Five stories that have North Texas talking: The housing market in Texas seems healthy; how often do Texas police pull the trigger; cochlear implants have allowed a Plano girl to thrive in kindergarten; and more.
Things are looking up in the housing market. More new homes were sold this past July than in nearly a decade, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Single-family homes were purchased at an annual rate of 654,000, which is 31 percent higher than last year and the highest rate since October 2007.
The national trend has been especially kind to North Texas. A WalletHub study conducted in light of the housing market’s health shows five suburbs of Dallas-Fort Worth in the top 10 best real estate markets in the country:
- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
- Austin, Texas
- Overland Park, Kansas
- Thornton, Colorado
- Arvada, Colorado
Denton, Irving, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie took various positions in the top 30, and Dallas ranked at No. 42 of 300 U.S. cities measured.
WalletHub categorized the cities sampled by size: large (more than 300,000 people), mid-size (150,000 to 300,000) and small (fewer than 150,000). Then they compared that sample by 16 differently weighted metrics that fell into either of two catch-all sections: the real-estate market or affordability and economic environment. Read the full methodology.
- Police shootings have dominated the news for the past year, but the details have been sparse. In the past year, journalists at The Texas Tribune analyzed more than 650 records of shootings in 36 of Texas’ largest cities between 2010-2015 that they could independently confirm. Among other insights, they learned that out of 656 shootings, 71 percent were of unarmed individuals – and 41 percent of those shot were of black. Explore the digital project and listen to Texas Standard’s interview with Tribune reporter Alexa Ura on the findings. [The Texas Tribune, Texas Standard]
- A 5-year-old girl from Plano is thriving in kindergarten after losing her hearing briefly at an early age. When Esther Savage was about 16 months old, she contracted severe meningitis, which damaged the hair follicles in her inner ear. After her parents brought her home from Haiti in 2012, they decided to move forward with cochlear implant surgery. Savage’s mom told KERA it’s hard to believe Esther’s hearing loss went untreated for eight months. It’s only her second week of kindergarten, and she’s already stringing together complex 10-word sentences – and even using past tense. Since 2012, about 38,000 hearing aid devices have been implanted in children. [Breakthroughs]
- About an hour northeast of Dallas, you can sleep inside a tree house on lavender farm. Owners Susan and Ron Van Volkenburgh operate a bed and breakfast at their farm, Savannah’s Meadow in Celeste, Texas. They bought the land in April on the same day they saw it for the first time and started inviting guests two weeks later, according to Dallas Observer. Read a first-person account of the experience staying in a three-room tree house on the 18-acre farm and retreating from city life. An episode of Animal Planet’s “Ultimate Treehouses with Pete Nelson” will feature the Majestic Oak Treehouse at 9 p.m. on Sept. 9. [Dallas Observer]
- Maren Morris, a singer-songwriter from Arlington, has been nominated for five Country Music Awards. Announced Wednesday, 26-year-old Morris is in the running for Best New Artist, Song and Single of the Year for “My Church,” Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for her major label debut, “Hero.” Although Morris has been taking Nashville by storm since she relocated a few years ago, we’ll still claim her as yet another North Texas breakout. The 50th Annual CMA Awards airs live Wednesday, Nov. 2 on ABC. [CMA]