Texas grid avoids summer blackouts with $1 billion in extra spending – Reuters

Enrique Rivera sprays water on newly planted grass along the side of a Dallas street during a prolonged heat wave in Dallas, Texas July 18, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone/File Photo
Aug 25 (Reuters) – Texas' electric grid operator has powered through record demand this summer by paying more to keep higher reserves and rewarding industrial consumers to cut usage, a combination that has added more than $1 billion to power fees.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has set new demand records 11 times this summer and twice asked consumers to turn up their thermostats in a season where demand approached 80,000 megawatts (MW). It had forecast peak summer demand earlier this year of 77,733 MW in January.
Staving off a blackout became a priority after a February 2021 cold spell killed over 200 people, left millions of Texas homes and businesses without heat and power, and sent wholesale prices soaring.
The measures also reflect political danger of another outage. Governor Greg Abbott, who appoints utility commissioners, this fall is facing his toughest reelection challenge in years.
The grid operator, which oversees provision of power to more than 26 million customers, has revamped its approach of raising the prices paid for power as demand nears the limit of available reserves. This year, it added 50% to what it keeps as a safety margin, increasing costs.
The state's Independent Market Monitor (IMM), which provides a check on the ERCOT's operations, recently estimated the higher level of safety reserves has cost $1 billion during the first seven months of 2022.
"ERCOT has brought generators online to achieve reserves that the current market does not support or to provide power at higher demand times when expected renewable energy has been unavailable," said Michele Richmond, executive director of the Texas Competitive Power Advocates, an association representing power companies.
"When those generators are needed for reliability and are called online through conservative operations, the higher fuel costs are ultimately paid by consumers with no ability on the part of either retail electric providers or large and sophisticated consumers to hedge the costs."
A side effect of the higher safety margin is the costs of running generators when not fully needed are reflected in service costs passed along to all providers. These ancillary service costs amounted to $350 million in the first five months this year.
ERCOT defends the higher safety margin as needed to meet forecast demand and says the ancillary services fees are paid for by companies utilizing its management services, not consumers.
"ERCOT does not determine how and when adjustments are made to rate payers," ERCOT spokeswoman Trudi Webster said.
Grid costs this year have also risen the mismatch between where power in the state is plentiful and to where it is most needed and supplies dear. Providers in Houston earlier this year were paying $4,000 per megawatt hour compared to negative prices 150 miles (241 km) away. read more
These congestion costs amounted to $2.1 billion through July, compared with $2.1 billion for all of last year, the state's IMM estimated.
The growth in the state's renewable generation in areas lacking sufficient transmission capacity and higher gas prices paid by thermal power plans account for much of the increase in congestion costs, said Morris Greenberg, senior manager, North America power analytics, S&P Global Commodity Insights.
ERCOT primarily relies on higher-cost natural gas for its power generation and soaring prices of the fuel, up more than 150% so far this year, have added to price pressures.
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Rising prices, rates putting an end to S.A.'s homebuilding frenzy – San Antonio Express-News

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Work continues on new home being built Wednesday, June 22, 2022 in Katy. The Kinder Institute has put out a housing study for our region. Top takeouts are: Local housing prices have skyrocketed, Harris County’s median home sales price may soon overtake Houston’s. Demand for single-family homes, which represent the vast majority of the market, is driving up prices and keeping inventory low, despite growth in new construction permits, developers were unable to fully respond to high housing demand because of construction costs and supply-chain problems.
Valley Ranch subdivision near Loop 1604 and Culebra Road is No. 1 in housing starts in the area for the year ending in June.
Homes under construction in San Antonio’s far west side Valley Ranch subdivision are seen Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.
Homes under construction in San Antonio’s far west side Valley Ranch subdivision are seen Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.
Racing to keep up with soaring demand the past few years, builders have been scrambling to construct new homes in San Antonio.
Their efforts have led to new subdivisions across the metro area, with many of the largest on the far West Side and around New Braunfels.
While the building surge has landed San Antonio among the nation’s top 10 markets for new homes, the pace is poised to slow as rising mortgage rates and sale prices push buyers away from the bargaining table, according to real estate data firm Zonda.
In fact, San Antonio-area builders surveyed by the firm said demand has been slowing since June — and nearly 90 percent say that means they’ll slow construction in 2023.
But the past 12 months have been red hot. Zonda’s data show builders began construction on 23,878 homes between July 1, 2021, and June 30, ranking San Antonio No. 7 in the U.S. by the number of starts.
That puts it behind No. 1 Dallas-Fort Worth, No. 2 Houston and No. 5 Austin.
San Antonio’s year-over-year growth rate of nearly 26 percent outpaced all three. The rate was 8.8 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth, 0.2 percent in Houston and 10.2 percent in Austin.
Two of the factors driving new construction in San Antonio: It’s more affordable than many other major metro areas and the population is expanding, said Lawrence Dean, a Zonda senior vice president for Texas.
Also, he said, builders here have “done arguably a better job than builders in most of the other major markets of addressing the affordability challenge and trying to still provide relatively affordable options.”
Despite their efforts, some prospective buyers now are pumping the brakes as higher mortgage rates and inflation push homes out of their reach while others are waiting and hoping for better options.
“It’s an affordability crunch, not a demand crunch,” Dean said.
Mortgage rates have jumped by about 66 percent since January, with monthly mortgage payments increasing an estimated 28 percent, or by $529, from January to June, according to Zonda.
Average rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage were 5.13 percent for the week ended Thursday. That’s down from 5.22 percent a week earlier but up from 2.86 percent a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. Thursday’s average rate in San Antonio was 4.99 percent, according to realtor.com, up from 4.76 percent a week earlier.
“The market continues to absorb the cumulative impact of the large price and rate increases that led to a plunge in affordability,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As a result, over the rest of the year purchase demand likely will continue to drag, supply will modestly increase, and home price growth will decelerate.”
Builders in San Antonio and other cities told Zonda they began seeing traffic decline in June, and cancellations are rising.
Eighty-seven percent of builders in San Antonio and 90 percent across Texas surveyed by the firm said they plan to slow construction. Seventy-one percent said they do not plan to raise prices, while 20 percent said they are cutting prices.
They have resumed offering incentives such as rate buy-downs and rate locks, which they had paused during the pandemic due to high demand, Dean said.
They are also grappling with shortages and higher costs for materials and labor, which means homes are taking longer to build — and further driving up costs.
“Builders don’t want to start construction of more homes than there’s demand for, and demand is damaged a little bit by interest rates elevating as they have while home prices are much higher than even just a year or two years ago,” Dean said.
In more signs the market is cooling, sales are slowing, homes are staying on the market longer and the inventory of houses available is growing.
In July, sales of new and existing homes in Bexar and surrounding counties combined were down nearly 15 percent from a year earlier, according to the San Antonio Board of Realtors.
That was the biggest year-over-year drop since May 2020, around the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The median price last month was $341,600, a 15.4 percent increase from July 2021. The average time a house was on the market was 27 days, up from 25 days during the same period a year ago.
While Zonda projects builders in San Antonio will start construction of 22,500 houses this year, the number is expected to drop to 19,500 in 2023. Slowdowns are expected in other Texas cities, too.
In addition to comparing metros, Zonda’s research ranked the top 20 subdivisions by annual starts from July 1, 2021, to June 30. In the San Antonio area, more than half are past Loop 1604 between Government Canyon State Natural Area and heading toward Castroville. Five are around New Braunfels, Bulverde and Canyon Lake.
Many of the homes under construction are priced between $250,000 and $350,000. D.R. Horton, Lennar and KB Home are among the most active builders.
The far West Side has long led the area in the number of starts, followed by northern Bexar County and New Braunfels, but construction also is increasing on the East and South sides.
The biggest new developments tend to be in outlying areas because there’s typically more land available further from the city center and prices are often lower. Buyers also may be drawn to suburban school districts, proximity to their workplaces and broader retail options.
madison.iszler@express-news.net
Madison Iszler covers real estate, retail, economic development, and other business topics for the San Antonio Express-News.
Reach Madison at 210-250-3242, madison.iszler@express-news.net and @madisoniszler.

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Real estate transactions: Howard Hughes lands 4 new office tenants in The Woodlands – Houston Chronicle

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Altitude Energy Partners will occupy 6,622 square feet at 9950 Woodloch Forest Tower in The Woodlands Town Center.
Midway will provide property management services for The Center for Pursuit’s new campus at 4400 Harrisburg Blvd. in the East End.
The Howard Hughes Corp. announced a lease with LifeSpring Behavioral Health at 1400 Woodloch Forest Drive in The Woodlands.
The Howard Hughes Corp. announced office leases at four of its office properties in The Woodlands. Peter A. Johnson, MD, PA, a Texas Professional Association, signed a 7,395-square-foot lease for LifeSpring Behavioral Health at 1400 Woodloch Forest Drive, a five-story building near Waterway Square, The Woodlands Mall and Market Street. Johnson was represented by Aimee Frazier with Cole Realty & Management. Altitude Energy Partners leased 6,622 square feet at the 31-story 9950 Woodloch Forest Tower overlooking The Woodlands Waterway in The Woodlands Town Center. Altitude was represented by Jett Realty Group by JLA Realty. Riley Exploration Permian, an independent oil and natural gas company based in Oklahoma City, leased 3,394 square feet at Three Hughes Landing on Lake Woodlands to establish a branch office in the Houston area. Josh Cheatham with Newcor Commercial Real Estate represented Riley Exploration. MTill Holdings, a logistics services company, is moving from Shenandoah to The Woodlands and has leased 3,270 square feet at Two Hughes Landing. Mike Nilsen with Tarantino Properties represented MTill Holdings. Bob Parsley, Norm Munoz and Jillian Fredericks with Colliers represented Hughes in the leases.
Greyhound Energy leased 10,027 square feet of office space at 777 N. Eldridge Parkway in the Energy Corridor. John Zivley of NAI Partners represented the tenant. Jon Dutton represented the landlord, Granite Properties.
J.B. Hunt Transport leased a 3.4-acre stabilized yard at 605 N. Wayside Drive near the Port of Houston Turning Basin Terminal. Craig Jones of Fischer & Co. represented the tenant. Zack Taylor of Colliers represented the landlord, LP by Wayside Management.
Trecap Mesa Dr. Partners, an affiliate of Houston-based Trecap Management, purchased a 61,200-square-foot industrial property at 11424 Mesa Drive in northeast Houston from Hubbard Development Co. Jason Tangen of Colliers represented the buyer. The crane-served building is fully occupied by two tenants.
Houston-based Midway has been selected to handle property management services for The Center for Pursuit’s new East End campus at 4400 Harrisburg Blvd. at Eastwood Avenue. The campus includes three buildings totaling 120,000 square feet, including one multi-tenant building. Founded in 1950, The Center for Pursuit promotes the pursuit of growth, health and independence for youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and similar conditions. Midway will handle maintenance, emergency preparedness and response, risk mitigation and asset preservation for the campus.
Transwestern Real Estate Services has been named exclusive leasing agent for Bellaire Park I & II by Los Angeles-based Pacific Oak Capital Advisors. The two medical office buildings, totaling 319,504 square feet, are at 6565 and 6575 W. Loop South in Bellaire. Christian Connell, Louann Pereira, Rachel Glass, Justin Brasell and Doug Little are handling the assignment.
Trevathan Family LLC purchased the 28,317-square-foot industrial property on 2.2 acres at 7123 Breen Drive in northwest Houston. Advanced Glass Solutions will be leasing the property back for seven years. Brandon Wuntch and Drew Altmann of Fritsche Anderson Realty Partners represented the seller/tenant, AGS Houston Holdings.
Hicks Ventures, a Houston-based development company led by Patrick Hicks, broke ground on a 42-bed, 53,000-square-foot, two-story inpatient rehabilitation facility in Wausau, Wis. The $28 million building marks the first project in a $100 million joint venture with Artemis Real Estate Partners to develop inpatient rehabilitation facilities and behavioral health hospitals nationwide.
Wan Bridge, a Houston-based build-to-rent developer, acquired 13.2 acres near Merchants Way and Interstate 10 in the Katy area. The company has broken ground on Enclave at Mason Creek, which will offer 192 townhomes for rent in a gated development starting in early 2023. The contemporary style townhomes will be situated among corporate office parks in Katy, just north of Interstate 10 and east of North Mason Road. BMO Harris Bank provided financing.
Mark Kahil renewed and expanded to 5,784 square feet of office space at 400 N. Sam Houston Parkway East. Thomas Emde represented the landlord, Hartman Income REIT.
katherine.feser@chron.com
Katherine Feser covers a variety of subjects for the Houston Chronicle Business section. She coordinates some of the paper’s most popular special sections, including the Chronicle 100, Home Price Survey, and Top Workplaces. She compiles many of the staples of the section, including the daily markets page, People in Business, event listings and real estate transactions.
Solar companies, homeowners and trade groups say the time involved in getting permits to connect panels to CenterPoint’s service area has gone from one month to six.
By Shelby Webb

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Zillow: These 30 housing markets saw falling home prices in July…but don’t call it a housing crash – Fortune

At the height of the Pandemic Housing Boom in March, Zillow came out with a bold proclamation: U.S. home prices would rise another 17.8% over the coming year. But just weeks later, that boom was replaced by a housing slowdown.
On Thursday, Zillow once again revised that forecast. Between July 2022 and July 2023, Zillow now expects U.S. home values to rise 2.4%. That’s down from the 7.8% forecast the company published just a month earlier. It also marks its fifth downward revision since March.
There’s nothing small about a 5.4-percentage-point downward revision in a single month. For a $500,000 home, that wipes out $27,000 in anticipated home price appreciation. A revision like that only happens if the forecast inputs have soured.
“Zillow’s outlook for home prices has been revised down significantly due to a sharp downturn in July,” writes Zillow economists. Simply put: July housing data was bad—really bad.
Across the board, the housing market weakened in July. The month saw the largest ever (dating back to 2016) uptick in total inventory on realtor.com. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales and existing home sales are now down 17.4% and 20.2%, respectively. At the same time, single-family housing starts have fallen 18.5% and mortgage purchase applications are down 18.4%.
There's another reason that Zillow might be feeling a bit more bearish: Its analysis finds some regional housing markets saw home price declines in July.
According to Zillow, 30 of the nation's 50 largest housing markets saw month-over-month home price declines in July. That includes a 4.5% home price dip in San Jose. Not too far behind are Phoenix (-2.8%), San Francisco (-2.8%), Austin (-2.7%), and Sacramento (-2.5%).
"While the recent decline in prices is a notable development, the housing market is still far from a return to normal conditions. The current slowdown is prompted by the collision of extreme price growth during the early and mid-pandemic with the sudden increase in mortgage rates since December—a combination that swiftly weakened would-be homebuyers’ ability to afford or qualify to purchase their next house," writes Zillow chief economist Skylar Olsen.
On multiple occasions this summer, Zillow has affirmed its view that we're in neither a housing bubble nor a housing crash. Instead, it views this as a housing market trying to find equilibrium amid a period of spiked mortgage rates.
Normally it's in bad taste to focus too much on month-over-month home price shifts. Right now might be an exception. Rick Palacios Jr., head of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, tells Fortune we should be looking at month-over-month shifts. He believes the home price drops suggest that some frothy markets, like Phoenix and Boise, have already seen their home price tops "blown off" and are on a path toward year-over-year price declines in 2023.
“You could make a strong case that in a lot of housing markets the last 10% of home price appreciation was purely aspirational and irrational, and that’ll come off the top really fast,” Palacios says. “That’s exactly what we’re all seeing right now.”
John Burns Real Estate Consulting isn’t the only firm feeling a bit bearish. Modest 2023 home price declines are also forecasted by Capital Economics, Zelman & Associates, and Zonda. Economist Robert Shiller, who predicted the 2008 housing crash, thinks home prices could decline 10%. Fitch Ratings says home prices could fall 10% to 15% if the housing downturn worsens.
Zillow isn't alone either. The Mortgage Bankers AssociationFannie MaeFreddie Mac, and CoreLogic are also predicting a low-single-digit home price increase over the coming year.
The regional housing markets getting hit the hardest by the slowdown fall into one of two groups.
The first is high-cost tech hubs. This grouping includes markets like San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle. Not only are their high-end real estate markets more rate sensitive, but so are their tech sectors. Look no further than the mounting startup layoffs.
The second group includes frothy markets like Austin, Boise, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. The Pandemic Housing Boom has pushed home prices in markets like Phoenix and Boise far beyond what local incomes would historically support. According to Moody's Analytics, Boise alone is "overvalued" by 72%. Historically speaking, when a housing cycle "rolls over," it's normally the significantly "overvalued" housing markets that are at the highest risk of home price corrections. If inventory spikes are any indication, those frothy markets could very well be headed for 2023 price corrections.
Want to stay updated on the U.S. housing market? Follow me on Twitter at @NewsLambert.
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Will Houston’s Luxury And First-Time Homebuyer Markets Remain Red-Hot In 2022? – Forbes

An influx of new home-buyers and a growing tech scene has Houston’s real estate market on the rise.
Houston’s luxury real estate market set new highs last year, but is the landscape the same for buyers in 2022? Will the market’s record-breaking upward momentum continue, and will there be inventory to support it? What are the new developments to know about in Houston’s hottest neighborhoods?
To get an inside look at the residential market, I reached out to Demetrice Ballenger, a real estate expert with Houston-based luxury brokerage Baker & Co. An industry insider on the first-time homebuyer market, Ballenger has a finger on the pulse of what’s happening with local developers, tracking everything from “the acquisition of the land to the sales and marketing of new communities.” “Right now in the pipeline, there are 340 homes with an average sales price of $350,000. The timing runs over the next 24 to 36 months for completion,” he says.
Buyers are already lining up to get prime new development in Houston.
Buyers are already lining up to get a piece of the new development. “I have seven contracts with prices starting at $344,000 on a 24-home gated community. It’s located in [Houston’s] inner city, where most of the first-time projects are being built. We are only in site prep right now and they are selling very quickly,” said Ballenger, who launched his Houston real estate career over six years ago.
Jaime Baker, broker/owner of Baker & Co., recruited Ballenger to the firm and has seen Houston’s market dynamics shift over the decades. Baker’s Houston routes go back to the 1800s. Four generations of her family have been involved in the housing market beginning in 1840 when the Bakers established a successful general contracting business.
About $1.4 million buys a new construction home in an up-and-coming Houston suburb.
Baker’s great-grandmother Lucille Beckner was instrumental in developing a local multiple listing service the roots for today’s MLS used by all area real estate agencies. Several generations later, Jaime Baker is now recognized as an industry innovator as an adopter of technology and utilizing social media for effective client outreach.
According to Ballenger, the first-time buyer market largely consists of “people who are wearing scrubs when we meet,” a reference to Houston’s sizeable and rapidly-expanding medical community. “We just cannot keep inventory in stock,” he adds.
Since 1939, the Civic Center District has served as the administrative center of Houston. City Hall, … [+] Hermann Square Park, and the old Central Library, which received a major refurbishment in 2008, are all located here.
These communities feature open concept living, large master suites, quartz kitchen islands, wine centers, and expansive freestanding bathtubs. Buyers recognize the value these new homes offer.
Looking at the overall dynamics of Houston’s luxury market, Baker describes a shifting high-end: “This is the first time that the luxury market in Houston was as sought after and in-demand as it is right now.”
High ceilings, open-concept floor plans and high-end amenities are among features in most Houston … [+] new developments.
She adds that new residents who have relocated to Houston from California “cannot believe what they can buy here.” A newly constructed, 4,017- square-foot home in Bellaire, within the Houston metro area, has five bedrooms and 4.5 baths of light-filled luxury. Asking price: $1.375 million.
As more people move to Houston, look to developers and builders to be ready with housing for both first-time buyers and the luxury market.
Baker & Co. is an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Real estate transactions: Multifamily investors add to Houston portfolios – Houston Chronicle

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RPM Living Investments has acquired the San Paloma apartments in the Energy Corridor in a joint venture with DRA Advisors. The property is located at 1255 Eldridge Parkway.
A partnership of Better World Holdings and Crown Capital Ventures has acquired Serenity at Cityside, a 362-unit apartment complex at 6061 Beverly Hill St. in Houston. It will be renamed Aura Galleria.
Sentinel Capital has acquired the 206-unit Bridgewater Apartments at 1100 Graham Drive in Tomball.
Lone Star Capital, a multifamily investment firm based in New York, acquired Timberwalk, a 300-unit apartment complex at 5635 Timber Creek Place in northwest Houston.
A partnership consisting of Houston-based Better World Holdings and New York-based Crown Capital Ventures has acquired Serenity at Cityside, a 362-unit apartment complex at 6061 Beverly Hill St. The property, to be renamed Aura Galleria, will undergo a $6-million modernization that will include interior renovations and community amenities. Constructed in 1968, the development consists of a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans within 32 two-story buildings. The seller was CPEP Beverly Palms, LLC. Last November, the partnership acquired the 449-unit Skylar Pointe Apartments in the Clear Lake neighborhood.
A joint venture of RPM Living Investments and DRA Advisors acquired the 372-unit San Paloma apartments at 1255 Eldridge Parkway in the Energy Corridor. The seller was Blackstone/Livcor. It is Austin-based RPM’s second joint venture with New York-based DRA and 16th acquisition in the Houston area.
Lone Star Capital, an investment firm based in New York, acquired Timberwalk, a 300-unit apartment complex at 5635 Timber Creek Place, just west of Texas 6 in northwest Houston. Chris Young, Joey Rippel, Kyle Whitney, Jeffrey Skipworth, Chris Curry and Todd Marix of Berkadia Houston represented the seller, Dallas-based Performance Properties. Johnny King of Berkadia Houston arranged financing. The property was built in 1983 and has units from 501 to 1,088 square feet.
A partnership between Tranquility Capital, Abundance Equity Partners and Rubio Investors acquired Bridgewater Apartments, a 206-unit apartment complex at 1100 Graham Drive in Tomball. Joey Rippel, Chris Young, Kyle Whitney, Jeffrey Skipworth, Chris Curry and Todd Marix of Berkadia Houston represented the seller, Houston-based Sentinel Capital. Cutt Ableson of Berkadia Houston arranged financing. The property was built in two phases in 1979 and 1982 and has units from 670 square feet to 944 square feet.
On HoustonChronicle.com: Real estate transactions: Building products company relocates HQ to Memorial City
Brixton Capital, a real estate investment firm based in Solano Beach, Calif., purchased Regatta Bay, a 240-unit apartment community at 2555 Repsdorph Road in Seabrook. Matt Saunders of Newmark represented the sellers, Miami-based Lloyd Jones and Polaris Realty. United Apartment Group, a San Antonio-based property management firm acquired by Brixton in 2020, will manage the property. Built in 2003, the property consists of 15 two- and three-story buildings and has a pool, dog park, tenant lounge and fitness center. Brixton plans to upgrade the property amenities and renovate the unit interiors.
New York-based Sunsail Capital and Dallas-based ZaneCRE jointly acquired the 350-unit Sarah at Lake Houston apartments at 17571 W. Lake Houston Parkway in Humble. Zack Springer of Newmark brokered the transaction. Purvesh Gosalia, also of Newmark, arranged financing. The complex was built in 2020.
ApartmentData.com, a Houston-based company founded by John Severance in 1986 to provide rental trend data to the multifamily industry, has been acquired by MRI Software, a global provider of real estate software based in Solon, Ohio. ApartmentData.com serves large and small apartment property management companies, investors, locators and vendors across the Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Atlanta, Phoenix/Tucson, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville markets. The acquisition enables both ApartmentData.com and MRI’s clients to take advantage of new and expanded capabilities to help them manage real estate portfolios, according to ApartmentData.com CEO Rudy Mui.
Farha International, a local investment group, acquired the 74,501-square-foot Monroe Medical Plaza, a three-building project on 6.8 acres at 8525 Gulf Freeway, from Monroe Casco Ltd. John Indelli of JLL and Daniel N. Casey of Casco Realty Advisors represented the seller. The center is 91 percent leased to 10 tenants.
MikeNPrang LLC purchased a 2.9-acre tract on Timber Forest Drive, north of Will Clayton Parkway, in Humble. Rick Trevino of Loyal Texas Properties represented the buyer. Tom Condon Jr. of Colliers represented the seller, Patricia Al-Attas Barrett. The buyer plans to develop a facility for the assemblage and sale of mobile security camera trailers.
Skin Pharm Houston has leased 4,147 square feet of office space at 3720 Westheimer from ROSC Owner LLC. Jared Laake of Bradford Commercial Real Estate Services in Dallas represented the tenant. Robert Sussman of Ancorian represented the landlord.
Blackstone, primarily through its Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust and Blackstone Property Partners divisions, completed the $12.8 billion acquisition of American Campus Communities, a developer, owner and manager of student housing communities in the United States.
katherine.feser@chron.com
Katherine Feser covers a variety of subjects for the Houston Chronicle Business section. She coordinates some of the paper’s most popular special sections, including the Chronicle 100, Home Price Survey, and Top Workplaces. She compiles many of the staples of the section, including the daily markets page, People in Business, event listings and real estate transactions.
Solar companies, homeowners and trade groups say the time involved in getting permits to connect panels to CenterPoint’s service area has gone from one month to six.
By Shelby Webb

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Houston ranks No. 3 in U.S. for best 'bang for the buck' for new homes, says report – CultureMap Houston

Houston ranks No. 3 in U.S. for best ‘bang for the buck’ for new homes, says report  CultureMap Houston
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Texas real estate CEO, veteran's success inspired 'life equation' – Houston Chronicle

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Philip Jalufka, a U.S. Army Special Operations veteran and the CEO of international real estate company Legacy International, offers insight into the values that help him accomplish his goals in his book “Leading With Your Life Equation: How to Be Indestructible, Indispensable and Unstoppable.”
Philip Jalufka could have allowed a serious car crash to derail his goal of attending the U.S. Military Academy. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to grow.
Jalufka was 16 years old and preparing to enter his senior year at Tomball High School when he was a passenger in a car that crashed into a tree. The crash left him with a dislocated shoulder, 26 stitches in his arm and a concussion. He also lost consciousness, which resulted in a two-year medical disqualification from enrolling at West Point.
Instead of giving up his dream, Jalufka decided to recommit, relying on the work ethic and attitude that had been instilled in him while growing up in Texas. He enrolled at West Point two years later and went on to serve with the U.S. Army Special Operations. He later embarked on a career in real estate, becoming founder and CEO of Legacy International, which is headquartered in Austin.
Jalufka’s book “Leading With Your Life Equation: How to Be Indestructible, Indispensable and Unstoppable,” offers advice on how to identify your purpose in life and the factors that will help you succeed. For Jalufka, those factors were a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and teammates who could support him along the way.
“I had a number of opportunities along the way where I had the opportunity to say, ‘you know, this challenge is just a little too much or I have other things that I can do,’” he said. “But no, we had laid out a plan that we decided to follow, and follow through.”
The Austin resident, 51, spoke with The Chronicle about his book, how he overcame challenges in his life and how others can take inspiration from his story to accomplish their goals.
The core values Jalufka learned as a child shaped who he became as an adult. In Texas, that included a focus on pride, faith and traditions. He’s always put an emphasis on family and service, and the idea of “bigness” in Texas helped inform his business career.
Football taught him the value of being part of a team and working toward a shared goal, which was later reinforced during his time in the military.
Jalufka’s grandmother was the one who influenced many of his core values.  She taught him hard work and respect, and how to focus on improving yourself each day, he said.
“She did that through conversations and through leading by example in the simple stuff,” he said.
The car crash was the first of several notable challenges Jalufka describes in his book. He says anyone’s life is a series of moments and challenges – the key is how you respond to them.
“You start to experience them early on. Some of us have more than others,” he said. “Some of them are positive and some of them are challenging.”
Jalufka had a plan to attend West Point. When his injuries triggered a two-year medical disqualification from enrolling, he opted to attend Marion Military Institute, a junior college in Alabama.
While at junior college, he had an opportunity to train for the Reserved Officers’ Training Corps. But when he showed up to boot camp at Fort Knox in Kentucky, he was informed that his medical disqualification meant he was ineligible for a scholarship or military pay.
Jalufka considered going home, but his father convinced him to stay and keep pursuing his plan. That moment was a crossroads where Jalufka’s “team” – in this case, his own family – supported him as he worked toward his goal.
“When it’s hard to keep your chin up because there’s a lot of challenges that are almost insurmountable … it’s also this idea of having that teammate, if you truly want to follow through and persevere.”
Jalufka worked his way to West Point and went on to serve with the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces as a helicopter pilot and team leader. He made the decision to leave the military in 2000, when he and his wife learned they were expecting a second daughter.
Suddenly, Jalufka was without a plan for the first time in his adult life. He decided to take a friend’s advice and pursue a career in real estate, even though he had no experience. It was a risk, but Jalufka used the decision-making process he learned in the military to determine it was the right path for him.
“I’m not suggesting that’s for everyone, but what I am suggesting is that you should look at every moment or choice as a process and evaluate the multiple courses of action,” he said. “They’re going to all come with a different level of risk, and a different level of reward.”
There are times in life where taking risks is necessary, Jalufka said. The key is to have a team, or a support system, who can help you make the right decision.
“Find a teammate. Because you’re going to need them along the way, the riskier that decision is,” he said.
Jalufka offers the formula for his success as a “life equation” partly because he studied economics in college, and because his career in the military taught him the benefit of having checklists to accomplish a goal. But an equation is also a way to think differently, he said.
Every equation has two sides. In a life equation, one side is someone’s purpose, and the other is the components that help them to accomplish their goals. Jalufka recommends taking time out of each day to identify each of those components that can help you in your own life.
Jalufka’s own life equation took years to develop, and he’s still focused on improving it wherever he can. The key is to stick to your plan and keep working toward the goals you’ve set for yourself, he said.
“What’s working and what’s not probably will look much different a week, a month or even a year from now,” he said. “And that’s OK.”
Evan MacDonald is a features reporter for the Houston Chronicle, covering health and wellness for ReNew Houston.
He joined the Chronicle in 2022 after working at Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer, where he covered health. He’s also worked for news organizations in New York and Massachusetts.
A Boston native, Evan graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Emerson College and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He enjoys trivia and movies and is a fan of all Boston sports teams, for which he apologizes in advance.
He can be reached on Twitter at @evanmac3 or via email at Evan.MacDonald@chron.com.
Solar companies, homeowners and trade groups say the time involved in getting permits to connect panels to CenterPoint’s service area has gone from one month to six.
By Shelby Webb

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Woman in serious condition after being shot while sleeping in SW Houston, police say – KHOU.com

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HOUSTON — A woman is in serious condition after a gunman opened fire on an apartment while she was sleeping, according to the Houston Police Department.
The shooting happened just before 2 a.m. at the Villa Contento Apartments on Dashwood Drive in southwest Houston.
Police said the 26-year-old woman was asleep downstairs when someone drove through the parking lot and began firing multiple shots from a rifle.
One of the rounds went through the apartment and hit her in the shoulder. She was transported to the hospital where she remains in serious condition. Police said her friend, who is listed on the apartment lease and us upstairs at the time of the shooting, wasn’t hurt.
HPD’s Major Assaults Division is working on speaking with apartment managers to see if there is any surveillance video of the shooting.
Meanwhile, Crime Stoppers is now offering a reward up to $5,000 for any information on the violent incident. Call 713-222-TIPS (8477) or report tips directly to Crime Stoppers online to be eligible for the reward.
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