be emerging from the downturn, then it turned south again. Even so, the area produces a ton of jobs—an estimated 35,000 in the last year—that fuel a vibrant housing market, the 11th largest in the country. Many of the jobs stem from contracts with the federal government. Washington D.C. remains a relatively unaffordable place to live, with a median home price of $332,700 in the third quarter of last year. But values have fallen only 24 percent in the last year in part because the population continues to grow—an average of 1 percent annually over the last five years. Home building patterns have changed dramatically in the nation’s capital with builders mothballing subdivisions well beyond the beltway and focusing on infill opportunities. The region remains one of the worst in the nation for commuters.

9. Fayetteville, Ark. 2008 total building permits: 2,989

Fayetteville has made some important lists in recent years. Located in the foothills of the Ozarks and within an easy drive of Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters, it has recently been named one of the best places to live (by Kiplinger) and to do business (by Inc.). Employment, which had been strongly positive since 2005, dropped somewhat in the fourth quarter of last year. Recent layoffs at Wal-Mart’s corporate office sent tremors through the market. But several Fortune 500 companies that sell products to Wal-Mart have established offices here, and they have helped Fayetteville achieve one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter. The University of Arkansas is also located in Fayetteville, and it has helped attract start-up businesses. Residents are drawn by an affordable housing stock; median prices average only $139,400, below the national average, and they’ve lost only 2.4 percent of their value in the last year. Builders pulled only 2,989 residential permits last year, down from 7, 449 in 2005.

8. Indianapolis, Ind. 2008 total building permits: 7,004

Builders are still pulling permits at a relatively healthy rate in Indianapolis, despite a virtually flat job market. Unlike other major markets that have become multifamily-oriented, single family still accounts for two-thirds of home building activity. Ultra-affordable housing accounts for some of the activity—the median price of a home here is only $117,900, making it one of the most affordable markets in the country. As a result, home prices have declined only 4.5 percent in the last year. At the top of the market in 2005, builders in Indianapolis took down 15,619 permits, so activity is down 55 percent, slightly better than the national average. Unfortunately, the relative health of the market wasn’t enough to keep Davis Homes, one of the area’s largest private builders, from going out of business last year.

7. Seattle, Wash. 2008 total building permits: 13,021

Seattle, a city of 3.4 million people, last year weighed in as the eighth largest home building market. Residential construction activity here, as measured by permits, is off only 50 percent since 2005, much better than most markets. Seattle has steadily transitioned during the last 10 years from an affordable to an upscale housing market, with the median price of an existing home reaching above $350,000. Even so, existing home prices fell only 11 percent in the last year. One of the secrets to Seattle’s success is that it has added lots of jobs in recent years; and held on to them last year. Some builders there have even stepped up their land buying in anticipation of a market recovery. As the city has become more urban, the share of single family to multifamily permits has reversed; multifamily now accounts for 58 percent of activity.

6. Raleigh, N.C. 2008 total building permits: 11,386

Another state capital with multiple universities, Raleigh was still adding jobs at a 1.9 percent annual rate though the third quarter of last year. With a population of more than 1 million, it also has one of the highest rates of population growth of any top metro market in the country over the last five years: nearly 5 percent annually. Though the price of a median home here, $221,900, is above the national average, it is well below other cities in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The metro area has added roughly 68,000 jobs since 2005, and employment held steady last year. With a glut of national builders in the market, locals such as Dixon Kirby have experimented with different looks and styles to keep sales alive.

5. Dallas, Texas 2008 total building permits: 26,145

In a year when permits declined 35 percent nationally, Dallas only experienced a 9 percent fall-off. With a population of 4.2 million, Dallas was the third largest home building market last year, as measured in permits pulled. Employers in Dallas, a popular place for corporate relocation and expansion, added 42,000 jobs last year, a growth rate of 2 percent. Existing home prices have held steady, falling a paltry 2.3 percent in the last year, Interestingly, the face of residential construction has changed dramatically in Dallas in recent years; 58 percent of the activity last year was in multifamily, compared to a five-year average of 23 percent. The relative stability of the market, though, wasn’t enough to prevent Wall Homes from filing for bankruptcy earlier this year. On the other hand, former Meritage co-CEO John Landon recently started a new Dallas-based home building company.

4. San Antonio, Texas 2008 total building permits: 10,261

San Antonio is another Texas market that is still adding jobs, about 15,000 last year. A city of more than 2 million people now, its population is also growing, at a 2.8 percent annual clip through the third quarter of last year. Existing home prices are barely declining in San Antonio, down only 1.8 percent in the last year, leaving the median price of an existing single-family home at an affordable $154,400, 25 percent below the national average of $200,500, according to the National Association of Realtors. The upper end of the housing market was hurt recently when AT&T announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters to Dallas.

3. Fort Worth, Texas 2008 Total Building Permits: 10,388

Fort Worth, always operating in the shadow of higher profile Dallas, nevertheless can currently claim to have a slightly healthier housing market, based on its employment growth, relatively strong permit activity, and inexpensive housing. Now the 14th largest home building market in the country, Ft. Worth’s builders pulled 10,388 permits last year, roughly two-thirds of them single-family. That may be half as many as 2005, but many other major markets showed much sharper drop-offs. The relative strength of the Fort Worth market in recent years stems from its ties to the oil and gas industries, which has fueled above-average job growth. The metro area added 17,300 jobs last year.

2. Austin, Texas 2008 Total Building Permits: 14,250

Nine years ago, during the tech bust, some builders felt that Austin was too crowded and left. The bloom is back on Austin’s yellow rose now; it moved up the leader board to become the sixth largest home building market last year. Job creation explains the move. While other markets lost employment, Austin added 17,400 jobs last year, 2.31 percent growth rate. It helps that Austin is home to both a major university, The University of Texas, and the state capital. Existing homes cost a little bit more in Austin than other Texas markets, roughly $190,900, but that’s still below the national average. Also, Austin is one of the few metro areas in the country where median prices actually rose in 2008--1.4 percent through the first three quarters of the year. Amazingly, Austin now generates more home building activity than Chicago, which has six times more people.

1. Houston, Texas 2008 Total Building Permits: 42,697 They like to do things big in Houston. Now the metro area, home to nearly 5.8 million people, can lay claim to being the largest home building market in the country, with 42,697 building permits. The market is still benefiting from an influx of population and jobs and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Ike. Employment rose 2.2 percent last year, representing the addition of an incredible 57,000 jobs. Home building activity in Houston has only fallen 31 percent since 2005. Also, existing home prices actually rose in Houston last year, 2.8 percent, to $160,200, still a very affordable level. Roughly one third of the home building action is in Harris County, followed by Houston proper and Fort Bend County. One of Houston’s largest builders, Royce Homes, shut down last year, and Kimball Hill, one of the biggest builders in Texas, closed its doors this year after it failed to find a buyer.
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Katy Texas. America's Fastest-Growing Towns

America's Fastest-Growing Towns
In the last decade, there have been hundreds of communities in every state that have seen significant growth in new homes.

Many of them are outside the urban core and often far from established centers of employment. In a new report, BusinessWeek poses the question: Will the current economic slowdown put an end to these communities?

"The boomtowns of this decade are not booming so much in the last couple years," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., tells the magazine. "It's possible those places will come back again. A lot depends on where the economy grows and where the new knowledge centers are."

BusinessWeek worked with Gadberry Group, a business location company, to identify communities in every state that have experienced the largest growth. The results were published in a report called "America's Biggest Boomtowns."

The top 10 fastest-growing communities:
1. Summerlin South, Nev., 618 percent
2. Katy, Texas, 168 percent
3. Wentzville, Mo., 160 percent
4. Spring Hill, Tenn., 157 percent
5. South Carolina, 156 percent
6. Brighton, Colo., 153 percent
7. Wesley Chapel, Fla., 151 percent
8. Lehi, Utah, 110 percent
9. Canton, Ga., 99 percent
10. Oswego, Ill., 98 percent
Source: Business Week, Prashant Gopal (02/06/2009)

Texas Boomtown: Katy
Household growth (2000-08): 168%
Household income growth (2000-08): 17%
Home value: $150,500
Katy, a Houston suburb, has seen rapid growth this decade as the energy boom kept Houston's economy strong. Katy area households grew 168% from 2000 to 2008, to 13,405. The average income jumped 17% during that period, to $75,914 in 2008. Search ALL metro Katy and Houston Properties for Sale FREE through the Complete Texas MLS - Click Here

Boomtown Slowdown
Since 2000, hundreds of communities across the U.S. have seen unprecedented growth in new
homes and income. Will they be able to survive?
By Prashant Gopal

Across the nation, once-quiet farming villages and industrial towns were transformed over the past decade into boomtowns. Their rapid growth was fueled by cheap land, nearby job centers, easy transportation, and a steady influx of homebuyers seeking large spaces at affordable prices.
Low interest rates and easy mortgages brought about a real estate explosion in much of the country in recent years. But in boomtowns, development powered on at a supercharged pace—sometimes sparked by a new sewer line, a new regional mall, or a new highway exit.

It was good while it lasted. But the housing crisis and the recent economic downturn have forced many of the America's fastest-growing towns to adapt to the new reality of falling home prices and rising unemployment. And it's not clear whether the builders will return or whether the nation's next boomtowns will rise elsewhere.

"The boomtowns of this decade are not booming so much in the last couple years," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "It's possible those places will come back again. A lot depends on where the economy grows and where the new knowledge centers are." worked with the Little Rock firm Gadberry Group to come up with the town in each state that experienced the most growth since 2000. We weighted a number factors, including growth in households from 2000 to 2008 and from 2007 to 2008, the emergence of new neighborhoods, the average length of residence, and the change in household income.

We expected to find towns with rapid growth in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and other states where the housing boom was most pronounced—and we did. In Queen Creek, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, and Summerlin South, Nev., on the edge of Las Vegas, the number of households increased 600% from 2000 to 2008—more than any of the other towns in the ranking. We also found some remarkable areas of growth in Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Idaho.

"Boomtown" is a relative term, however, in New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and other states where the population has been flat or falling. The number of households in working-class Allentown, Pa., for example, grew just 4% since 2000.

While it's impossible to know how these towns will do during the recession, they boomed for a reason. People chose to live in these places because they were well connected or, like the Charlotte suburb of Indian Trail, N.C., or Wesley Chapel, Fla., in the Tampa Bay metro area, were located in a beautiful part of the world. People flooded into Oswego, Ill., about 50 minutes by train to Chicago, because of its convenient location, good schools, and the beauty of its setting along the Fox River.

That isn't likely to change. And Hoboken, N.J., located across the Hudson River from New York City and filled with young professionals who worked at Citibank (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), and other now-struggling Manhattan financial firms, is entering an economic slowdown. But Hoboken's easy access to the city by train, bus, and ferry will always remain appealing.

"As a demographer, I find it interesting to know where the growth is happening," said Gadberry Group principal Larry Martin, whose data help retailers identify store locations. "Things are happening that are attracting new households. It could be a new industry, or the fact that school districts are recognized for doing tremendous work."

A Municipal Transformation
An explosion of development began in Queen Creek, a rural hamlet about 30 miles outside Phoenix, after the town installed its first sewer line in 1999. The population swelled from about 3,200 people in 1996 to 25,000 people today, said town manager John Kross, adding that the town's growth-management plan actually kept growth from really getting out of hand.

New residents, looking for affordable homes with land, mostly came from more expensive urban areas in Arizona, he said. And with the new houses came new shops and offices. About a million square feet of retail space opened in downtown Queen Creek this spring, Kross said. The town accommodated the growing population with new parks and trail systems, widened roads, and a new municipal building.

But like other Arizona markets, Queen Creek home prices began tumbling a couple years ago. Last year just 180 building permits were issued, compared with about 1,200 a year during the peak of the boom. "It has been quite a ride," Kross said. "Within 10 years' time, we transformed into a full-service municipality."

When the construction boom crashed a few years ago in the farming town of Elk Grove, Calif., south of Sacramento, it caught retail developers off guard. The launch of the 1.1 million-square-foot Elk Grove Promenade open-air shopping mall, originally set for 2008, has been pushed off until the end of next year even though the project is nearly complete. Not only is the developer struggling financially, but the mall is located on the edge of a rural expanse where Elk Grove was expected to develop.

"When everything was booming, the builders said, 'We're going to get ahead of the game,'" said Garrick Brown, director of research for Colliers International in the Sacramento regional office. "Usually retailers follow rooftops. In this case, they followed building permits."

Communities with the Biggest Growth by State

These are the towns in each state that grew the fastest during the housing boom. But now that the boom is over, will they continue to grow or go bust? Editor's Note: The boomtowns were limited to places with more than 10,000 households and were ranked based on growth in households from 2000 to 2009 and from 2007 to 2008, growth in new neighborhoods from 2000 to 2008, the average length of residence, and the change in the average household income from 2000 to 2008. The data came from the Gadberry Group, except for home values, which came from The variables were weighted and the 2000-08 household growth was given the most weight. The boomtowns are places, as defined by the 2000 Census block group boundaries associated with census-designated place. The ranking was created
specifically for BusinessWeek by the Gadberry Group, a Little Rock-based location intelligence firm.

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New Homeowners In Distress Bill

Obama throws $75 billion lifeline to homeowners

President Barack Obama threw a $75 billion lifeline to millions of Americans on the brink of foreclosure Wednesday, declaring an urgent need for drastic action — not only to save their homes but to keep the housing crisis "from wreaking even greater havoc" on the broader national economy.

The lending plan, a full $25 billion bigger than the administration had been suggesting, aims to prevent as many as 9 million homeowners from being evicted and to stabilize housing markets that are at the center of the ever-worsening U.S. recession.

Government support pledged to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is being doubled as well, to $400 billion, as part of an effort to encourage them to refinance loans that are "under water" — those in which homes' market values have sunk below the amount the owners still owe.

"All of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis, and all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to continue to deepen," Obama said.

The new president, focusing closely on the economy, in his first month in office, rolled out the housing program one day after he was in Denver to sign his $787 billion emergency stimulus plan to revive the rest of the economy. And his administration is just now going over fresh requests for multiple billions in bailout cash from ailing automakers.

Wall Street has shown little confidence in the new steps, declining sharply on Tuesday before leveling off after Wednesday's announcement. The Dow Jones industrials rose 3 points for the day.

Success of the foreclosure rescue is far from certain.

The administration is loosening refinancing restrictions for many borrowers and providing incentives for lenders in hopes that the two sides will work together to modify loans. But no one is required to participate. The biggest players in the mortgage industry temporarily had halted foreclosures in advance of Obama's plan.

Complicating matters, investors in complex mortgage-linked securities, who make money based on interest payments, could still balk, especially those who hold second mortgages or home equity loans. Their approval would be needed to prevent many foreclosures.

"The obstacles have not gone away," said Bert Ely, a banking industry consultant in Alexandria, Va.

Another cautionary note came from John Courson, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association.

"It seems to offer little help to borrowers whose loan exceeds their property value by more than 5 percent," he said, noting that that requirement would limit the plan's success in some of the hardest-hit areas in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona and parts of the East Coast.

Indeed, Obama himself said, "This plan will not save every home."

The goal is to lower many endangered homeowners' payments to no more than 31 percent of their income. But that depends on a high degree of cooperation by lenders who have been increasingly wary of new lending as the crisis has deepened.

Still, the Obama administration, after talking with mortgage investors, appears confident that it is providing the right mix of incentives and penalties to make sure mortgage companies take part. Obama said he backs legislation in Congress to allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of primary home loans — an idea ardently opposed by the lending industry.

"Taken together, the provisions of this plan will help us end this crisis and preserve, for millions of families, their stake in the American Dream," Obama said. Yet, he also added: "We must also acknowledge the limits of this plan."

He called on lenders, borrowers and the government "to step back and take responsibility" and said: "All of us must learn to live within our means again."

There's broad economic anxiety across the nation, an Associated Press-Gfk poll indicated.

Nearly three in four people say they know someone who has lost a job in the past six months as a result of the tough economic conditions, according to the poll, released Wednesday. And more than half say they worry about being able to pay their bills and about seeing their retirement investments decline. So far, Obama's job approval rating still is high, at 67 percent, and he is scoring strong marks for his handling of the economy.

The president unveiled his housing plan at a Phoenix-area high school in a state with one of the country's biggest foreclosure rates.

Nationally, Moody's says that of the nearly 52 million U.S. homeowners with mortgages, about 13.8 million, or nearly 27 percent, owe more than their homes are worth after many months of declining prices.

How soon will the new plan show results?

"You'll start to see the effects quite quickly," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters in Phoenix, noting that rules governing the changes will be published March 4.

In theory, homeowners facing foreclosure or borrowers owing more on their homes than their mortgages are worth would have more opportunities to refinance their loans so that they have lower monthly payments. Lenders would voluntarily participate in the government programs.

The $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative would provide incentives to mortgage lenders to cut monthly payments in an effort to persuade them to help up to 4 million borrowers on the verge of foreclosure. The goal: cut monthly mortgage payments to sustainable levels, using money from the $700 billion financial industry bailout passed by Congress last fall.

Another part would specifically help people with dwellings whose market value has sunk below the principal still owed on the mortgages. Such mortgages have traditionally been almost impossible to refinance. But the White House said its program will help 4 million to 5 million families do just that — if their mortgages are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

To boost confidence, the Treasury Department said it would double its support to the two mortgage giants that the government essentially took over last fall.

It said it would absorb up to $200 billion in losses at each company by using money Congress set aside last year and will continue purchasing mortgage-backed securities from them. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are projected to need a combined government subsidy of about $66 billion, well short of the new promise of up to $400 billion.

Obama emphasized that his plan focuses on helping families who have "played by the rules" stay in their homes.

But, he said, it will do nothing to help "the unscrupulous or irresponsible." He cited so-called speculators who took out risky loans on multiple properties to make money by selling them during the housing boom, lenders who took advantage of naive buyers by glossing over the fine print, and people who willingly bought homes that were way beyond their means.

"This plan will not save every home," Obama said.

Associated Press Writers Alan Zibel, Mark S. Smith, Jennifer Loven and Martin Crutsinger in Washington contributed to this report.

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Rivers Edge Master Community, RichmondTexas

Rivers Edge Master Community, RichmondTexas

Nestled along the high bank of the Brazos River, Richmond's newest master-planned community lies at River's Edge. The family-friendly community features 368 acres of Energy Star homes, exceptional amenities and space for commercial development.

River’s Edge features builders such as David Weekley Homes, Perry Homes, Newmark Homes and Plantation Homes from the $150s to $500s all with average lot size ranging from 55' to 90'.

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River’s Edge is located on the west side of FM 359, just north of U.S. Highway 90A, in a peaceful area near plenty of nature, yet still close to shopping and great restaurants. Designed for families seeking the community life, the neighborhood features great schools; pools; parks; a party barn; a sports complex with a volleyball court, baseball and soccer field; and a trail that winds through a 12-acre nature preserve along the Brazos River.

With more than 900 single-family homes priced from the $150s to $500s, River’s Edge features unique floor plans of some of Houston’s top homebuilders including David Weekley Homes, Perry Homes, Plantation Homes and Newmark Homes. Visitors to the community can see firsthand the diversity of home selection at River’s Edge with eight model homes on one street for one-stop shopping.

Another quality project from the developers of First Colony, River’s Edge is the perfect place for families to grow, live and play.
From great schools to pools, parks and a party barn, River’s Edge has it all.

* Adult and Children's' Splash Pool
* Nature Preserve
* Baseball Field
* Soccer Field
* Volleyball Court
* Party Barn
* Three Lakes
* Playground

Located approximately 4 miles from the City of Sugar Land, River’s Edge is situated in Richmond northwest of the FM 359 and 90A intersection with easy access to the Grand Parkway, Westpark Tollway and Hwy. 59.

• Nestled along the Brazos River near a nature preserve, residents can enjoy a small town atmosphere with an abundance of amenities for a modern lifestyle. Amenities within the community include glistening lakes and a sports center with an adult and children’s pool, sand volleyball, a party barn for community events, a baseball field, a soccer field and playground for toddlers.

• Students living in River's Edge attend Stephen F. Austin Elementary, a 2006 Texas Blue Ribbon Exemplary School for continuing excellence in education. Only 250 schools in the United States received this award, and only 26 of those schools are located in Texas.

• Area shopping includes First Colony Mall, Sugar Land Town Square, Randall's, Wal-Mart and H.E.B.

• Perry Homes in River’s Edge appeals to a wide variety of buyers with 3 homesite sizes to choose from. When completed, this 368-acre community is expected to house over 900 homes.

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Katy - Houston Real Estate Services

Katy - Houston Real Estate Services
RE/MAX Cindo Ranch Real Estate Services