Want to build the home of your dreams and can’t find enough land for it? Try moving to Tampa. The area has 27,923 building lots, enough to keep homebuilders busy for nine years. That’s assuming anyone actually wants to build something, of course. [More]
If you received a foreclosure notice this year, you’re not alone. According to tracking firm RealtyTrac, 1.6 million properties received a foreclosure filing — defined as default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — during the first half of 2010. The good news: that number is down 5% from the previous six months. The bad? It’s up 8% from the first half of last year. And RealtyTrac doesn’t see any relief coming, as a “massive number of distressed properties and underwater loans continues to sit just below the surface.” [More]
Newly released court documents indicate that over a half-dozen companies knew about the rotten egg smells exuding from Chinese drywall since 2006, but they stayed quiet and kept selling the junk. [More]
Do you like farts? Documents and depositions unearthed by ProPublica and the Sarasota Harold-Tribune show exchanges between homebuilder WCI Communities and drywall distributor Banner that reveal the sulfur-emitting drywall problem was known as far back as 2006, and yet customers and authorities were not notified. In one deposition, a Banner executive refuses to admit that sulfur-stinking drywall might bother others, seeing as he himself, on certain occasions, enjoys the sweet aroma of another man’s butt gas: [More]
The Mortgage Bankers Association says that if you just missed a morgage payment, you’re not alone — 10% of homeowners just did the same thing. [More]
North Dakota is bucking the downsizing trend by overflowing with jobs — many of them in the oil industry — the New York Times reports. Problem is, the state doesn’t have adequate housing to keep up with would-be carpetbaggers. [More]
We get a surprising amount of letters from people who regularly make extra mortgage payments. (Extra payments sometimes confuse the bank and causes headaches.) It seems like it would always a good idea to pay off debt if you can afford it, but with current mortgage rates as low as they are.. does it still make sense? [More]
There’s an interesting detail at the end of this New York Times article on borrowers who strategically default–that is, they choose to walk away from the home when its value is significantly less than the mortgage balance. It turns out that the homeowner mentioned at the start of the article applied last fall for a loan modification with Bank of America after his income level had dropped, and this was BofA’s response: “The lender came back a few weeks ago with a plan that added more restrictive terms while keeping the payments about the same. ‘That may have been the last straw,’ Mr. Koellmann said.” [More]
The burgeoning Twitter libel defense industry was dealt a blow recently when the infamous Twitter defamation lawsuit was dismissed. Apparently, it is quite difficult to craft a Tweet that fits the legal requirements for defamation in this country. [More]
So apparently apartment vacancies were up to 8% in the last quarter, which is weird because one would assume that people getting tossed from their foreclosed houses would be renting. Marketplace has some thoughts on the problem. [More]
Yeah, it’s that bad.
The Wall Street Journal says the number of borrowers currently underwater on their mortgage (meaning they owe more than the property is worth) has swelled to 23%. Ouch. [More]
Are you hitting that stage in life where you’re thinking of becoming a homeowner? Morningstar has published two home buying articles that together offer some good, concise advice to the prospective buyer, especially if you’re a first-timer.
The next time you travel to another city, it might be cheaper, or at least more interesting, to rent directly from a local homeowner. Cool Tools says Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO.com) is a great way to find rental opportunities when you travel.
Yesterday the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced some findings from its study of the problematic Chinese drywall, which 1,900 Florida homeowners have complained stinks and makes people sick. The commission told the Associated Press that “no connections have been made yet,” but that they’re doing more tests—which means there’s still no definitive answer on who should be held financially responsible if the homes have to be gutted and repaired, which the Wall Street Journal says could cost as much as $25 billion dollars.
Here’s an interesting discovery about mortgage defaults from the LA Times: