Andrews

This three-bedroom, two-bath home in Andrews is perfect for a family.

Finding a three-bedroom, two-bath rental that doesn’t break the bank is hard – which is why we went a little further afield this week, to Andrews.

Andrews, which is in the center of the Permian Basin, has been called the Oilfield Capitol of Texas. With a little more than 13,000 people living there, the town boasts that it is 100 percent debt free – as is Andrews County.

Andrews ISD boasts an enviable four-year graduation rate of 96 percent (the state average is 89 percent) and an average of one teacher for every 14.2 students. The district has a Texas Education Agency accountability rating of “Met Standard.” (more…)

News roundup

This abandoned water park in Odessa could be yours – or you could just watch the drone video.

In this week’s news roundup, we look at one magazine’s assertion that crime rates for Midland and Odessa are the highest in the state, a property deal the city of Odessa is eyeballing, a property acquisition by Vistra Energy, fracking and the water situation in the Permian Basin, and a cool drone video of a bygone attraction. (more…)

It’s not all about San Francisco and New York City, says NerdWallet, the website that analyzed American metropolitan areas and came up with a list of the top 10 cities for young entrepreneurs. The list includes some of the spots you’d expect: Denver, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; and Austin, Texas.

But we were happily surprised to see Midland on the list, ranking No. 8 above Boston (No. 9) and Fargo, N.D. (No. 10).

So what earned Midland a spot on the list?

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Chinese investment firm Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. is spending $1.3 billion to buy massive oil fields in the Permian Basin area of Texas. Photo: Paul Lowry via Creative Commons

Chinese investment firm Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. is spending $1.3 billion to buy massive oil fields in the Permian Basin area of Texas. Photo: Paul Lowry via Creative Commons

A Chinese investment firm has its sights set on West Texas as they declare their intent to spend $1.3 billion (8.3 billion yuan) to buy massive oil fields in Howard and Borden counties. This purchase is part of a trend of Chinese interest in U.S. energy resources.

Yantai Xinchao Industry Co. has signed a letter of intent to the Shanghai Stock Exchange to acquire oil fields in the West Texas Permian Basin area, now owned by Tall City Exploration LLC and Plymouth Petroleum LLC, two Nevada-based companies with Midland offices. According to the stock exchange filing from Saturday, Oct. 31, this deal is part of a limited liability partnership in which Yantai Xinchao will also acquire Ningbo Dingliang Huitong Equity Investment Center.

The purchase has been approved by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, part of the Treasury Department, the filing said.

(more…)

On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller's Office over the state's ad-valorem tax system.

On Monday, the City of Austin filed suit against the Texas Comptroller’s Office over the state’s ad-valorem tax system.

The end of sales price non-disclosure might be near, if the suit filed by the City of Austin against the Texas comptroller’s office is any indication. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who submitted the 10-page suit on Monday, argued that the ad-valorem taxation system is unconstitutional because it isn’t “equal and uniform.”

Texas is one of the few states that, instead of relying for sales figures for tax purposes, employs an appraisal system. However, with skyrocketing values for residential properties in Travis County, commercial valuations haven’t grown nearly so much. It’s becoming a big problem, the suit suggests.

“The lack of sales disclosures has made it nearly impossible for appraisal districts to comply with their statutory and constitutional duty to assess all properties at market value so that taxation is equal and uniform,” the lawsuit states.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway wants to repeal the 40-year ban on American oil exports.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway wants to repeal the 40-year ban on American oil exports. (Photo: Texas Tribune)

Representatives in both the Texas house and in Washington want to end the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports, a policy developed in the 70s in response to the wildly fluctuating energy market. However, some elected officials feel that policy is outdated and is slowing America’s economic growth. Considering low oil prices and the price per gallon of gasoline just now reaching more that $2.50 since its precipitous decline last fall, Midland and Odessa could certainly benefit from an expanded oil and gas market.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) with U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) have filed HR 2369, the Energy Supply and Distribution Act, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. It’s a bill that would do away with the ban on oil and gas exports. An Alaskan Senator has filed a companion bill that will do the same.

Oil and gas firms pretty much unanimously support the legislation, and a Texas Senate resolution gives a resounding “amen” to the proposed repeal, too.

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Odessa LMM Report

Local Market Monitor’s projections show Odessa home values increasing year-over-year by 6 percent.

There are some who are less-than-optimistic about Midland-Odessa home prices in the next 12 months, but you won’t find the analysts at Local Market Monitor among them. The firm, which takes a complete look at the health of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and gauges the investment risk for real estate, says that both Midland and Odessa are “low risk” investments.

Over the next 12 months, Local Market Monitor projects prices in Midland to rise 8 percent, while home prices in Odessa will increase by 6 percent. The national average for the next 12 months is 6.4 percent.

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