The Austin-San Antonio Corridor is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States, currently home to just over 4 million people and expected to grow to 6-7 million people by 2030. Historically, each 1% of regional population increase translates into 3-4% increase in traffic on Interstate 35. Because of our geographical location in the center of the country at the convergence of two Interstate highways (the north/south IH-35 and the east/west IH-10), and midway between North and South America, the Corridor has become a nationally-significant hub for international commerce – a fact highlighted by the signing of the North American Free Trade Act in San Antonio in 1994. Today, 48% of the nation’s $900 billion in NAFTA trade either originates in or is destined for Texas – the vast majority of it traveling by truck up Interstate 35 through our region. This river of trade fuels millions of Texas jobs, but it comes with a price: Interstate 35 in the Austin-San Antonio Corridor has been ranked as the 4th most congested Interstate in the US, and the 3rd most-congested spot for trucks anywhere on the US Interstate System. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, this congestion is costing the Austin-San Antonio Corridor over $1 billion per year in lost time, wages, and fuel costs. A study of Interstate 35 from Mexico to Canada (1700 miles across six states) by the Federal Highway Administration found that the highest vehicle counts, the worst congestion, the slowest average speed-per-mile, the lowest levels-of-service, the most accidents, and the most fatalities (more than 100 per year) all occurred along IH-35 in the Austin-San Antonio Corridor. Freight rail traffic through the Corridor is impacted by the same pressures of population growth and increased NAFTA trade that confront Interstate 35. The Union Pacific Railroad line that parallels IH-35 from Laredo to Round Rock - built nearly 150 years ago - currently has 137 at-grade crossings in the Corridor, creating public safety issues (eight ‘serious’ accidents per year), traffic congestion at grade crossings, and the threat of hazardous materials moving through populated areas. Growth in rail volumes and traffic is expected to also increase dramatically over the next several decades with expansion of the US and Mexican economies and as a doubling of capacity at the Panama Canal comes online in 2014. Pike Powers stated, and I quote: "Between Austin & San Antonio, our combined talent, universities, innovation and existing assets rival the most well-funded & 'innovational cleantech'[SIC] regions in the world." So what's next? Stay tuned. Report Gathered by Charles Nehme, Realtor JP & Associates REALTORS www.austinmyhome.com
AUSTIN’S SECOND DOWNTOWN Massive 6 million-square-foot development breaking ground in North Austin neighborhood By John Egan - Culture Map Austin - Oct 3, 2019, 10:15 am Brandywine Broadmoor campus Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2020. A massive mixed-use development that’ll be a next-door neighbor of the Domain complex is taking shape in North Austin. Philadelphia-based Brandywine Realty Trust plans to kick off construction in mid-2020 on the initial component of what’s envisioned as a more than 6 million-square-foot mixed-use development at its Broadmoor campus. The campus — currently anchored by about 800,000 square feet of offices for IBM but lacking a mixed-use element — is on Burnet Road just south of North MoPac Boulevard, across from the Domain and Domain Northside. The first parcel set to be developed will house 330,000 square feet of offices and about 300 apartments on almost 5 acres. Completion is scheduled for the first half of 2022. Brandywine has forecasted that the entire project should be completed by 2036 and will eventually include shops, restaurants, condos, and a hotel. Brandywine promotes the Broadmoor development as being at the "heart" of Austin’s "second downtown." "Brandywine is creating a true, urban, prototypical live-work-play environment in Broadmoor with fantastic connectivity and vibrancy, a tremendous draw for Austin’s deep and growing talent pool," says Barry Haydon, senior vice president of JLL, which recently was tapped as the retail leasing adviser for the project. Brandywine gained zoning approval from the Austin City Council in May 2018 to develop Broadmoor. The project also will feature over 10 acres of parkland, as well as access to more than 23 miles of existing and planned jogging trails and bike routes. A key selling point of the 66-acre Broadmoor complex, however, will be a new MetroRail stop. "We do think that a differentiating factor … at Broadmoor is obviously drafting off the amenity base that’s in place at the Domain," Brandywine President and CEO Jerry Sweeney told Wall Street analysts in July. Seeking an alternative to costlier office space in Austin’s traffic-clogged downtown area, major office tenants like Amazon, Blackbaud, Facebook, Indeed, and Vrbo (formerly HomeAway) have helped drive up the popularity of the Domain and the adjacent Domain Northside. A Broadmoor marketing brochure shows the new construction will comprise: * 3.2 million square feet of offices (equivalent to about six Frost Bank towers). * 2.9 million square feet of apartments (equivalent to nearly 12 Gallery at Domain apartment complexes). * 382,000 square feet of retail space (close to one-third the size of Lakeline Mall). * 248,000 square feet of hotel space (nearly one-sixth the size of Fairmont Austin, the city’s largest hotel by number of rooms). Eventually, another 5 million square feet of space might be tacked onto the Broadmoor project, Brandywine says. If that were to happen, the campus would exceed 11 million square feet. By comparison, the Pentagon — the world’s largest office building — covers about 6.6 million square feet. Already on the Broadmoor site are seven office buildings, occupied mostly by IBM. Sweeney says options for IBM’s long-term presence at Broadmoor include renewing the lease for its current space or shifting its offices to a brand-new building. At one point, the Broadmoor site was touted as a possible location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Austin was a finalist for the so-called Amazon HQ2 project, but the economic prize wound up going to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Eric DeJernett, senior vice president in the Austin office of commercial real estate services company CBRE, says the Major League Soccer stadium planned for a site at Burnet Road and Braker Lane is further evidence of the mixed-use potential of the Domain vicinity. The Burnet and Braker corridors "are already dense with development and attracting more and more uses," DeJernett says, "as the Domain anchors the area as a true mixed-use hub in North Austin. It is clear that the area in and around the Domain is becoming Austin’s second urban area."
Great Day For Mortgage Rates, But There's a Catch September 23, 2019 Mortgage rates added to last week's friendly rebound with their best single-day drop in more than a month today. Weak economic data in Europe and tepid domestic data helped drive demand in safe-haven bond markets. Higher bond market demand means lower rates, all other things being equal. But it can take some time for movement in the bond market to translate to changes in mortgage lenders' rate sheets. Most of today's improvements were due to bond market gains that were already in place by this morning. As the day progressed, bonds drifted back in the other (less friendly) direction. When that sort of drift results in enough bond market movement, mortgage lenders can change their rate offerings in the middle of the day. Several of them did so today. Those who didn't will be more likely to offer slightly higher rates in the morning (unless bonds manage to bounce back in a friendlier direction again overnight). Loan Originator Perspective Bond markets posted small gains Monday, as ECB Chairman Draghi's comments prompted global growth concerns. It appears we've weathered the worst of our post Labor Day rate run-up, at least for now. Looks like bonds are content to stay in current ranges at the moment. I am locking applications closing within 30 days for all but the most risk-craving clients. - Ted Rood, Senior Originator Today's Most Prevalent Rates 30YR FIXED -3.75% FHA/VA - 3.375% 15 YEAR FIXED - 3.375% 5 YEAR ARMS - 3.25-3.75% depending on the lender Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations 2019 has been the best year for mortgage rates since 2011. Big, long-lasting improvements such as this one are increasingly susceptible to bounces/corrections and as of September, it looks like such a correction is underway Fed policy and the US/China trade war have been key players. Major updates on either front could cause a volatile reaction in rates The Fed and the bond market (which dictates rates) will be watching economic data closely, both at home and abroad, as well as trade war updates. The stronger the data and trade relations, the more rates could rise, while weaker data and trade wars will lead to new long-term lows. Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders. The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable. Rates appearing on this page are "effective rates" that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.
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Texas Supreme Court sides with short-term renters, likely bolstering state’s fight against Austin’s ordinance Friday's ruling doesn't directly address regulations implemented by some Texas cities restricting homeowners' use of services like Airbnb. But it bolsters the case against the City of Austin's short-term rental ordinance in several major ways, lawyers said. The Texas Supreme Court has sided with short-term renters, delivering a win to Texas homeowners who hope to take advantage of websites like Airbnb and HomeAway, and likely bolstering a separate, ongoing case against the City of Austin’s short-term rental ordinance. Kenneth Tarr bought a home near San Antonio in 2012, but when his employer transferred him to Houston two years later, he began to rent it out on a short-term basis. His homeowners’ association soon took issue with that, telling him that the practice violated his deed restrictions, which said his home had to be used "solely for residential purposes." Tarr and his lawyers argued that short-term rentals did constitute a residential purpose: Visitors ate, slept and entertained themselves as anyone would at home. The homeowners’ association countered that Tarr’s property operated more like a hotel than a home, meaning it was primarily serving a commercial purpose. "So long as the occupants to whom Tarr rents his single-family residence use the home for a ‘residential purpose,’ no matter how short-lived, neither their on-property use nor Tarr’s off- property use violates the restrictive covenants in the Timberwood deeds," Justice Jeff Brown wrote Friday for a unanimous court. Patrick Sutton, Tarr’s lawyer, said Friday’s ruling will apply to homeowners in homeowners associations across the state, most of whom operate under similar deed restrictions — and its impacts may even reach further than that. "This is about as strong of a property rights type opinion as one can imagine," Sutton said. "It is broadly applicable to [city] ordinances and to deed restrictions — it tells us what nine justices on this current court think about people using their land." Separate from deed restrictions, there are also local ordinances on short-term rentals in place in more than a dozen Texas cities. While Friday’s ruling doesn’t directly concern those restrictions, the strong attention it gives to property rights and the court's unanimous support for it may well bolster the case of a group of short-term renters and guests who have sued the city of Austin, alleging that its short-term rental ordinance, one of the state’s oldest and strictest, unconstitutionally infringes on their rights. In that high-profile case — which has drawn the support of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — a small group of plaintiffs, represented by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, argue that by restricting short-term rentals, the City of Austin prevents homeowners from using their property as they see fit, and treats short-term renters differently than it treats long-term renters. Rob Henneke, a TPPF lawyer representing those plaintiffs, said Friday that "the Texas Supreme Court got it right." "This is a decision affirming private property rights," he said, noting that the reasoning in the case supports his argument against Austin’s ordinance in several major ways. In overruling a lower court’s previous decision on Tarr’s case, the ruling removes much of the legal grounding for the City of Austin’s argument, he said. A lawyer for the city did not immediately return a request for comment. The ruling also affirms a separate short-term rental decision that supports TPPF’s side, Henneke said. The decision marks the high court’s first major ruling on this issue at a time when short-term rentals — and the restrictions on them — are being litigated across the state. While short-term rentals have long been a reality, especially in vacation destinations, their spike in popularity thanks to web platforms like HomeAway and Airbnb has exposed holes and discrepancies in the laws that regulate them, ripening the issue for litigation across the state. Short-term rentals have also emerged as yet another local control issue in a state where Republican state leaders have moved more aggressively in recent years to override local decisions made by Democratic-dominated city councils. As that war proceeds, Friday’s decision marks a major victory for the state. Disclosure: HomeAway and the Texas Public Policy Foundation has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here. BY EMMA PLATOFF MAY 25, 201811 AM
Texas leads the nation in energy production. Across every part of the great state of Texas there is energy potential and production. With the second-largest population and the second-largest economy in the nation after California, second only to Alaska in land area, Texas is not playing second in the energy sector. According to The Perryman Report, "The energy sector has long been a major component of the Texas economy, generating substantial economic activity and opportunities. For more than a century, the state’s vast reserves of oil and natural gas have contributed to business activity and job creation. Production has risen sharply in recent years, and with improved recovery on each well, the cyclical nature of oil and natural gas exploration and production has diminished. In addition, US exports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are rising. In fact, the growth in production in the Permian Basin is creating a "global transformation of petroleum market." Texas production has risen dramatically in recent years, up about 500% since 2010. These increases began after decades of falling production and talk of "peak oil", Perryman reported. The increased production levels have led to a reduction in the need for imports. The Houston Chronicle recently reported, "That surge in production has helped drive oil imports to the U.S. Gulf Coast to the lowest level in more than three decades, according to a report from the Energy Department. In March, imports to the Gulf Coast averaged 1.8 million barrels a day, a more than 70 percent decline since 2007." Texas Has More than Oil Potential. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, "The state provides more than one-fifth of U.S. domestically produced energy. Crude oil and natural gas fields are present across much of the state, and coal is found in bands that cut across the eastern Texas coastal plain and in other areas in the north-central and southwestern parts of the state. Texas also has abundant renewable energy resources and is first in the nation in wind generated electricity. With a significant number of sunny days across vast distances, Texas is also among the leading states in solar energy potential. Geothermal resources suitable for power generation are present in East Texas, and uranium, the fuel for nuclear reactors, has been found in South Texas." Texas’ Energy Stats Highlights • Texas leads the nation in crude oil reserves and production. The state has two-fifths of the U.S. crude oil proved reserves and produces more than 40% of the nation’s crude oil, more than any other state and exceeding that of all the federal offshore producing areas • One-fourth of the nation’s proved natural gas reserves and about three-tenths of the 100 largest natural gas fields are located, in whole or in part, in Texas. The state leads the nation in natural gas production, accounting for nearly one-fourth of U.S. gross withdrawals in 2017 • Texas produces more electricity than any other state, generating almost twice as much as Florida, the second-highest electricity-producing state. • Renewable energy sources, primarily wind, contribute more than one-sixth of the net electricity generated in Texas. The state provided almost one-fifth of the total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation from all nonhydroelectric renewable sources in 2018, more than any other state. The Nation’s Standing The U.S continues to bolster its position as a global leader in oil production and reserves. According to ETF Trends, the U.S. is producing the most crude oil in the world, and we now have the largest reserves. "In its latest annual report of world recoverable oil resources, Rystad Energy finds that the United States currently holds 293 billion barrels of recoverable oil resources," reports OilPrice.com. "This is 20 billion barrels more than Saudi Arabia and almost 100 billion barrels more than Russia." The Houston Chronicle reported, "U.S. oil production likely hit a record of 12.5 million barrels per day in May — about 200,000 barrels per day above Energy Department estimates — and should grow to 13.4 million barrels a day by the end of this year, according to the Norwegian energy research firm Rystad Energy. By the end of next year, U.S. oil production should hit 14.3 million barrels a day." SOURCES: The Perryman Report Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas www.dallasfed.org/-/media/Documents/research/energy/energycharts.pdf?la=en U.S. Energy Information Administration – www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=TX Houston Chronicle – www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/As-Texas-oil-production-surges-crude-imports-13952600.php ETF Trends – www.etftrends.com/alternatives-channel/guess-what-country-has-the-worlds-largest-oil-reserves/ Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – www.dallasfed.org/research/energy/indicators/2019/en1906.aspx OilPrice.com – https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-US-Cements-Its-Position-As-World-Leader-In-Oil-Reserves.html