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August 2014

METRO Rail Expansion Makes Houston High-Rises More Attractive

The Houston METRO comprehensive light rail plan will play a crucial role bringing life to the city.  It will provide smarter, more energy-efficient ways of transportation in the form of five new rail lines.  There are many ways in which the METRO rail will benefit Houston, and its residents.

Saves Money

The American Public Transportation Association recently released “The Transit Savings Report”, which stated that public transportation users can save an average of $764 per month, or about $9,167 annually.  This alone is a great reason to take advantage of the Houston METRO Rail.

 

Protects the Environment

Did you know that cars account for roughly 50 percent of air pollution nationwide?  Public transit vehicles emit fewer pollutants than single-passenger cars.  In addition, public transportation helps reduce dependence on foreign oil, which also reduces the use of auto fuel by 1.5 billion gallons annually.

 

Improves Livability

One way that public transportation improves livability is by enabling people to travel conveniently without using a car.  Public transportation also creates corridors that become focal points for social activities.  These activities help create strong neighborhood centers that are not only more economically stable, but also safe and productive.

 

Increases Property Value

Studies have shown that properties located near public transportation systems have greater increases in value than those that don’t.  A report that was recently released by the Transit Coalition, “Dollars & Sense: The Economic Cast for Public Transportation in America,” said that every dollar taxpayers invest in public transportation generates $6 or more in economic returns.

 

Helps Communities

Americans that live in areas with public transportation save around 646 million hours in travel time and 398 million gallons of fuel annually, just through reduced traffic congestion.  Without public transportation, congestion costs would have amounted to an additional $13.7 billion.

 

The Houston METRO rail will provide great new opportunities for residents and businesses alike.  It will also help to reduce traffic congestion, reduce greenhouse emissions and improve the quality of air.

Austin High Rises: In The Center of it All

There are some great events happening throughout the month of September in downtown Austin.  Many of these events are surrounding by some of Austin’s most beautiful high rise buildings.

Tri-Rock Austin Triathlon – 9/1

The heart of downtown Austin is the setting for this great event.  Your swim will start at the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue, and continue through Lady Bird Lake where you will then take a bike ride over the Congress Street Bridge, and finish with a run along the Auditorium Shores running path.  A few high rises that you will see during this event include One Congress Plaza, One American Center, and Frost Bank Tower.  For more information, please click here: http://trirock.competitor.com/

 

Fantastic Fest – 9/18 – 9/25

This is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action, and just plain great movies from all around the word.  Each year, this event is held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, TX.  This venue has been named the best cinema in America by Entertainment Weekly. Past years guests have included such talent as Mel Gibson, Bill Murray, Paul Rudd, and Kevin Smith.  You can learn more by visiting their website: http://fantasticfest.com/

 

Austin Museum Day – 9/21

This great event is organized by the Austin Museum Partnership, and features free exhibits and activities at participating Austin-area museums and cultural sites.  These exhibits represent more than 25 Austin cultural institutions!  More information can be found on their website: http://www.austinmuseums.org/museumday/

 

The Old Pecan Street Festival – 9/27 – 9/28

The Pecan Street Festival is a FREE two day, bi-annual juried arts and crafts festival held on historic 6th Street in Austin, TX.  Here you will find over 275 artisan vendors from all over the world who proudly display and sell homemade arts and crafts.  This festival earned fifth place in an Austin Business Journal tally of the city’s largest festivals.  High rises that you will find in this area of Austin include the Driskill Hotel, the Scarbrough Building, and the Littlefield Building.  To learn more about this great event, please click here: http://www.oldpecanstreetfestival.com/

 

If you live in Austin, there are many great activities happening during the month of September.  These events take place in the heart of downtown Austin, where you will find many beautiful high rise buildings.

Retiring in Texas

When it comes time to retire, have you ever thought about settling down in Texas?  A few great reasons to do so include a low cost of living, no state income tax, and beautiful scenery.

Texas is often referred to as the most popular state for retirees, which is why there are so many great retirement communities in the area.  You will find that there is plenty of space, warm weather, exciting cities, charming small towns, and many active adult communities.  There are also nine hospitals in Texas that have very strong national rankings, and 42 smaller hospitals that also have strong performance rankings statewide.  Texas is a great retirement option because the fastest growing segment is the 65 plus age group.

Another benefit of retiring in Texas is that there is no state income tax and a state sales tax of 6.25%.  In 2011, Texas was ranked as having the fifth lowest total tax burden of all 50 states by the Tax Foundation.  The Texas Legislature also reduced certain property taxes.  If you’re a homeowner, you will get an additional $10,000 off the assessed value of your home, in addition to the regular $15,000 homestead exemption, which is exempt from school taxes.

Even with all the beautiful and historic surroundings, housing in Texas is still quite affordable.   According to 2013 statistics at www.zillow.com, the median listing price for a home in Texas was around $189,000.  However, there are more expensive areas such as Austin, Dallas, and Houston.  Despite this, most home prices are low, which gives seniors the opportunity to either save more, or spend a little more on a larger home.   When you look at the cost of living on a nationwide scale, it is ranked at 100.  The cost of living in Texas is ranked at 88.7.  When you take this into consideration, along with low taxes and housing prices, Texas looks like a very affordable option.

With its low cost of living, low taxes, mild weather, and a unique geography that offers a little something for everyone, Texas is a great place to consider retirement.