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Cameron County South Padre Island Second Access Project Notice Of Public Scoping Meeting

On Thursday, May22, 2008, the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA), in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), will conduct a public scoping meeting for the proposed South Padre Island Second Access Project. As currently envisioned, the proposed project would extend from State Highway 100, across the Laguna Madre, to Park Road 100 on the island. Connection points to State Highway 100 and Park Road 100 have not yet been determined and would be contingent upon the alternative ultimately selected for the proposed facility.

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Ziegler Cooper Designs
Resort-Style Complex on Gulf Coast

By Kelly Sheehan, Online News Editor

The Sapphire South Padre Island South Padre Island, Texas-Ziegler Cooper Architects has designed a resort-style condominium complex for developer Randall Davis Co. Situated at the southern tip of the Texas Gulf Coast on South Padre Island, The Sapphire will include two 31-story towers with 200 condos, 14 townhouses and a three-story parking facility. The towers will be connected at the 20th floor, providing residents with access to terraces between the structures.

Scott Ziegler, Ziegler Cooper Architects principal in charge of living places studio, tells MHN that the project has already topped out, and units will be delivered in June 2008. The community was initially planned to be developed in two phases, but because of strong sales, the community is now being built as a single phase.

Condos will range from $450,000 to $900,000 in price, and from 1,400 to 1,900 square feet in size, Ziegler says

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Twelve Tempting Locations For Vacation-Home Buys

By Lauren Baier Kim

The recent softening in the U.S. real-estate market after years of double-digit percentage growth in home prices may make it scarier than ever to buy a vacation home.

Some regions are scary because, even with the recent dip, they seem prohibitively expensive. Elsewhere, buyers may have understandable fears that places that seem affordable will only become more so as prices continue to fall.

The editors at RealEstateJournal.com set out to identify potential vacation-home deals that would assuage the most nervous Nellies. We looked for appealing locales across the U.S. where prices rose at a rate well below the national average of 84.3% between the second quarter of 1996 and the second quarter of 2006, and have above-average employment outlooks according to data from Economy.com.

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House-Hunting as Vacation

By AMY GUNDERSON Published: October 12, 2007 - VACATIONING in Panama last spring, Chris Stanley complemented fishing and beach lounging with seminars on the ins and outs of buying property overseas.

When Mr. Stanley, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., thought about buying a home in Latin America, he decided he needed a primer. So he booked a seven-day trip with Tropical Pathways, a Texas company that runs real estate tours to Panama.

Days spent with real estate agents, loan officers and lawyers were followed by tours of high-rise condos, golf course residences, mountain homes and grand beachfront houses that were for sale.

My main goal was to get a sense of the real estate market,he said. I could have done it myself, but it would have taken longer to put together and probably would have been more expensive.

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SPI looking into massive beach project

RYAN HENRY October 3, 2007 - SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
After years of beach erosion, local efforts are underway to launch what City Manager Dewey Cashwell calls the largest beach recovery project in Texas history.

A pocket of sand in the Gulf of Mexico could yield tens of millions of cubic yards of material for South Padre Island beaches, according to the first phase of a study sponsored by the Island and its economic development corporation. The study also identified two other possible offshore sand sources.

An area in the Laguna Madre near the U.S. Coast Guard Station could also provide about a million cubic yards of sand, but itís difficult to transport to the beach, said Richard Franke, president of the Economic Development Corporation, which leads the Islandís beach restoration efforts.

Another area near the south jetty of the Brownsville Ship Channel could supply perhaps another million cubic yards of sand, Franke said.

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Improvement in Mortgage Market
Bodes Well for Housing in 2008

RISMEDIA, Oct. 11, 2007-Conditions in the mortgage market are improving for consumers, which should help to release some pent-up demand in early 2008, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors(R).

Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, notes that widening credit availability will help turn around home sales. "Conforming loans are abundantly available at historically favorable mortgage rates. Pricing has steadily improved on jumbo mortgages since the August credit crunch, and FHA loans are replacing subprime mortgages," he said.

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Homeowners are getting slammed as builders slash prices

By Mara Der Hovanesian and Christopher Palmeri

Updated: 4:27 p.m. CT Oct 5, 2007 Las Vegas was once the hottest of the red-hot real estate markets. But when sales really started choking up last year, developer KB Home did something drastic. Determined not to be caught with a big backlog of unsold homes through one of the industry's notorious down cycles, the builder started slashing prices. A lot. In the 1,400-home Huntington community, a subdivision of two-story stucco houses west of the famed Strip, homes that started at $320,000 a year ago are now listed for $270,000 -- just a starting point for potential deals.

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Twelve Positive Real Estate Trends for 2008

by Walter Sanford

Great agents are already thinking about business planning for 2008. They are developing their strategies for lead generation, marketing, human resources, and investing. I am involved in many of these strategy meetings from some of the nation's top agents and have found exciting and wonderful trends are emerging to make the top people in real estate even better in 2008.

1. Down payments are back! It is time that we get back to working with buyers who can qualify to get a Discoverģ card. The days of a real estate transaction depending upon the creativity of a loose lender are over. Fundamentals are back! The days of having a decent price with a qualified buyer who has money for a down payment are back again. Not only do buyers appreciate the opportunities that American real estate provides, but they also end up being better neighbors and citizens. Their longevity of ownership is not so dependent upon the cyclical rates of appreciation and the cost of money. They are more apt to improve their real estate and their neighborhood. So, qualify harder!

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Helpful Team Players for your Next Real Estate Purchase

Posted by EditorsChoice
Friday, 05 October 2007


Buying a house is a major financial and legal process that typically encompasses a wide range of smaller transactions along the way. A single real estate sale no matter how simple will usually involve a smorgasbord of different specialties, professions, and areas of expertise, not to mention the potential for myriad emotional and psychological demands and reactions. For most consumers a real estate purchase does, in fact, represent the most comprehensive and complex deal of an entire lifetime.

Those who venture into such undertakings can help ensure their success by enlisting the support of a talented and educated team of pros, and here is a recommended list to use as a starting point when recruiting help for your big home purchase project:

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Real estate buyout funds still on a tear

LORI MCLEOD
REAL ESTATE REPORTER
October 4, 2007


The private equity party may be over but the news hasn't yet made it to the real estate buyout funds, which are seeking $105-billion (U.S.) in new capital, a sixfold increase from January, 2006.

There are 206 real estate-focused funds in the market raising capital around the world, an explosion of growth in what was once a niche sector of private equity, according to data from London-based Private Equity Intelligence.

Last year, 116 new funds raised a record of $72-billion, and 2007 is set to surpass that amount with a total of about $75- to $85-billion. That's seen further increasing to $80- to $100-billion next year, the research firm said.

This contrasts with the rest of the private equity market, which is expected to raise slightly less this year than it did in 2006, said Tim Friedman, a spokesman at Private Equity Intelligence.

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Office landlords are flipping high-profile properties

Forget buy and hold; commercial investors are now playing buy and sell
11:24 PM CDT on Thursday, October 4, 2007
By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
stevebrown@dallasnews.com


Last November when Fortis Property Group bought the Galleria office towers, the New York investor was only the third owner since the project was started in the early 1980s.

After paying almost $290 million for the three buildings, Fortis recently hung out a for sale sign, expecting to reap a profit.

Stream Realty Partners
Stream Realty and partner Highland Capital Real Estate Fund bought the 55-story Chase Tower in downtown Dallas in June 2006 in a deal valued at $260 million. A year later, Stream was ready to sell the property for close to $300 million. The hoped-for quick turnaround seems to be part of a trend.

"Greater liquidity and leverage has created an efficient environment for private investors to realize substantial profits in a much shorter time frame," said John Alvarado of Jones Lang LaSalle.

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50 illegal Maui B&Bs & vacation rentals shut down


From the Associated Press,
September 10, 2007


Maui's long-established bed-and-breakfast industry has faltered since county officials cracked down on illegal vacation rentals, leaving the island with fewer accommodations for its many visitors, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Maui County officials told more than 50 operators of vacation rentals in July that they couldn't continue operating without permits.

Many family-run vacation renters and small businesses have suffered, said David Dantes, president of the Maui Vacation Rentals Association, which represents more than 100 vacation rental owners.

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Booking vacation rentals


The first tip: Start now. Plus: How to protect your investment.
By Gerri Willis, CNNMoney.com contributing columnist
March 16, 2006: 4:56 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - We may still be bundled under our winter coats in some parts of the country, but now is the time to start locking in your summer vacation rental. Early birds have already started to book the hottest summer rentals across the country.

In today's 5 tips we're going to tell you what you'll want to know when jockeying for your summer dream house.

1. Start now

January and February are the busiest months and already, ideal vacation spots are getting snapped up. You will want to book early if you want a rental that's on the water, available on a holiday weekend and notorious as a hot-spot during the summer months. And this means if you are set on going to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Hilton Head or the Hamptons, you better start your planning now.

In fact many families book their summer rentals at places like Martha's Vineyard a year in advance. If you're a bit more flexible with your destination and you're counting on finding a deal, look to the mountains. Places like Vermont, Colorado or Washington have their peak seasons during the winter, so you'll likely get better summer pricing at a mountain get-away, according to Anne Banas of SmarterTravel.com

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Phone: (956) 761-6961 - Fax: (956) 761-6966 - Toll Free: (800) 892-6278

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