Urban Cowboy choreographer, Patsy Swayze, was beloved local dance teacher.

Patsy Swayze
Patsy Swayze rehearses a routine with her actor son Patrick & wife Lisa, at her Bellaire dance studio in 1978.

Patsy Swayze: 1927 – 2013 Swayze was known for her kindness.
An article from Molly Glentzer, states: She was the real urban cowgirl, a beloved personality during one of Houston’s most colorful eras. Patsy Swayze died Monday evening at home in Simi Valley, Cal., after suffering a massive stroke on September 8. She was 86. Swayze, who taught John Travolta the art of the smooth two-step, moved to California after the success of the 1980 film “Urban Cowboy”, www.imdb.com/title/tt0081696/, which she choreographed. But she was from Houston, where most of the film was shot, and she always considered herself a Texan, said her daughter-in-law Lisa Niemi Swayze, www.lisaniemiswayze.com/.
Travolta wasn’t her first famous student. In the 1960’s & 70’s, Swayze’s Bellaire dance studio was a rocking place for a little school of ballet, jazz and tap. By 1980, its front wall was plastered with black & white publicity photos of students who were making it big, including her son, the late actor & dancer Patrick Swayze; “Fame” director Debbie Allen: Broadway great Tommy Tune; & actors Jaclyn Smith and Randy Quaid.
“She was such a force & a gifted teacher who inspired so many students,” said Niemi Swayze, the star student who married Patrick Swayze. “She used to say that the ones who have all the talent aren’t necessarily the ones who succeed. It’s the ones who work hard. She was a firm believer in persistence and not settling for the destiny you think may have been handed to you.”
After “Urban Cowboy”, she also found more work in movies. She choreographed more than a half-dozen other films including “Liar’s Moon” (1982), “Hope Floats” (1998) & “One Last Dance” (2003). Susan Vogelfang, a line producer who first worked with Swayze on “Liar’s Moon” (she coached a young Matt Dillon in a gym scene for that one), lauded her kindness. “She went out of her way to do the right thing,” said Vogelfang, who moved to Los Angeles at about the same time as the Swayzes. Patsy Swayze invited her out of the blue for Thanksgiving dinner, knowing she’d be alone that year.
Two-Wheeler Will Do
Niemi Swayze also loved Swayze’s unassuming nature. Before the production company sent Swayze to Santa Barbara to coach Travolta for “Urban Cowboy,” she recalled, they asked her what kind of car she wanted them to rent for her. Swayze replied, “Oh, just anything, from a two-wheeler to an 18-wheeler.” She won them over long before anybody set foot in Houston,” Niemi Swayze said.
Swayze continued to teach until she was 80, operating the Dancer’s Studio of Simi Valley for more than 20 years. In 2011, Swayze told a Simi Valley reporter she was grateful for a wonderful life in film, TV & stage plays. “But you know, you’re not supposed to outlive your children.” Her friend Renee Jongebloed, a former student who became a dance teacher, was close to Swayze for 55 years. “I’m sure you’ve heard it from a million people, but she cared so much for each person. Really cared. She probably had more kids taking class from her who never paid a dime than anybody else I knew. Her soul was caring and she was honest.”

Home sales in Katy Tx & the Houston area still move at fast pace.

Homes for sale Katy, Tx Trends
Houston Area Home Sales & Price Trends for 2012-2013

According to Nancy Sarnoff from the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, home sales in katy, tx and the Houston area continues to favor sellers, but the area’s buying frenzy could be starting to slow a bit. While the number of housing contracts set to close at the end of last month was up over the previous year, an indication of future sales, the increase was much smaller than in previous months, a report shows. “The frantic pace is down maybe a notch,” said Beth Wolff, chairman & CEO of Beth Wolff Realtors, www.bethwolff.com. To be sure, the fast pace of sales hasn’t gone away. Home sales across the area jumped 16.2 % in August & the supply of homes for sale remains low, according to the Houston Association of Realtors, www.har.com, which released its monthly housing report Tuesday. Buyers closed on 7,504 single-family homes last month, marking a strong end to the summer selling season.
Properties selling from $250,000 through the millions saw the greatest increase in sales volume, pushing the overall median price of a Houston-area home to $186,200. Houston’s inventory of available homes dipped to 3.3 months in August, meaning it would take that long to sell all the homes on the market based on recent activity. The number of available properties, at the end of August declined 18.9 % to 32,834.
Builders are ramping up new-home development, which should help ease the limited supply that’s been heating up the market. And rising mortgage rates are likely to affect activity as well. “When rates go up, it really cuts a lot of people out of the market, especially if the are pushing their incomes to buy the most house that they can get,” said Evert Crawford of Crawford Realty Advisors, a research and consulting firm. Rates on a 30-year mortgage averaged 4.57 % in the latest weekly survey from Freddie Mac, www.freddiemac.com. That’s more than a full percentage point higher that it was in May.
In the short term, rising rates may be enticing more buyers to jump into the market while they can still afford to buy. Danny Frank, the association’s chairman, said the summer selling season has been unlike any he’s ever seen. “It’s difficult to say exactly when Houston’s boiling real estate market will begin to cool down,” Frank said in the housing report.

Grand Parkway Construction Progresses

Sections A-I2
Grand Parkway Segments

According to Carrie Taylor from the Community Impact Newspaper, http://impactnews.com/houston-metro/katy, states that by December, drivers will be able to use another portion of Houston’s newest toll road on the Grand Parkway. Segment E, 185-mile loop around Houston, of the Grand Parkway will cover the area north of I-10 to Hwy. 290. Farther north, construction began in July on Segments F1 & F2, which will extend from Hwy. 290 to I-45 in Harris & Montgomery counties. The three segments are expected to improve mobility for Houston residents & open new development opportunities in the Katy area.
“I view the Grand Parkway as a game changer for the entire north side of the Katy area – in Fort Bend & Harris counties,” said Roger Hord, president & CEO of the West Houston Association, http://www.westhouston.org. “That area hasn’t had great access until now, & entities like Katy ISD, www.katyisd.org,  have not had the opportunity to expand on the north side until now. Segment E will change that picture.
Development catalyst
Katy area officials say the Grand Parkway will act as a catalyst for growth in all sectors, specifically in north Katy which suffers from a lack of access. “It is my opinion that we will see development that will take place all throughout the Katy area,” Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner, www.pct3.hctx.net, Steve Radick said. “It is going to be a boom town.” There are multiple commercial & retail projects in the works near Segment E, but many are in their infant stages of tenant negotiations, including a more than 300-acre mixed-use development by NewQuest Properties, www.newquest.com, at Morton Ranch & Clay roads. “We are working on securing our first big anchors for the retail portion as well as other commercial tenants,” said Jeff Hayes with NewQuest. Residential projects are also expected to appear soon, & Katy ISD is preparing to acquire sites for future schools, district land planner Peter McElwain said. “We knew the Grand Parkway would be a catalyst for increased residential growth,” he said. “As developers work on their plans, we work with them to identify where schools need to be.”
Segment E Details
Segment E will feature 2 main-lane toll plazas & multiple tolled on & off ramps, with an average toll price of $1.40 on main lanes & a variable rate from 35 to 71 cents on ramps, TxDOT spokeswoman Raquelle Lewis said. Those prices also apply to Segments F1 & F2. Drivers on the Grand Parkway will pass through main lane toll plazas every four to seven miles. The currently established rates will go into effete in October 2013. Toll rates are subject change & will be reevaluated every October. Segments E, F1, F2 & G of the Grand Parkway will not have parallel feeder roads, which places more importance on the location of exits. On Segment E, there will be 10 intersections along the toll road from which drivers can exit & enter the freeway, aside from I-10 & Hwy. 290. Franz, Morton, Clay and FM 529 are the only existing roadway that will connect with Segment E.
And when this new development comes in take advantage of the expertise and experience of Laura Hill, Realtor. If you want to find the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Bechtel decides to stay on Post Oak

Bechtel decides to stay on Post Oak
Bechtel decides to stay on Post Oak.

According to Nancy Sarnoff at the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, Bechtel, www.bechtel.com, major office tenant in the Galleria area, has renewed its lease in Lakes on Post Oak.
Bechtel’s decision to stay put was a significant win for the property owners because the company could have decided to relocate to one of several office buildings under development in the Houston area. “Retaining Bechtel was an important objective of our firm,” said managing partner Tom Crocker of Crocker Partners, which owns the campus-like office complex near Richmond & Post Oak Boulevard with Five Mile Capital.
As part of the transaction, the landlord will make improvements to Bechtel’s main building, 3000 Post Oak, & build a parking garage to accommodate the company’s employees. The new garage will replace on older 2-story structure. The 3 building 1.2 million square foot Lakes on Post Oak complex also includes 3040 & 3050 Post Oak Blvd. The development, on 23 acres, is 93% leased. Bechtel signed a lease for 565,916 square feet.
Ziegler Cooper, www.zieglercooper.com, is providing architectural services & Balfour Beatty, www.balfourbeatty.com, will construct the parking garage. Bechtel is an engineering, procurement & construction company headquartered in San Francisco. It has oil, gas & chemical operations in Houston. When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Google search online announces major changes

Google Logo
Google search online improves its tools in a big way.

According to James Temple, www.sfchronicle.com, Google, www.google.com, will announce powerful new tools this week, from the Google search engine giant, that will allow users to interact with its products more like they would a personal assistant, as the company continues to redefines the meaning of online search. In the days ahead, most U.S. consumers will be able to use the standard search engine on any device to pull up details about their flights, reservations, appointments & photos from their Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+ and Google Drive accounts with simple spoken or typed terms such as: “What are my plans for tomorrow?” “is my flight on time?”” or “When will my package arrive?” In other words, users will be able to sidestep the annoying task of digging around for flight numbers, tracking information, and venturing off to a third-party site to check for the latest updates.
Perfect Search Engine
The latest features from the Google search engine giant represent another step along the lengthy & winding path to chief executive Larry Page’s ultimate vision of a “perfect search engine.” The Mountain View, California company has been pouring resources into voice recognition & so-called natural language processing, and steadily improving accuracy. Voice in particular is a critical component of the company’s plans for improving the experience on smartphones, as well as emerging technology with increasingly small screens like the Google Glass eyewear & any smart watches that might or might not be in the works. And the conception of search has evolved from fishing around for information with a few keywords to getting the data we need in more natural ways, such as asking questions in full sentences.
But the bigger leap is that an increasingly accurate understanding of information is allowing Google to take steps on our behalf: running flight, tracking & reservation details through separate databases – sometimes its own, something on the pubic Web – to provide useful results, increasingly even without us having to ask. For example, the company’s search app for mobile devices can already serve up Google Now “cards” that tell you when it’s time to get moving for a meeting, based on a entry in your Gmail calendar, the current location of your smartphone & real-time congestion along the route.
Google’s search has largely been about matching up the keywords typed in queries – meaningless strings of letters to an algorithm – to other appearances of that same string online. “Our goal is to be able to map everything & to be able to understand the semantics of Web pages,” said Tamar Yehoshoua, a director focused on search at Google.
Voice Advance
Ever since Google released its latest Android mobile operating system, Jelly Bean, it also flipped the switch on a new, state-of-the-art approach to voice recognition called “deep learning.” One of the key forces driving Google’s efforts in voice is the accelerating shift toward mobile computing. Voice is a far faster way of inputting queries when the alternative is your thumbs. More than that, voice is simply a more natural way of interacting than through standard inventions like the keyboard and mouse. Google appears to be accommodating our way of communicating instead of forcing us to comply with theirs.
When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, there is none better than a Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Home prices soar in the Houston area

Seller’s market hits another peak & builders may put dent in demand
From the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, Nancy Sarnoff article states that Houston home prices have been shooting up for months, but the steady increases should come to an end once builders pick up the pace of construction, an economist said Tuesday. “It’s a very low regulation environment, and we have plenty of land available. Right now it’s just a question of getting organized and getting that development process back again,” said Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. Gilmer, who was referring to the Houston suburbs where the vast majority of homebuilding takes place, was reacting to Tuesday’s report from the Houston Association of Realtors, www.har.com, which said that the median price for a single-family home hit a new high of $192,000 in June. It was the 4th straight month the median soared into record territory.
Demand for housing is also reaching new heights as the local economy continues to strengthen & local businesses add more jobs. Buyers closed on 7,220 single-family homes in June, WOW!!! That’s a 13.4% more than a year earlier, according to the realty data. The growing appetite for homes has come as supply has become extremely limited. Generally, it’s been a seller’s market for more than a year, as inventory levels have been ultra-low.
These days, multiple offers & bidding wars often arise when a nice house comes on the market in a desirable area. But for the first time in several months, housing inventory did not fall in June from the previous month, a promise of hope to some buyers frustrated with their lack of options. Inventory remained at a 3.3 month supply, meaning it would take that long to sell all the houses on the market based on sales activity during the previous 12 months. HAR, www.har.com, sees it as a good sign. “The fact that inventory has leveled off month-over-month suggests that we may finally be starting to see enough homes listed for sale to keep up with demand,” Danny Frank, HAR’s chairman, said in a statement.
Homes priced $250,000 to $1 million and above registered the greatest increase in sales volume. The median home price has been rising in part because higher-end homes are making up a larger portion of sales. The frenzied pace of sales has continued even as mortgage interest rates have risen. The interest on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.51 according to Freddie Mac last week. That’s a percentage point higher than in May.” Builders are seeing more motivated buyers coming through their doors as the inventory of existing homes for sale continues to tighter,” David Crowe, chief economist for the builder’s group, said.

Grand Texas Theme Park

According to Erin Mulvaney, www.chron.com, there is a new development that goes by the name of the Grand Texas Theme Park. Developers envision a Wild West & Texas themed amusement park 30 miles northeast of Houston to help fill the void AstroWorld left behind nearly a decade ago. Private investors announced this week they have closed on roughly 600 acres of densely wooded land at Texas 242 & U.S. 59. Construction for Grand Texas Theme Park & Big Rivers Water Park is slated to begin by year’s end; the complex could open in 2015.
Lined up to manage the attraction is a company headed by a former Six Flags executive who was the last general manager of AstroWorld. The Grand Texas/Big Rivers Park project also includes an equestrian center, retail & an RV resort. Plans include hotels, more retail & residential developments. “We are extremely pleased to have reached such a major milestone in the birth of Grand Texas & couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to bring such a unique attraction to families & visitors of the Houston area,” developer Monty Galland said of the land closing.
There is none better when considering an Real Estate Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Former RoomStore to be upscale townhomes

A Realtor Katy, Tx | Local Katy Realty
Former RoomStore Building

An article by Katherine Feser from the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, states today that Asset Plus Cos. & Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors have paired up to develop a rental community of spacious townhomes on the site of a shuttered RoomStore in west Houston’s Energy Corridor.
The 232-unit Arrabella Townhomes will feature 8 different floor plans averaging 1,400 sq. ft. Each unit will have its own garage with 2 floors of living space above. Choices will include one, two & three bedroom plans. “We’re a little bit different than all these new higher density projects going in right now,” said Barrett Kirk, senior vice president of development for Asset Plus. Most unite bine built inside the Loop average 800 to 850 sq. ft., he said.
Rental rates have not yet been set, Kirk said. The property will be developed on a 10.5-acre site at the northwest corner of I-10 and Brittmore road with first units ready in the 2nd art. of 2014. The property is in the Spring Brach Independent School District. “It will be very well received with the housing prices going crazy in the area, if you can find a house,” Kirk said. The townhomes will have hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, gas ranges, full size washers & dryers & garden tubs along with stand alone showers. Amenities will include a 6,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, fitness center, group exercise room with spin bikes, outdoor fire pit & grill, pool and business center with computers & video-conferencing equipment.
Commercial real estate broker David Littwitz, www.chodrowrealty.com/, estimates he received at least a call a day since he began marketing the property in October. Potential buyers were interested using the site for office, retail or apartments. “The multifamily people are still hovering around the west side of town trying to fill in the pockets,” Littwitz said. He counted 6 apartment projects going up between Kirkwood & Gessner to meet demand from job growth. He noted expansions by BP, Shell, Technip, Wood Group & Mustang Engineering as contributing factors.
And with interest rates going up, now is the time to consider purchasing or selling. There is none better when considering an Real Estate Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

Commerical Real Estate Veterans rejoin the Realty World

A Realtor Katy, Tx | Local Katy Realty
Martin Bronstein & Ralph Howard rejoin the realty world

According to Katherine Feser of the Houston Chronicle, www.chron.com, Martin Bronstein & Ralph Howard are back on the Houston commercial real estate investing scene with the founding of BHW. The duo started Situs in 1985, www.situs.com, and sold it nearly 3 years ago to a company controlled by Lewis S. Ranieri of Wall Street fame. Under their leadership, Situs grew from a small investment company into a global real estate advisory firm with offices across the U.S. & in Europe.
Now Bronstein, 64, & Howard, 62, are returning to their roots as real estate investors, seeking out deals where they can add value by repositioning and improving properties. To carry the firm forward, they have brought on former Situs executives Maury Bronstein, Nick Howard and John S. Wall Jr. as partners.
Howard & Bronstein will focus on retail & land transactions as well as office and industrial possibilities. Apparently, they now have a couple of deals working, one of 25 acres of land in Stafford off of Highway 90 and 3 sites under contract for retail users.
Best Markets
“I’ve heard people say that Houston is the best commercial real estate market in the world of any major city. It’s certainly one of the best.”, said Howard. “You know there’s going to be a major wave of apartments, office buildings & industrial construction, the only thing lagging behind is retail, ” according to Howard. Bronstein states, “The market is so overheated right now, especially the investment market, that prices that people are paying for property are so high. Houston, in the past, always had penchant for overestimating the demand & overbuilding. We have a period of time after the construction where the space takes a while to absorb. We don’t know if that is going to happen.”
Why Now?
“We thought it was a good time to try a different kind of business, back to the way we started Situs to begin with. It was a real estate brokerage, like an investment sales company. It evolved into a consulting company about the time that they started securitizing real estate in the early 90’s.”, Howard said. We brought in these 3 young professionals. They are the next generation. It’s an opportunity to extend our careers, but allows us to look at things with a longer holding period.
And with interest rates going up, now is the time to consider purchasing or selling. There is none better when considering an Real Estate Realtor like Laura Hill at Laura Hill Realtor. Look me up at http://www.localkatyrealty.com, 832-771-1314.

30-year fixed mortgages jump to 4.46%

Contact Laura Hill Realtor in Katy, Tx for A Professional Agent
Mortgage Interest Rates are going up!!!

According to the Associate Press, www.ap.org, U.S. mortgage rates have suddenly climbed from near-record lows & are adding thousands of dollars to the cost of buying a home. The average rate on the 30-year fixed loan soared this week to 4.46%, according to a report Thursday from mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. That’s the highest average in 2 years & a full point more than a month ago.
The surge in mortgage rates follows the Federal Reserve’s signal that it could slow it’s bond purchases later this year. A pullback by the Fed would likely send long-term interest rates even higher. In the short run, the spike in mortgage rates might be causing more people to consider buying a home sooner that expected. Rates are still low by historical standards, & potential buyers would want to lock them in before they rise further.
Sales are Up
In fact, the National Association of Realtors, www.nar.com, on Thursday said the number of people who signed contracts to buy U.S. homes jumped in May to the highest level in more than six years.
Mortgage rates are rising because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for most long-term interest rates. The 10-year yield began rising from near-record lows in May after speculation grew that the Fed might be closer to reducing it’s bond purchases.
The rate on 30-year mortgage soared from 3.93 % last week to 4.46% this week – the biggest one-week jump in 26 years!
Buy Now
Buy now to avoid more potential increases in the mortgage rates. A buyer who locked in a 3.5% rate in early May on a $200,000 mortgage would pay $881 a month, according to www.bankrate.com. The same mortgage today at a 4.46% rate would run $1,008 a month. So hurry and give me a call! Laura Hill Realtor will have all of the answers to your questions when it comes to buying or selling a home. www.localkatyrealty.com