Real Estate Center Online News

February 17, 2012

State’s Mortgage Delinquency Rate Up

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Texas’ mortgage delinquency rate in fourth quarter 2011 was about a third of a percentage point higher than in the previous quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported yesterday.

During the last three months of 2011, more than 276,000 Texas homeowners (9.07 percent) had missed a mortgage payment. Nationally, the rate was 7.58 percent.

According to the mortgage bankers, Texas now has the 14th-worst mortgage delinquency rate among the states.

One bright side: Texas' fourth quarter delinquency rate was less than it was at the end of 2010.

New HUD Rule Ensures Equal Housing Access

WASHINGTON (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new regulations ensuring that eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, have access to important housing programs.

The final rule includes several provisions for the two groups, including equal access to HUD-assisted housing and FHA mortgage programs.

Regulations also prohibit owners of HUD-assisted housing to ask about applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity in determining program eligibility.

The new published rule goes into effect March 5, according to the Texas Association of Realtors.

Travis County Cries 'Uncle!' Over Ants

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Travis County, say hello to the "crazy ant," a new pest that will invade your home with thousands of his friends.

On this week's Real Estate Red Zone podcast, we visit with Texas AgriLife Extension Pest Management Specialist Wizzie Brown to learn more about these critters and to find out what Texans should do if their property is infested.

We'll also cover news from Houston, Dallas, Amarillo, Central Texas, San Angelo and the Valley.

You can listen to the free podcast from your computer by going to and clicking the “play” button beneath each episode. To subscribe, click on the RSS feed found on the podcast page. You can also subscribe through iTunes and download each episode to your iPod.

CenterPoint Energizing H-Town’s East End

HOUSTON (Houston Business Journal) – CenterPoint Energy Inc. plans to consolidate some of its local operations in a new 122,000-sf building in Houston’s East End. The domestic energy delivery company broke ground on the project yesterday.

The building is slated for completion later this year. Afterward, it will house 225 CenterPoint employees.

Architecture firm PGAL designed the facility, which is on ten acres at 6363 Navigation Blvd. Locally based David E. Harvey Builders Inc. is the general contractor.

The new building will have space for training, warehousing, construction, maintenance, fabrication shop and management.

Land Conference Registration Open

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Registration is open for our 22nd Annual Outlook for Texas Land Markets.

The conference is April 19 and 20 at the Omni Hotel in San Antonio. It will cover legal, economic, social and natural resource issues influencing current land market dynamics.

Speakers include Mark Dotzour, Charles Gilliland, Judon Fambrough and Joe Outlaw.

Through March 19, cost is $220 for just the conference, and $245 for both the conference and the TREC Ethics MCE course. After March 19, those costs go up to $240 and $270.

The conference is presented by the Real Estate Center and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Capital Farm Credit is the conference underwriter, and Texas Land Bank Farm Credit is a platinum sponsor.

For more information, including the agenda and speaker lineup, see our conference brochure.

Three Towers Face Foreclosure in Dallas Area

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Three Dallas-area office complexes, including two in Las Colinas, are scheduled for foreclosure on March 6.

The Stemmons Place complex, the 125 John Carpenter Freeway tower and the MacArthur Center building are owned by Equastone, a California-based investor that has sold most of its other Dallas-area properties.

The foreclosure filings were made by GE Capital, which holds $150 million in debt on the buildings. The level of debt on the properties is greater than their value as indicated by current tax appraisals.

Stalled Dallas Development's New 'Victory'

DALLAS (Dallas Morning News) – Developers will begin construction on a new 400,000-sf office building and 378-unit apartment building in Victory Park, a mixed-use center in downtown Dallas.

The 23-story office tower will be KDC’s first development project in the area. The five-story apartment building is being developed by Mill Creek Residential Trust, and will be located across from KDC’s building, adjacent to Victory Park’s DART light rail station.

These will be the first construction projects in Victory Park in more than five years. The new office tower, slated to begin construction this fall, will be the largest project at Victory Park since the 75-acre development began in the late 1990s.

Although retail and condominium sales in the area have not fared as well, Victory Park investor Estein & Associates hopes the new office tower and apartment building will help spur future growth there.

Port Houston Getting Plastics-Blending Facility

HOUSTON (Ewing Construction) – Construction has begun on La Porte Terminals 5 and 6 for La Porte Terminal LP, a subsidiary of global manufacturing and logistics firm Katoen Natie.

The project, with construction value of about $17 million, is on Port Houston with access from SH 225.

The approximately 450,000-sf facility is scheduled to be completed this December. Once complete, Katoen Natie will use the facility for manufacturing, storing and shipping light polymer products.

The project will include a detention pond and rail yard for the plastics-blending facility.

Corpus Christi-based Ewing Construction Co. Inc. is building the facility, which will be the sixth phase of work on this site for Belgium-based Katoen Natie.

TREC, TALCB Redesign Online Licensing Tool

AUSTIN (Texas Real Estate Commission) – The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board have updated their online license services tool after months of redesign work and focus group testing.

According to the agencies, the “My License Online Services” tool has a more intuitive user interface where license holders can now update license information easily and without security token numbers.

The change to the web tool is the first of many that TREC expects will improve customer service over the next year.

Where the (Recycled) Rubber Meets the Road

HOUSTON (Ewing Construction) – Corpus Christi-based Ewing Construction Co. Inc. has begun work on phase two of the new Houston Tire Recycling Facility for Genan Inc., a Denmark-based scrap tire recycling firm.

The roughly 250,000-sf facility is on 25 acres at 18038 Beaumont Hwy. in Houston.

According to Ewing Construction, the automated facility will be the largest of its kind in the world and will produce high-quality rubber, fiber and steel from scrap tires.

The facility, which was designed by Powers Brown Architects, Provident Engineering and Infrastructure Associates, is expected to be completed in two years. The construction contract is valued at approximately $33 million.

We Stand Corrected

COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – In DivcoWest's recent purchase of Prominent Pointe I and II, we reported that Holliday Fenoglio Fowler (HFF) arranged acquisition financing.

HFF was the exclusive representative of the borrower, Divco, while Texas Realty Capital LP was the exclusive representative of the lender, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada.

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