COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – Texas’ economic outlook for 2012 is positive. Job growth is occurring in several sectors, and a low cost of living is enticing businesses to move to the Lone Star State.

It will be tougher going for the nation, however, because of several factors. The housing market needs to clear a high number of foreclosures. Consumers need to pay off their debt. The banking system needs to write off bad debt. Small businesses need to start hiring again.

Writing for the January issue of Tierra Grande magazine, Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour says, “Fortunately, Texas is poised to outperform the U.S. averages. Home sales volume in Texas should show modest improvement over 2011, and prices should be stable throughout 2012.” Dotzour’s economic outlook is titled “Texas Sails On: Nation Battles Headwinds.”

Other articles detailing findings from the nation’s largest publicly funded real estate research organization are in the issue scheduled for mailing in late January.

  • “Beyond      a Reasonable Drought” by noted agricultural expert Dr. Joe Outlaw and      Center Research Economist Dr. Charles Gilliland. Farmers, ranchers and      service businesses that support them are suffering negative effects of the      drought. To make matters worse, federal agricultural programs are on the      chopping block to reduce the deficit.
  • “The      Great Recession: Why Intensity and Duration Varied” by Center Research      Economist Dr. Ali Anari. Why did some Texas metros fare better in the      Great Recession? Results from the Center’s business cycle research program      pinpoint several reasons. These included shares of employment in the      government sector, education and health services industry, mining and construction      industry, and the metro’s level of educational attainment.
  • “Dialing      Down Debt: Road to Recovery Begins at Home” by Center Research Analyst      Gerald Klassen. It will hurt, but American households will have to      liquidate their assets and reduce debt if they want the economy to      recover. This means selling luxury items including vacation homes, boats      and RVs, as well as selling investments, declaring bankruptcy or suffering      through foreclosure.
  • “For      the Record: When to Toss Old Tax Records” by Center Research Fellow Dr.      Jerrold Stern. At a minimum, tax records should be kept three years.      However, a period of seven or more years is recommended. Tax and nontax      factors play a role in the decision.
  • “Vested      Rights: Project Protection for Developers” by Houston attorney Reid C.      Wilson. Vested rights freeze land use regulations affecting property      classification, building size, lot size-dimension-coverage and certain      other matters once the owner or developer files a permit application for      that project.
  • “The      Trouble with Troubled Assets” by Center Research Economist Dr. Harold      Hunt. The volume of distressed property sales was expected to be much      higher by this time. So far, everyone is still waiting. However, according      to commercial real estate insiders, distressed sales are on the way up.
  • “Terminated:      Transfer Fees Outlawed” by Center legal expert Judon Fambrough. Transfer      fees, money paid for transferring interest in real property, were      implemented in 2007 legislation. Four years later, that law was repealed,      prohibiting any future transfer fees and terminating existing fees that do      not comply with the new legal requirements.