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10 Reasons Why EarthShips homes are Awesome

10 Reasons Why EarthShips homes are Awesome | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Earthships are 100% sustainable homes that are both cheap to build and awesome to live in. They offer amenities like no other sustainable building style you have come across.

Michael Stuart's insight:

The most brilliant piece of engineering in the Earthship is their ability to sustain comfortable temperatures year round. Even in freezing cold or blistering hot climates, Earthships constantly hover around 70° Fahrenheight (22° Celsius).

This phenomenon results from the solar heat being absorbed and stored by ‘thermal mass’ — or tires filled with dirt, which make up the structure of the Earthship. The thermal mass acts as a heat sink, releasing or absorbing heat it when the interior cools and heats up, respectively.

The large greenhouse windows at the front of the house always face south to allow the sun to heat up the thermal mass throughout the daytime.

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10 Ways To Get The Beach Experience At Home

10 Ways To Get The Beach Experience At Home | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
Sunshine, yes. Saltwater, no. Bring home the best parts of the beach, and stay beach-ready at a moment's notice with Veet !
Michael Stuart's insight:

You don’t need to spend a day at the beach to get those sought-after beach waves. With just a few ingredients, you can make your own sea salt hair spray and fool everybody.

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Biking gender gap - bike trails on the Texas coast

Biking gender gap - bike trails on the Texas coast | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
Men ride bikes more often than women in America. Why? The reasons speak to more than just biking.
Michael Stuart's insight:

We need bike trails on the Texas coast!

Beyond traffic safety, personal safety is on the line as well. Grooming and getting “ready” keeps many women off bikes.

That’s a long road. But the data, at least, serves as a reminder of the strides we still need to make, and at best, offers some opportunities for action.

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Sea base rises from Ike's wreckage

Sea base rises from Ike's wreckage | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

The CEO of the Boy Scouts' Bay Area Council never imagined when he helped develop a plan for a modest sailing and learning center for Sea Scouts that it would become a state-of-the-art learning center on 10 acres overlooking a 39-boat-and-growing fleet moored at a modern marina

Michael Stuart's insight:

Unexpectedly, the devastation from Hurricane Ike opened an opportunity on Offatts Bayou on Galveston Island.

  • A five-story building built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane is now  a command center for the next storm.
  • It's equipped with electronic locks on dorm room doors that open only for youths wearing an electronic bracelet.
  • The building is designed to be a showcase for energy-efficient green technologies, with LED lights that go on when an area is entered and shut off when it's vacant.
  • Rainwater is captured for reuse, and a rooftop garden reduces heat inside the building and will provide herbs for the kitchen.

A house that sat on the southwest end of the property was placed on a barge and moved to the Bolivar Peninsula to make room for expansion.

Read the story at: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/bayarea/news/article/Sea-base-rises-from-Ike-s-wreckage-5787033.php

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Galveston: Rebels of Schlitterbahn

Galveston: Rebels of Schlitterbahn | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Galveston knows what it is and they’re not letting it go without a fight. They are the true rebels of Schlitterbahn, the Guardians of summer. Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark WILL extend your summer buzz.

Michael Stuart's insight:

Here are the top 10 ways Galveston Defies Fall:

10. Outdoor is open on the weekends until October 12th! I mean, why not?
9. And after that…we fold out our convertible roof and stay open!
8. Yeah, whatever we get it… it’s Thanksgiving and you’re thinking about Pumpkin Pie instead of summertime lemonade, but we’re still floating down rivers and sliding down slides.
7. We never really cared for pie anyways…we’re still rocking the Dippin’ Dots.
6. Just like a pro, we can’t afford to miss out on practicing our moves on the Boogie Bahn. Fall is prime time to perfect our skills!
5. Because where else between riding rides can you hang with Frosty
4. Why go shopping at the mall on Black Friday with your mom when
3. Create some Christmas bling for your tree and win something for it!
2. Snowing while swimming sounds like a family vacay gone wrong. Not in Galveston!
1. Why sit on Santa’s lap and give him your laundry list of things you want, when you can surf with him?


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Austin planners: Micro living units not right for this booming city - Austin Business Journal

Austin planners: Micro living units not right for this booming city - Austin Business Journal | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
Can micro unit residences fit into Austin? No, according to the city's Planning Commission codes and Ordinances Committee, which unanimously denied a recommendation that the city change rules to allow the construction of pint-sized efficiencies.
Michael Stuart's insight:

A rendering of a 410-square-foot micro-unit apartment floor plan from a student design competition. Austin's Planning Commission codes and Ordinances Committee doesn't think these are a good fit for the city.

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It Is Now Officially Impossible To Unplug On Vacation

It Is Now Officially Impossible To Unplug On Vacation | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

We know device addiction is a major problem in travel (and in life in general). A walloping 46 percent of working leaders continue to answer office emails while on vacation -- and as a culture, we just can't seem to unplug.

Michael Stuart's insight:
Unplug On Vacation

We know device addiction is a major problem in travel (and in life in general).

If you can't part with all your technology and goodies and general STUFF, you can now access all of it whilst you lounge!

If you can't tell, we find the whole concept just a liiittle bit embarrassing.

  • PoolSafe is a personal poolside safe box that's springing up in resorts worldwide. The box debuted in May at a Hyatt Regency in California and has since been integrated at select Westins and Marriotts.
  • PoolSafe is more than just a safe -- the gadget has GPS-tracking capabilities, cup holders for your cocktails and a call button for hotel food and beverage staff.
  • The box can wheel right up next to your chair, ready to cater to any and all plugged-in needs you may have while on your "getaway" from the real world.
  • Bobby Genovese, one of the project's investors, says orders are rolling in for the PoolSafe.

All we see is the need for a major digital detox.

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Beach Crowds Are Beautiful From 5,000 Feet In The Air

Beach Crowds Are Beautiful From 5,000 Feet In The Air | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Did you go to the beach this Labor Day weekend? You could be part of a work of art!

Michael Stuart's insight:

The project that eventually became Rose's Up In The Air series started back in 2000, when he was head photographer of the Kiteboarding World Cup.

Using a helicopter to film kiteboarders as they raced, Rose became fascinated with aerial photography.

But it was only after flying over the beaches during a kiteboarding final that turned his lens from athletes to beachcombers, snapping the herd-like patterns of oiled hides and colorful beach towels and umbrellas from the air.

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4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change May do to our coasts

4 Scenarios Show What Climate Change May do to our coasts | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report left no doubt about the future of the world if we don't slow the rate at which we release heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

Michael Stuart's insight:

The easier course, though, is to cut emissions. To have a fighting chance of coping with climate disorder, we have to cut greenhouse gases quickly, not just wait until it's convenient.

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Sexy electric supercar makes debut at Pebble Beach

Sexy electric supercar makes debut at Pebble Beach | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
The sexy car comes billed as the fastest rear-wheel-drive electric car
Michael Stuart's insight:

The company says the car's acceleration is faster than any other American production electric car on the market. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, the Renovo has two electric motors that produce the equivalent of 500 horsepower with rear-wheel drive. Yet the company managed to hold the car's weight to 3,250 pounds. It helps, too, that the car can get full throttle response in 37 milliseconds. Top speed is 129 miles per hour.

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Housing prices rise, inventory shrinks in Corpus Christi – report

Housing prices rise, inventory shrinks in Corpus Christi – report | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the coastal city’s robust housing market shows no signs of slowing, but affordable homes are in short supply. The inventory of vacant homes in Corpus Christi is one fourth the size it was just three years ago, but asking prices have climbed 19 percent over the same period, said Warren Andrich, president and CEO of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors.

“All things point to a continued favorable housing market,” Andrich told the South Side Business Council.

There are 1,860 houses available in the city as of Thursday, down 74.5 percent from 2011 when there were 7,300 houses on the market. In that time, thousands of job seekers have converged on the Coastal Bend, lured by opportunity from the Eagle Ford Shale energy play. Economists have speculated as many as 10,000 jobs will spring from it over the next five to seven years.

And that has helped drive up home prices.

The average sale price for a home in Corpus Christi was about $190,000 in June, up from $157,000 in June 2009, Andrich said. That’s a 21-percent increase.

“It’s supply and demand,” Andrich said. “We live in a place people want to come, so the demand is high.”


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101 Reasons You Should Live In Texas At Least Once In Your Life

101 Reasons You Should Live In Texas At Least Once In Your Life | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

#1 THE TEXAS COAST: Friendly people, cheap beach homes and many sunny days...

Michael Stuart's insight:

1. The existence of queso is reason enough to live in Texas, but we’ll give you a few more just for fun.
2. Blue Bell ice cream for days.
3. Whataburger.
4. Breakfast tacos.
5. Tex-Mex in general.
6. BBQ.
7. Frozen margaritas.
8. Drinking Dr. Pepper like it’s water.
9. Late-night Taco Cabana runs.
10. Pecan pralines.
11. Being able to eat cuisines from basically the entire world, all within the Houston city limits.
12. The delightfully confusing experience of hearing someone say “I’ll have a coke.” And then immediately ordering some other kind of soda.
13. Crunchy ice and happy hour at Sonic.
14. Homemade tortillas.
15. Home of H.E.B., Central Market, and Whole Foods. And FIESTA!
16. Freshly baked kolaches from Czech Stop.
17. Frito pies.
18. Topo Chicos, the only decent hangover cure in the world.
19. Austin being home to both the world’s best BBQ and being declared by PETA to be the country’s best place to be vegan, because we’re not afraid to contain multitudes.
20. Iced tea = sweet tea.
21. Pickle salt on all of your cheap beer.
22. Tito’s Vodka.
23. Deep Eddy Sweet Iced Tea Vodka mixed with lemonade.
24. Shiner Bock and visiting its adorable brewery.
25. The feeling of pure bliss that comes from driving under an endless blue sky.
26. Or falling asleep to the sounds of a summer thunderstorm.
27. Bluebonnets and wildflowers on the side of the road.
28. Wearing jeans and boots to any and all events.
29. Two-stepping the night away.
30. Floating down the river in the sticky, summer heat.
31. Listening to live music on any given night in Austin.
32. Exploring the unparalleled Texas Hill Country.
33. Not being limited to one type of terrain — caverns, beaches, cities, and deserts abound.
34. Southern hospitality.
35. The subtle joy of actually knowing your neighbors.
36. The men are true gentlemen.
37. And speaking of gentlemen, COACH TAYLOR lives in Texas, so there’s really no beating that.
38. Texas Forever.
39. The thunderous roar of a football game on a Friday night.
40. Fight songs and school pride. * cough * Gig’ Em * cough *
41. The Texas flag pledge of allegiance.
42. The feeling of living in a place people are proud to call home.
43. Finding a majestic state flag on literally anything that could have a flag on it.
45. NASA!
46. There’s no party quite like the Houston Rodeo.
47. Well, except maybe the Renaissance Fair.
48. You haven’t really road-tripped until you’ve been to Buc-ee’s (and used its bathroom).
49. Schlitterbahn — especially spending all afternoon going around and around in the torrent wave pool.
50. Getting to spot local celebs like Matthew McConaughey and Willie Nelson just chilling and with no one bothering them.
51. SXSW and ACL.
52. Lazy afternoons sitting in one of many of outdoor bars.
53. Running/pretending to jog around Town Lake.
54. Cute boys and foxy ladies with a sugary sweet Texas drawl.
55. Strangers who smile and say hi everywhere you go.
56. Two seasons: summer and slightly chillier than summer.
57. Three of the best NBA teams in the country in one state.
58. Homecoming mums are the prettiest and how do other high schoolers do homecoming without them?
60. A little bit of Spanish in everyone’s English just makes everything sound prettier.
61. Proof that there’s a ton of life in the desert.
62. Townes Van Zandt.
63. The late-night sounds of screech owls among the trees.
64. Giant live oak trees that remind you how small you are and how big and old the world is.
65. Exploring some weird and wonderful underground caverns and feeling like you’re on another planet.
66. This is the same place that both GEORGE STRAIT and BEYONCE are from, so you know it’s special.
67. To fully understand that “y’all” just makes sense and everyone should use it.
68. Awesome trucks.
69. Passing lanes on the interstate that are actually used as passing lanes.
70. Summer night dances at Garner State Park.
71. Knowing people that are actually just like the characters on King of the Hill.
72. Jackalopes.
73. Seeing authentic Texas blues in Deep Ellum in Dallas.
74. Living in a magic economy that keeps on truckin’ when the rest of country is flopping.
75. Texans of all political stripes are usually super serious about their freedom and think everyone should be able to do whatever the heck they want as long as it’s not hurting anyone.
76. The stars at night are big and bright.
77. The Marfa lights, not to mention all of their cool art museums.
78. Selena (RIP).
79. A chance to be an extra in movies like Dazed & Confused and Machete.
80. Houston rap.
81. The spring break parties along the Gulf Coast.
82. Learning that armadillos give birth only to identical quadruplets, which somehow makes them even cuter.
83. Watching the old couples at Gruene Dance Hall.
84. Cooling off in the Frio River, God’s true gift to mankind.
85. Spending a weekend antique shopping in historic Fredericksburg.
86. The blissful feeling of having absolutely nothing to do on a Sunday.
87. Nolan Ryan played for both of Texas’ baseball teams and he’s the best pitcher ever. Coincidence? I think not.
88. The Texas State Fair is the best in the country (deep-fried Oreos, anyone?).
89. The sweet beards and indie rock of Denton.
90. Luckenbach, Texas. Population: 3.
91. Romantic evenings walking along San Antonio’s Riverwalk.
92. The Houston Galleria is one of the best and biggest malls in the country.
93. Finding out that bats aren’t so bad (they eat all the damn bugs!).
94. Cadillac Ranch, where a bunch of art cars are buried in the desert because Texas?
95. Real authentic country music, not the pop radio stuff (see: Waylon Jennings).
96. Being so close to Mexico that you can basically say you’ve been there even if you don’t have a passport.
97. Camping at Big Bend national park, the most peaceful place on the planet.
98. Looking at the stars through the giant McDonald Observatory telescopes in Fort Davis.
99. Chilling on the beach in Port Aransas because Texas has beaches too!
100. Living in the state with the most state pride.
101. And finally, knowing for a fact that everything is actually bigger and better in Texas!

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15 Gems of the Texas Coast

15 Gems of the Texas Coast | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Texas Beach (Photo credit: Corey Leopold)

The summer heat can be a beast, but even more so if you live in a congested city.  If you want to get away to cool off and relax, Texas has more than 350 miles of wild coastal beauty waiting.  True, when you think of a beach vacation the Texas coast may not be the first to come to mind.  But if you know where to look, you’ll find the Coastal Bend full of beautiful locations ripe for summer fun.  

This list from Texas Monthly discusses in detail fifteen of the best places to relax in nature along the Texas Coast.  As a native Texan, I’m sorry to say I’ve only visited a handful of places on this list.  This awesome list even has several places I’ve never heard of.  To think, the Laguna Atacosa Refuge is close enough for a day trip, and I’ve yet to go watch for ocelots!  (Yes, real ocelots. The Laguna Atacosa Refuge is a 97,000 acre wildlife refuge is home to over four hundred species of birds and myriad other creatures.)

The Texas coast has so much to offer – read the rest of the list here for more.

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The Iconic Beach House

The Iconic Beach House | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
Anywhere you find a gorgeous stretch of beach and someone who appreciates it, you'll find a beach house.
Michael Stuart's insight:

 The beach house occupies a special place in our hearts. It represents warmth, fun, relaxation, and total freedom from the daily stress of urban living, even if it's just for the weekend.

The Texas coast has the charm of its old fishing village and modern cool like at www.cinnamonshore.com

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4 Reasons You Need a Company Retreat

4 Reasons You Need a Company Retreat | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

How to Host an Amazing Company Retreat

Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas

A company retreat may not top the “best vacation ever,” but it be something worth looking forward to that creates lasting memories and also helps drive the future of your company. If you do things right, you can put on an amazing company retreat that people will rave about all year. New Urbanism communities along the Texas coast, such as Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas and  Beachtown in Galveston, are great options for hosting work getaways that combine top-of-the-line accommodations with wild, inspirational natural beauty. Both communities feature on-site restaurants and pools, beach access and large beach homes that are perfect for informal meetings and after-hours gatherings.

Here are tips for planning your next company retreat on the Texas coast.

4 Reasons You Need a Company Retreat
When you really understand the benefits of a retreat, it sounds crazy not to have one. Here are several reasons you should allocate resources toward concentrated time together in a fun venue:

  • Connect in a different way. When your team interacts face-to-face every day, conversations naturally lead to hobbies, families, dreams, etc. Remote team members don’t learn those little things about each other like people who share an office space, and if you’ve ever tried to force a casual conversation on Skype, you know how awkward it can be. Getting away together lets all members of your team connect through shared experiences, which will make their workplace bonds even stronger.
  • Discuss values. As a startup, talking about values can sometimes feel a little silly and “corporate.” We only spend one meal during the retreat discussing what we stand for, but having the conversation is still effective. Addressing the topic briefly and in the right environment helps everyone internalize values and strengthens your company culture.
  • Think bigger. Retreats disrupt your routine so you can plan for the future. New ideas are often formed out of spontaneous brainstorming sessions, and retreats create the ideal environment for the free flow of ideas.
  • Celebrate together. If you’ve hit a big milestone recently or had a good year, a retreat provides the perfect time to reward your employees and do something unique to celebrate everyone’s hard work.

Additional Reading: How to Run a Company Retreat for Remote Teams

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Estimating Galveston Bay Tides

Estimating Galveston Bay Tides | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Coastal dwellers feel the influence of tides daily — but do you know how they work? 

If all you have is a schedule for the tides on beach front at the seawall, a crude “rule of thumb” for the bay is:

  • Add about an hour for tides around the Texas City Dike.
  • Add about 30-40 minutes for San Luis Pass tides.
  • Add two to two and a half hours for tides in central West Bay and far East Bay.
Michael Stuart's insight:

Tides are one of the most misunderstood natural phenomena.

If you asked a group of people what causes the tides, almost all would say the gravitational pull of the moon. Gravity decreases with distance from the source.

The earth is subject to what are called “tidal forces” from both the moon and the sun.  Tidal forces are the result of small differences in the combined gravitational pull of the moon and sun at different places on the earth due to differences in distance from the source.

Both the moon and the sun cause the tides. The moon is the major cause of the tides; however, the sun has an effect that is about half that of the moon.

Things get even more irregular when we look at Galveston Bay tides.

We are a barrier island with two rather narrow openings to a back bay. These two inlets (the Jetties and San Luis Pass) restrict tidal flow into and out of Galveston Bay. Therefore, bay tides lag behind beach front tides significantly.

Unlike the beach front, the bay never really sees the full high or low tide. Before all the water from a high tide can get into the bay, a low tide has already begun. Thus bay tides are generally about half the height of beach front tides.

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FEMA Encourages Participation in PrepareAthon Day

FEMA Encourages Participation in PrepareAthon Day | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

According to a recent survey conducted by FEMA, 50 percent of Americans have not discussed or developed an emergency plan for family members about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster.

  • Additionally, nearly 70 percent of Americans have not participated in a preparedness drill or exercise, aside from a fire drill at their workplace, school or home in the past two years.
  • “Disasters can strike anytime and anywhere,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “America’s PrepareAthon! is about practicing what to do in an emergency with enough regularity so that it becomes second nature when the real disaster actually happens.”

To encourage more Americans to prepare and practice, the campaign offers easy-to-implement preparedness guides, checklists and resources.

  • Sign up for local text alerts and warnings and download weather apps to your smartphone.
    Stay aware of worsening weather conditions. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare and get the Be Smart: Know Your Alerts and Warnings to learn how to search for local alerts and weather apps relevant for hazards that affect your area.
  • Gather important documents and keep them in a safe place.
    Have all of your personal, medical, and legal papers in one place, so you can evacuate without worrying about gathering your family’s critical documents at the last minute. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare and download Be Smart: Protect Your Critical Documents and Valuables for a helpful checklist.
  • Create an emergency supply kit.
    Bad weather can become dangerous very quickly. Be prepared by creating an emergency supply kit for each member of your family.  Visit www.ready.gov/kit for more ideas of what to include in your kit.
  • Develop an emergency communication plan for your family.
    It’s possible that your family will be in different locations when a disaster strikes. Come up with a plan so everyone knows how to reach each other and get back together if separated.  Visit http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for communication plan resources.

FEMA Texas Coast

The first step in being prepared is to know about the hazards that can affect you where you live and work. Hurricanes occur in coastal areas, but can impact weather across the country. To learn more about hurricanes and what you should do to protect yourself and your property download the How to Prepare for a Hurricane guide.

When people talk about preparedness, they are more likely to take action, so start the conversation! America’s PrepareAthon! offers customizable promotional materials to make your National PrepareAthon!

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Spotify Study Reveals Hilarious Listening Habits of Texas College Students

Spotify Study Reveals Hilarious Listening Habits of Texas College Students | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

You probably love Spotify, lest you're an old-school rock dude, the ease and wide-ranging catalog is the equivalent of having Christmas everyday for music enthusiasts.

Unless we have a cool dad or mom, most of us don't really come into our own with music taste during the College Years. As we enter adulthood, music plays second fiddle to the one true social lubricant -- booze -- but it's a close second.

Michael Stuart's insight:

Here are a few interesting findings about the fellow public Texas colleges:

  • Texas A&M is the top school for Christian music listeners. And even though Aggies generally listen to rap slightly less than the rest of the schools, they really like Drake, particularly, "All Me." Is Johnny Football to blame?
  • The University of Texas is the top R&B school and apparently hates country.
  • Texas Tech is the top Justin Bieber school, which might explain the smell.

You can click the complete list of schools here for a comprehensive look at each campus' listening habits.

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Avoid Housing Crunch By Employing A Sound Strategy

Avoid Housing Crunch By Employing A Sound Strategy | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Baby Boomers Need To Plan and Strategize To Overcome Increasing Housing Costs in Retirement

Those American Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are facing some pretty serious issues in the foreseeable future none of which are as daunting as the cost of housing in their retirement years.

Notwithstanding the estimated costs of $220,000 a couple will need in retirement for health care costs housing costs will dwarf that number as most experts believe that boomers will be forced to spend in excess of 30% of their monthly incomes supporting their abodes.  The struggle is just beginning because housing costs, both for ownership and for rentals, is skyrocketing throughout the country.

See on Scoop.it – Texas Coast Real Estate

Source: shellyrobersonrealtor.com

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International Home-Buying Activity in 2014

International Home-Buying Activity in 2014 | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Texas Real Estate Center 2014 International Home-Buying

It’s time for the annual National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) survey measuring the level of sales of U.S. residential real estate to foreigners. There were 3,547 respondents to the 2014 survey, almost 200 more than last year. The survey was conducted from April 14 to May 14, 2014.

Information was gathered from Realtors on U.S. residential real estate purchased by international clients during the 12 months ending March 2014. The term “international client” refers to two types of purchasers.

  • Type A are foreign clients with permanent residences outside the United States. These clients typically purchase property for investment, vacations or visits to this country for less than six months.
  • Type B are clients who are recent immigrants (in the United States less than two years) or temporary visa holders who reside here for more than six months for professional, educational or other reasons.

How did the market do?

This year’s international clients bought an estimated $92.2 billion in residential real estate. That’s approximately 7 percent of total U.S. existing home sales of $1.2 trillion (see table below). Of that, $46.7 billion is attributed to Type A clients and $45.5 billion to Type B.

International sales were up $24 billion from the previous survey.

A number of favorable factors influenced foreign demand for U.S. residential properties:

  • stronger global activity in the second half of 2013,
  • appreciation of the Chinese yuan and the British pound,
  • the relative affordability of U.S. residential property, and
  • international investors’ desire for higher returns and greater security.
  • Chinese residents are also influenced by a flight to quality.

Why U.S. homes?

  • Approximately 56 percent of the respondents reported profitability and security are the main factors influencing the decision to purchase in the United States.
  • Well defined property rights, strong institutions governed by rule of law, a world-leading economy, and a recovering housing market were also factors.
  • Foreign purchasers seek U.S. property related to employment; to house children going to college; for investment and portfolio diversification; and for vacations. Recent immigrants view home ownership as an important accomplishment in their efforts to become established in this country.

What are the countries of origin?

Hong Kong skyline  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Realtors reported purchasers from 61 countries. Five countries have historically accounted for the majority of the reported purchases: Canada, China (Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), Mexico, India and the United Kingdom. In the latest survey, these countries accounted for some 54 percent of the international transactions. At 19 percent, Canada still has the largest share of international purchases, but China has the fastest growing source of international clients, increasing from 5 percent of international sales in 2007 to 16 percent in 2014. Mexico increased from 8 percent in 2013 to 9 percent in 2014 but still was less than the 13 percent registered in 2007 (see figure below).

What are they buying?

Approximately 65 percent of international transactions reported are single-family home sales. In addition, about 39 percent of the homes are intended to be used as primary residences for longer than six months. About 42 percent of transactions were intended for primary residences for: international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, recent immigrants, and professional and managerial employees of businesses and institutions who are in the United States on a temporary but extended visit.

Nonresident foreigners who are limited to six-month stays generally expect to use the property for vacation or rental purposes and as an investment.

Via blog.recenter.tamu.edu/2014/07/international-home-buying1/

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Oil Spill Money Helps Texas Protect Coast

Oil Spill Money Helps Texas Protect Coast | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Money paid by BP and Transocean to settle criminal penalties arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has helped Texas close the largest conservation land purchase in the state’s history: Just over 17,000 acres of undisturbed coastal prairie in Calhoun County for $50 million.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (the non-profit fundraising arm of the state’s parks department) will raise the balance of the funds — about $15 million after the oil spill funds are applied. The foundation would initially be a joint owner of the land, alongside other non-profit conservation organizations; eventually, the plan is for the land to be donated to the department itself.

Conservationists and environmental advocates hailed the purchase as a significant move to protect the state’s coast, which experts estimate is losing hundreds of acres of rural land each day. Conserving rural lands, they said, is crucial not only for preserving open spaces in Texas, but also as a way to protect water resources. Along the coast, keeping land undeveloped can serve as a “natural buffer” against sea-level rise and storm surges — often a much cheaper way to ensure hurricane protection than costly infrastructure like seawalls.


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U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Texas leads

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows Texas leads | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
News release from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis: Personal Consumption Expenditures by State
Michael Stuart's insight:

Texas leading the nation in real GDP growth. 

GDP is calculated as the sum of what consumers, businesses, and government spend on final goods and services, plus investment and net foreign trade.

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The U.S. Gulf Coast at Night

The U.S. Gulf Coast at Night | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

The U.S. Gulf Coast at Night

One of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the International Space Station photographed this nighttime image showing city lights in at least half a dozen southern states from some 225 miles above the home planet. Lights from areas in the Gulf Coast states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as some of the states that border them on the north, are visible.

Image Credit: NASA

Page Last Updated: August 15th, 2014
Page Editor: Jerry Wright

Source: The U.S. Gulf Coast at Night

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Million Dollar Manufactured Homes

Million Dollar Manufactured Homes | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

Manufactured Homes Hit Seven-Digit Milestone, in California, meaning for under $200k on the Texas coast.

Manufactured homes often sell for more than $1 million in the California coastal community of Paradise Cove, with one selling for $2.55 million earlier this year and another going on the market last month for $3.75 million. See slides-show at wsj.com/articles/rethinking-the-double-wide

Putting It All Together Making the Move to Modular Manufactured Home Industry Faces Hurdles The homes feature hardwood floors, high-end appliances, granite counter-tops, and other upscale features, but the prices also have a lot to do with the community’s location on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Wealthier buyers now are entering the market for factory-built homes, mainly as retirees look to downsize and soaring home prices in particular markets make manufactured housing a more affordable option.

Design trends have tracked those in conventional site-built homes and these are built better, many are hurricane resistant and more energy efficient.

Look for them to take off on the Texas coast soon.

via Manufactured Homes Hit Seven-Digit Milestone | Realtor Magazine.

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Experts dispute Perry on border crime stats

Experts dispute Perry on border crime stats | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it

A surge of military and law enforcement personnel will head to the Texas-Mexico border to combat what Gov. Rick Perry describes as a violent crime wave by “criminal alien defendants,” but criminal justice experts say certain border areas are more secure than Texas’ top cities — a view echoed by local realtors whose sales have suffered partly from news reports about border violence. Experts polled by PolitiFacts Texas were unable to substantiate crime statistics cited by Perry as support for sending 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the border, and in fact, called the numbers “ridiculous.”

That’s good news for South Padre Island, which has seen depressed real estate sales following the economic recession and Hurricane Dolly in 2008.  Sales volume is improving but prices still lag Galveston and North Padre Island, and inventory stands at a two-year backlog, according to statistics compiled by the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

Alice Donahue, a longtime South Padre Island realtor, says sales have been steadily improving from last year at approximately 29% for the area.

“We are seeing more inventory this summer but time on the market has been reduced on certain properties, specifically beachfront homes, South Padre Island Golf Course Homes and Long Island Village,” said Donahue of Alice Donahue Real Estate. “Prices are still lower than we have seen since the downturn and it is still a buyers’ market here but I have noticed a marked increase in Mexican National buyers since the cartel crisis, which I do not believe is a threat to our area as has been perceived in the past.”

To read the Scripps article on Perry, click the link: http://www.caller.com/columnists/matthew-waller/data-shows-safe-border-regions-before-natl-guard-deployment_99075946

For more on PolitiFacts analysis: http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2014/jul/29/greg-abbott/greg-abbott-attributes-3000-murders-immigrants-her/

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Texas Gov. Perry Deploys Texas National Guard Troops to Border

Texas Gov. Perry Deploys Texas National Guard Troops to Border | Texas Coast Living | Scoop.it
Gov. Rick Perry today directed Texas Adjutant General John Nichols to immediately begin preparations for the deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. These troops will support the Texas Department of Public Safety's (DPS) ongoing law enforcement surge, Operation Strong Safety, which is focused on combatting criminal activity in the region resulting from the federal government's failure to adequately secure the border.
Michael Stuart's insight:

"There can be no national security without border security, and Texans have paid too high a price for the federal government's failure to secure our border," Gov. Perry said. "The action I am ordering today will tackle this crisis head-on by multiplying our efforts to combat the cartel activity, human traffickers and individual criminals who threaten the safety of people across Texas and America."

Texas has already seen results from Operation Strong Safety - from week 1 to week 3 of operations, apprehensions of illegal immigrants have dropped by 36 percent, from more than 6,600 per week to 4,200 per week in the theater of operation.

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