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Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 24, 2017 1:37 pm|

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

When it comes to which places are the best for first-time homebuyers, Texas cities are pretty hard to beat. That’s according to the finance site WalletHub, which ranked the best and worst cities for aspiring homeowners.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says she looked in-depth at affordability, the real estate market, and quality of life. She says based on that criteria, north Texas is an especially good market for first-time buyers

“When we look at the top 10 alone, numbers one, two, and three are McKinney, Frisco, and Allen,” she says. “We also have Richardson in the top 10, and then places like Denton in the top 20, overall, along with Carrollton. So we’re seeing that a lot of places in Texas are great not only for any homebuyers but really for those first-time homebuyers. It’s just hard to get more home for the money elsewhere.”

Gonzalez adds that the top-three Texas cities on the list also have something else that appeals to first-time homebuyers: new houses! She says between three and six percent of the homes in McKinney, Frisco, and Allen have been built in the last five years.



Texas Public Radio reports that the first round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, are set to begin in mid-August.

Late last week, U.S. Reps. Will Hurd and Henry Cuellar spoke about their hopes for a new agreement, which they say they would like to see by the end of 2017.

Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, says expanding cooperation between U.S. and Mexican customs officials could allow goods to flow across the border more efficiently. He uses operations at the Port of Laredo as an example.

“If you look at just the Port of Laredo, not the customs duty but just the Port of Laredo…we’re already doing this on a day-to-day basis, working with the Mexicans to make sure we have facilitation,” he says.

Hurd, a Republican whose district stretches from San Antonio to El Paso, proposes changes to NAFTA that would give the U.S. more clout across the border.

“Twenty-three, twenty-four years ago, when NAFTA was signed, foreign direct investment was not allowed in the energy sector in Mexico. U.S. customs or USDA inspectors were not allowed to carry sidearms into Mexico, which impacts our ability to do some kinds of inspections,” Hurd says. “Having some of these changes codified in NAFTA 2.0 are very important not just for the U.S., but something we know that Mexico wants to do.”

Cuellar and Hurd also advocate for creating a guest-worker system based around market demand.



Federal safety regulators will return to Austin this week to look at what’s causing carbon monoxide to leak inside Austin police vehicles.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that representatives from the Ford Motor Co. will join inspectors with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate the matter.

It’s the second time federal officials have traveled to Austin since March, when an officer got dizzy and nearly crashed his patrol car.