As we're ticking down toward Christmas, and no doubt all running around like headless chickens, first, Happy Holidays to you all!   Second, I want to give you a gift -- some numbers. Yep. Numbers that suggest where the economy is headed in 2011. A group of economists from various universities delivered these predictions as part of the Chamber's annual Economic Forecast.   The group included Dr. Thomas R. Saving, Texas A&M University; Dr. Stephen Gardner, Baylor University; Dr. Thomas W. Gilligan, The University of Texas at Austin; and Dr. James LeSage, Texas State University. (Dr. Saving wasn't able to attend in person, so his numbers are given separately.)   And here's what they had to say:   - GDP Growth Rate: most forecast a…

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Well, the craziness that is the season! Just now getting around to mentioning that last Wednesday (December 8), the City Council unveiled its plan for downtown Austin. Take a look at the report from News 8, which includes a video.

There is a lot about this plan to like -- diversifying activities on 6th street; getting on top of a real, permanent program to help the homeless; and starting the first phase of an urban rail system.

I'm really excited about it all. But urban rail? Perfect. It would link UT and East Riverside initially and then spread out over ten years. The more ways you give people to move around easily, the more willing they are to branch into new living areas. An excellent development for any real estate investors because it means…

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We're getting down to that time of year when people start taking stock of what they've been doing. Eating too much. Definitely. Not working out enough. Yep. All that stuff is standard stock and trade for resolutions on the New Year. But I have some really good news for real estate investors that will take you through the holidays guilt free, content you're on the right course.

What you're doing? It's worth more than gold. No. Seriously. In the long term, real estate investing has fared better than Gold, that shiny stuff that has long been thought the best of the best when it comes to putting your money somewhere.

Let's look at the charts below. If you sunk some investment dollars into gold in January 1980, setting aside all transactions costs and…

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On October 21, I told you Austin placed second on the 2010 Milken Institute's list of Best Performing Cities. A month earlier Forbes blogger Francesca Levy picked us as a best bet for residential real estate housing markets in the nation. Now here we are in November, and Newsweek says we're one of America's ten best-positioned cities for economic recovery. I know New Year's is better than a month away, but I feel like breaking out the champagne.

In a November 8 article ("Greetings from Recoveryland"), author Joel Kotkin picked Texas as the number one destination for job-seeking Americans. The "Texaplex" -- Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston -- was singled out for reasons that will make the hearts of real estate investors sing:

- hearty…

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