Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Housing market update

-Sales of new homes were off 23.5% compared with March 2006...“The inventory of unsold homes rose by 1,000 to 545,000 in March, representing a 7.8-month supply. Sales in the previous three months were revised lower as well. February’s revised annualized sales pace of 836,000 was the lowest since September 1999"...

-“Cheating on mortgage applications is so widespread and so seldom punished that it’s fueling an increase in foreclosures that will prolong the housing slump, said Robert W. Russell, counsel to the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, which oversees savings and loans.”

“‘Misstatements about employment and income are being made every day,’ Russell said. ‘The brokers are just putting down on paper what the underwriters would require. There are borrowers providing false information as well.’”

-The Herald. “The shutdown of wholesale lender Mortgage Investment Lending Associates Inc. was sudden, but not a surprise to many of the employees laid off over the past year.”

“‘I’ve been waiting for it,’ said Amorita Simon of Everett, who lost her job there in February 2006. ‘And I knew the way that MILA ran itself, it was only a matter of time.’”

-The Vancouver Sun. “West Fraser Timber president Hank Ketcham said Tuesday the forest industry is facing the worst recession he can recall with no end in sight.”

“‘To us it is a typical cycle. We have seen it in the mid-’70s, early-’80s and early-’90s. In real dollar terms, lumber prices today are lower than they were in 1982, which was the worst recession I remember,’ the West Fraser president, a lumberman since 1973, told analysts.”

“The benchmark price for lumber from the B.C. Interior dropped to $253 US a thousand board feet in the first quarter of the year, down from $343 US a thousand board feet one year.”

-The Daily Courier from Arizona. “The construction business of former Arizona Senate candidate Elise Townsend of Paulden filed for bankruptcy this week, three months after the Arizona Registrar of Contractors revoked its license.”

“Townsend filed the bankruptcy for her Pres-cott-based business just one day before her major lender planned to auction off 1,120 vacant acres she owned in southern Arizona because she hadn’t made any payments in recent months.”

“Townsend said she went from selling 151 homes in 2005 to fewer than a dozen this past year. She’s stuck with 37 she can’t sell right now. At least a half-dozen are not finished and the values have dropped 20 percent to 30 percent. ‘This isn’t just a Townsend problem, it’s a national problem,’ Townsend said.”

“The bankruptcy filing lists at least 72 mostly unnamed individual investors, including some who were local residents.”

-The East Valley Tribune from Arizona. “Las Vegas homebuilder Jim Rhodes has suspended his large-scale development in Mohave County, a company representative confirmed"...“Rhodes has pulled work crews from his Pravada development in Golden Valley southwest of Kingman, where he has plans approved to build more than 32,000 homes on about 5,750 acres"...“The Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved general plan amendments for four Rhodes developments in December 2005. But his plans to build more than 130,000 new homes there have stalled because the Arizona Corporation Commission has yet to issue a certificate to operate a water and sewer company that would serve his development in Golden Valley"...130,000 homes!!!! 4 people per home that's over a half a million people...

-The Press Enterprise. “The number of homes on the market in the Inland region is at its highest level in eight years, according to Multi-Regional MLS, which tracks resale homes in western Riverside and San Bernardino counties and eastern Los Angeles County. The service reports that more than 34,700 homes are listed for sale in the region.”

“The month’s supply of listings, or how long it would take for this supply of homes to be sold at the current pace, is at 13.2 months, up from 6.9 months a year ago.”

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