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Bigger and better in Texas, again

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The Texas economy is starting the year off well compared to the rest of the nation with positive reports that indicate a brighter outlook for the future. The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University said job growth and a low cost of living attract businesses to the Lone Star State. Earlier data from the center reported that sales of existing single-family homes in Texas increased of 9% in November from the previous year. The center said 15,000 homes sold statewide at a median home price of $147,600, up 1% from 2010. "Fortunately, Texas is poised to outperform the U.S. averages," Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour said. "Home sales volume in Texas should show modest improvement over 2011, and prices should be stable throughout 2012.” As for employment, Texas alone was responsible for cranking out 19.4% of the nation's jobs from September 2010 to September 2011. However, uncertainty still lingers. A service sector survey by the Dallas Federal Reserve showed increased activity in December 2011, but the revenue index — a measure of service sector conditions across the state — fell to a score of 9 from 14, which suggests a significant decline in revenue growth. The nation faces a tougher situation due to several factors. Overall, the report said the U.S. must continue to work through the foreclosure pipeline. Consumers need to pay off their debts, and small businesses need to start hiring again in order to have a more successful year. Write to Matthew Torres.

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