The Texas Association of REALTORS® Supports Property Tax Reforms in Senate Bill 2.

The Texas Association of REALTORS® has announced its support for the property tax reforms provided in Senate Bill 2, now making its way through the Texas Senate.
“The Texas Association of REALTORS® agrees with the Senate Finance Committee’s decision that the bill is indeed a good move for Texas property owners, who are currently paying the sixth-highest property taxes in the country,” said TAR Chairman Vicki Fullerton.
Fullerton explained that Senate Bill 2 is a positive step forward in ending the common practice of local elected officials misleading taxpayers when budgets are adopted at the local level.
"When local elected officials hide behind increasing property values to justify larger budgets, taxpayers suffer. Senate Bill 2 goes a long way to fix this problem and provide more transparency and honesty in the local tax-rate setting process,” she said.
The bill reduces the rollback rate for local taxing entities and requires an automatic rollback election if the local taxing entity exceeds the rollback rate. Despite some comments to the contrary, the bill does not limit the amount of revenue a local taxing entity may generate.
“We believe SB 2 will help give property owners the transparency during the tax-rate setting process they deserve and encourage voters to participate in the rate-setting process. We hope the Texas Senate will vote for the betterment of the property tax system,” Fullerton said

Lowering Credit Card Interest Rates

When was the last time you evaluated the interest rate on your credit cards? The higher the rate, the more that "borrowed' money is costing you. If you'd like to keep more of your hard-earned cash, consider the following action plan for securing a lower rate.
Negotiate -- Sometimes it's as simple as asking. In fact, three out of four people who request an interest rate reduction are successful. First, take note of your history with the company, including how long you've been a customer and the timeliness of your payments, and collect interest rate offers you've received from their competitors. Then make the call, and share this information. If the representative can't help, politely ask for a supervisor.
Transfer -- Even if your company refuses to budge, you may be able to move your high-interest balance to another card. Companies frequently lure customers from their competitors with low-interest or even zero-interest offers. If you're able to pay off your debt during the promotional period, you can save money just by making a switch. Just be sure to compare the terms of each offer before you decide to go for it.
Improve -- It's always worth it to take steps to improve your credit score, which impacts your ability to qualify for low rates. Paying off debt is key, but there are other things you can do as well. Set up bill reminders or automatic payments to ensure timely payments, correct errors on your credit report and keep your balance low compared to the credit available on your card.
It may take a little while, but once you successfully reduce your interest rates, you'll have more money at your disposal to achieve your financial goals.
Source: Sharon Floyd - GOLD FINANCIAL SERVICES  - (210) 317-8834 

Texas Association of REALTORS 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review

Texas home sales volume and home prices reached all-time highs for the second year in a row in 2016, according to the 2016 Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report released today by the Texas Association of REALTORS®.

“Strong gains in end-of-year home sales activity were a key factor in making 2016 another record year for Texas real estate,” said Vicki Fullerton, chairman of the Texas Association of REALTORS®. “Last year’s record home sales activity was fueled by the momentum of multiple years’ strong job and population growth across the state, despite the fact that Texas job and economic growth began to slow in 2016.”


Texas home prices rose steadily throughout last year, with the median price in 2016 increasing 7.7 percent from the year prior, to $210,000. Over the same timeframe, Texas also experienced continued growth in home sales volume, which increased 4.6 percent to 324,924 homes sold in 2016.


Jim Gaines, Ph.D., chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, explained, “The 2017 Texas housing market is projected to keep pace with last year’s strong levels, but it may be difficult to match 2016 levels due to current housing supply levels. Household incomes are rising at a disproportionally low rate than home prices, creating housing affordability challenges across the state. In housing development, labor shortages and regulatory barriers are slowing construction and in turn, driving up new home prices.”


The state’s low housing inventory level remained consistent with the prior year, ending at 3.3 months of inventory in December 2016. According to the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, a market balanced between supply and demand has between 6.0 and 6.5 months of inventory.


Texas homes also continued to spend approximately the same length of time on the market in 2016, an average of 58 days, and active listings increased 6 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Chairman Fullerton concluded, “Rising home prices and skyrocketing property taxes are driving up the cost of homeownership at an alarming rate. Growth in property values makes homeownership a strong investment, but must be balanced by lower tax rates so that Texans are not being forced out of their homes. The Texas Association of REALTORS®urges state legislators to pass legislation that ensures an honest and transparent conversation occurs at the local level if more tax revenue is needed and gives property owners the right to decide when their tax rates should be raised.”


About the Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report
Data for the Texas Real Estate Year in Review Report is provided by the Data Relevance Project, a partnership among local REALTOR® associations and their MLSs, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, and the Texas Association of REALTORS®. The report provides annual real estate sales data from a statewide perspective and for 25 metropolitan statistical areas in Texas.

Click here for the full report.