Doyal files for Montgomery County Judge in GOP primary

DOYAL CITES EXPERIENCE, CONSERVATIVE VALUES AS HE FILES FOR COUNTY JUDGE

 

For immediate release Dec. 2, 2013

For media follow up, please contact the Craig Doyal Campaign at (936) 520-6098. Want to join us? Go to www.craigdoyal.com.

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Craig Doyal filed for Montgomery County Judge in the GOP primary Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. He is joined by Dr. Walter Wilkerson, chairman of the Montgomery County GOP.

Craig Doyal filed for county judge in the Republican Primary Monday, Dec. 2, saying his conservative values, his years of service to Precinct 2 and his leadership on regional projects had prepared him to serve all of Montgomery County as county judge.

“I love Montgomery County, have lived here all my life, and I share the great values of conservative government and responsible leadership that have made this one of the greatest places to live in Texas,” Doyal said.

Educated in Conroe ISD schools and a proud “Aggie,” Craig is married to wife Amy and has three children, 30-year-old Brian, 27-year-old Lindsey, 20-year-old Jennifer, and 7-year-old granddaughter, Laylee.

A native Texan and 4th-generation Montgomery County resident, Craig Doyal has served as Precinct 2 County Commissioner since August 29, 2001. Prior to holding the office of CountyCommissioner, Craig served for 15 years as the Administrative Assistant to Commissioner Malcolm Purvis, where he handled the day to day operations of Precinct 2.

“I grew up here and have spent my career in Montgomery County learning how this county operates and taking the lead on key projects, like the construction of the Fish Creek Thoroughfare, the expansion of FM 1488 through the pass-thru program, and acquisition of right of way for future thoroughfares. Those experiences have prepared me to handle the diverse challenges our county faces as we prepare for rapid population growth that is headed our way.”

Craig said he will focus on four key areas as county judge:

Responsible economic growth and development

“The county needs to take a thoughtful, conservative and responsible approach to ensure its infrastructure is prepared to cope with its rapid population growth, and I am prepared to do that.” Doyal has taken a leadership role on projects like the 249 Tollway (the Aggie superhighway), which will ease congestion and promote economic growth, and the Camp Strake project, which will provide a quality commercial and residential development on Conroe’s doorstep that will add millions of dollars to the county’s tax base without requiring much, if any, of county services.

Open and transparent service

Craig is committed to maintaining an open-door policy for all county residents and will push for transparency at all levels of county government.

Conservative values on budget, social issues

Doyal has voted repeatedly to keep the county tax rate flat, allowing the county’s expanding tax base to take care of its growth needs. He has opposed wasteful spending, and has supported responsible approaches to county facilities such as the Joe Corley Detention Center, whose sale generated $22 million for the county along with approximately $3 million in operating revenue, and now is permanently on the county’s tax rolls, generating annual revenues.

Protecting natural resources

Doyal has consistently opposed threats to our groundwater from projects like the controversial proposed wastewater injection well east of Conroe. He also is concerned about the county’s sole surface water resource, Lake Conroe, and will work to ensure it is protected from depletion as the cities of Conroe and The Woodlands turn to it to end their longstanding reliance on groundwater for their water needs.

As County Commissioner, Craig’s role in meeting the many challenges of a rapidly growing county have dramatically changed.  Today he works closely with county department heads to manage the expenditures of a $279 million budget and establish policies and procedures for the operation of county government.  Along with these duties, Craig works closely with the Texas Department of Transportation and other county and state officials to make sure our mobility issues are addressed countywide.

Commissioner Doyal has served as past Chairman of Houston Galveston Area Council and the county representative to the Transportation Policy Council, and currently serves as chairman of the SB1420 Committee that will determine funding options for portions of the proposed Grand Parkway and is the Montgomery County representative to the Gulf Coast Rail District.

Commissioner Doyal has served as a Montgomery ISD Board Trustee and a board member of the Montgomery County Committee on the Aging ‑ better known as “The Friendship Center”.  He was a “Meals on Wheels” volunteer for nine years, president of the Magnolia Parks Council and is a member of the South County, Magnolia, Magnolia Parkway and Conroe Chambers of Commerce. Craig is also a member of the Woodlands Rotary Club and a lifetime member of the Montgomery County Fair Association. Additionally, he is a longtime financial supporter of several area Republican groups.

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May home sales surge for Houston region, Montgomery County

Closed Sales May 2012-2013The county and the Houston region continued to blow out previous home sales records as the area’s strong economy, job and population growth fuel continued demand for housing.

May 2013 marked the second-best month for home sales in Montgomery County ever, with 911 homes sold; that is second only to June 2006, when 929 homes were sold during the market peak. It was the highest number of homes sold in May in Montgomery County ever, compared even with the market peak in 2006.Closed Sales YTD May 2013

The monthly sales represented a 23 percent increase over May of last year; that compares well with Houston, which saw a 28 percent growth in sales in May, year over year.

Montgomery County has seen nearly two years – 20 consecutive months – of positive sales each month over previous years. Houston has experienced 24 straight months of positive growth.

It all adds up to a dynamic housing market that gives no signs of slowing, despite modest increase in interest rates recently, according to Houston Association of Realtors Chairman Danny Frank with Prudential Anderson Properties.

“The Houston real estate market has held to positive territory for two years running and you’d be hard-pressed to find a market anywhere in the U.S. as vibrant as ours,” Frank said. “We continue to see multiple offers on homes, in many cases before the ink has even dried on the listing agreements. There are also many cash offers. We need to carefully watch pricing, however. A disproportionate appreciation in home prices could suggest a bubble, and Houston is very fortunate to have avoided that so far.”

Houston’s and Montgomery County’s relentless surge in home sales continues to be fueled by further job creation, according to HAR, with the Texas Workforce Commission reporting the addition of more than 111,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Continued low interest rates have also made conditions more appealing for home buying, although rates have begun creeping up in recent weeks.

Median Price YTD May 2013The patterns of growth in sales, decreasing inventory, and median prices have been favoring The Woodlands, Conroe and southwest Montgomery County, but southeast Montgomery County and the Lake Conroe area saw the strongest increase in closed sales in May, and also year-to-date now. The two regions also lead in May with increases in median price; although year-to-date The Woodlands and southwest Montgomery County, followed by Conroe northeast, continue to see the strongest price appreciation, with gains in median prices of 9.1 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

All of this growth in sales of course eventually will have an impact on the availability of housing and the pace of sales.

                       

Days on Market YTD May 2013

                                                                                                                The average Days on Market (DOM) fell in each of the four regions of Montgomery County, with the stro

ngest declines being in what have been the two strongest markets, The Woodlands/southwest and Conroe/northeast. In The Woodlands/southwest, the average DOM now stands at 56 days.

Months of Inventory June 2013The amount of remaining inventory continues to drop as well. In The Woodlands/southwest, the remaining months of inventory available has fallen to just 2.5 months.

The only negative to be found in all of the data is the number of closed sales in southeast Montgomery County – there has been a decrease for that region both for May compared to last year, and for year to date.

Still, with all the pressure on growth – and the coming development of the latest segment of the Grand Parkway, passing along the south part of the county from near the Exxon/Mobil complex to U.S. 59 – it’s hard to believe that southeast Montgomery County won’t see a surge in sales eventually as well.

 

The Top 10 fast-selling areas in Montgomery County; location, location, location

 

Top 10 fast sellers April 2013 

One clear sign of the strength of home sales in any particular area, and where the market is likely to heat up even more next, is in the average Days on Market for homes.

Clearly, Montgomery County is now a “seller’s market,” defined as a housing market in which the existing inventory of homes is 5 to 6 months or less (the time it would take, given the existing pace of sales, to absorb all of the existing homes on market).

But Montgomery County is not uniform by any means, and housing sales are driven by any number of factors. The quality of area schools, the quality of construction, the availability and quality of area amenities, and proximity to jobs are all major factors that will drive home sales.

If you are considering listing your home, list it with Remax The Woodlands/Spring, the market leader in The Woodlands/Spring

And one measure of the strength of those sales is the Days on Market. After analyzing the Days on Market for the geographical market areas used by the Houston Association of Realtors MLS, I have determined the “Top 10 Fastest Selling Areas” in Montgomery County for April 2013. Go here for a chart showing the entire list, plus the number of sales in each area.

The graphic shows the Top 10. What makes these communities so popular? A look at the top 5 helps explain:

  1. The Woodlands – The Woodlands is the hottest market for real estate right now in Montgomery County. Homes are listed and sold literally in days in some cases. The reasons are obvious. The Woodlands boasts quality schools, fantastic area amenities including Market Street, great neighborhood parks, golfing and miles of hiking and biking trails and proximity to Interstate 45 and the Exxon Mobil campus currently under construction. At 12 Days on Market on average for April, homes have become a precious commodity in The Woodlands.
  2. Spring Northeast – Spring Northeast is No. 2 in our ranking, and it is driven by quality subdivisions like Imperial Oaks and Bender’s Landing, the community of Oak Ridge north, and proximity to I-45.
  3. Conroe southeast – At No. 3, the southeast area of Conroe – featuring custom home subdivisions like River Plantation and Crighton Ridge, is narrowly behind Spring Northeast in Days on Market. Again, proximity to I-45 is a key driver.
  4. Magnolia FM 1488 east – Home buyers here are drawn by the promise of spacious homes on large lots, a place in the country that still is not too far thriving areas like The Woodlands and thoroughfares like Interstate 45.
  5. Lake Conroe area – Lake Conroe is one of Montgomery County’s claims to fame, and a wide variety of lake area communities afford homeowners the best of both worlds, a lake area lifestyle, with city amenities just down the road.

We’ve entered a seller’s market here in Montgomery County; plus – see my newest listing below

Montgomery County is now a seller’s market, joining the Houston region in setting remarkable trends for home sales.
For a time, a slowdown in sales created in part by the national recession and new, stricter underwriting guidelines for homes had depressed sales well below their peak in the last decade, leading to a large inventory of homes on the market and producing a buyer’s market. But Houston’s robust economy, record-low interest rates and job growth have helped fuel strong demand for homes.

That demand has helped turn the real estate market around this year. The traditional definition of a buyer’s market is where the market area has more than 5 months of inventory; when home purchases drive the inventory to less than 5 months of available supply, a seller’s market is created. Montgomery County, at least in most areas, according to real estate experts, is now a seller’s market.

And we’re part of a regional trend. Consider these amazing statistics on the Houston region from the Houston Association of Realtors:

  1. Houston home sales surged in May, accounting for the 12th consecutive month of positive sales.
  2. Average and median prices broke records; volume of sales reached the highest level since June 2008.
  3. Local housing inventory is now at its lowest level in more than five years.
  4. May sales of single-family homes soared 23.8 percent compared with the previous year – the biggest monthly increase since August.
  5. The May single-family home average price rose 8.5 percent year-over-year to $237,083, the highest level ever in Houston.

Montgomery County is part of that exciting trend. Sales in Montgomery County for May totaled 753 compared to 544 last May, representing a stunning increase of 38.4 percent. And for the year to date in May, sales stood at 2,468 compared with 2,140 last May, for an increase of 15.3 percent.

For a look at how Montgomery County’s four regions compare across a variety of measures, take a look at the following graphics:

Clearly, it’s a good time for selling or buying in Montgomery County.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in Montgomery County, please contact me at jfredricks@thefredricksgroup.com. You can also follow the link below to see my newest listing, a lovely log home on 3.5 acres with a pond, east of Conroe.

Jim Fredricks is a licensed Realtor with the Chevaux Group in The Woodlands.

18422 Possum Trot – Log home on 3.5 acres east of Conroe
MLS# 23125033
Listing Price:$280,000
Bedrooms:# 4
Baths:# 2
Sq.ft:# 2,953
Acres: 3.5
Description:Peaceful, country living at its best on spacious 3.5   acres with pond. Great custom log home, soaring ceilings in living area and   master with wrap-around porch to enjoy the country views. Four bedrooms, game   room and study. 40X40 workshop/garage. Master Bedroom/Study is up with large   jacuzzi tub and huge walk-in shower. 19X6 balcony off master bedroom   overlooks gorgeous acreage. Includes big 8-person hot tub with 20X14 deck.

See more detail here

About that commute, Houston: it’s going to get harder

Took this awesome pic of i-10 and i-45 right a...

Image via Wikipedia

After hearing the same disturbing point twice in one week – in two completely unrelated meetings – I’m getting the message: Houston, we have a problem.

The problem is transportation funding. Do you like your current drive to work? Just give it a few years; unless something is done to augment or change the current sources of transportation funding, you’ll learn to hate it.

State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, was the first to drive home that point during a recent Tuesday meeting with local leaders in Conroe. His newly redrawn Senate district now incorporates more of north Montgomery County, including Conroe, and he was meeting with Conroe residents to update them on legislative issues.

As chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, Williams is deeply aware of the state’s transportation funding. Basically, he said, we’re broke.

The main source of funding – the state’s gasoline tax – currently provides only enough money to fund ongoing maintenance. Any construction activity taking place along
state roadways in the Houston region is the result of funding that has already been approved. Once those projects are completed, there will be no new projects in the pipeline. “Most people don’t realize this,” Williams said.

The very next day, I was at a meeting in Houston of a newly formed organization known as the Transportation Advisory Group. The speaker that afternoon was John Barton, at the time serving as interim director for the Texas Department of Transportation.

“We don’t have enough state money to do everything we need to do,” Barton told the assembled group of engineers, consultants, and public policy advocates. With the state’s population expected to swell to 50 million by 2040, “There is no longterm solution in sight.”

Even worse, one of the current main sources of funding – the state’s gasoline tax – is not going to be a stable source of revenue heading into the future, as more and more drivers shift to electric vehicles or hybrids. It already cannot keep up with demand, and that problem will only grow in scope over time.

They are not the only people looking at the issue. Many of the points raised by both Barton and Williams are dealt with in-depth in a recently updated report of the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2030 Committee – appointed by Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi in 2008. The updated report, which can be found here, stressed the same points in great detail – the state’s current system of road funding is broken.

Two things are needed.

First, Houston needs a voice. Barton pointed out that Houston in particular was hamstrung because of its lack of any regional advocacy in Austin to press Houston’s concerns. So when the fighting starts over money in coming legislative sessions, Houston will be at a disadvantage to other metropolitan areas like Dallas and Fort Worth.

“Your brothers and sisters a little north of you are united, they’re vocal, and a lot
of attention is being paid to those communities,” he said. As a result, legislators from those areas can speak more convincingly about their local needs. Houston legislators need that, he said.

“It really would be helpful when they want to talk to these people, that there was a force behind them from the largest Metro area of the states. Today, that just doesn’t
exist.”

The Houston Transportation Advisory Group, or TAG, was formed for that very reason, said Jack Drake, president of the Greenspoint
District in Houston.

“Other regions are innovative, politically involved and have strong, active Metropolitan Planning Organizations,” Drake said. Houston needs the same.

The other main point is that Houston, and the state, need more transportation dollars. TAG’s goal for the coming legislative session is to press the Legislature to either “more
adequately fund transportation in our region or give us the power to do it ourselves.”

That could come in a variety of forms – including possible increases in vehicle
registration fees or increased authority from the Legislature for local funding
options and tax improvement districts.

But it won’t happen on its own. And, for Houston, failure is not an option. As Drake points out: “The government is out of regional transportation dollars.”