The cover story of Time’s July 14 issue is a 39-page special report, “The Smarter Home.” Naturally, I had to read it.
Number Crunch: State of the Housing Industry
The numbers are big — in November it's all about the state of the housing industry.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, data from 2007 reveal that more than 7.5 million people, or 15 percent, of homeowners with mortgages are spending half their income or more on housing costs. But 38 percent of homeowners with mortgages are financially burdened, by the government's, definition because they spend 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs. That's 19 million homeowners strapped for cash.
Forbes reports that some neighborhoods are appreciating and selling well. The median home sale price in most of these areas is more than $700,000, which puts them in the richest 1 percent of zip codes in the country, according to Forbes. These zip codes include 10069, part of New York's Upper West Side; 94111, San Francisco; and 33109 in Fisher Island, Fla.
Former KB Home CEO Bruce Karatz will pay about $6.7 million in compensation and interest to KB Home and a $480,000 penalty to the U.S. Treasury, reports The Los Angeles Times. The SEC accused Karatz of partaking in a scheme to backdate stock options and failing to disclosed them.
Arizona Capitol Times reports that in the metro Phoenix area, sales of foreclosed homes made up nearly half of all existing homes sold in the area August. The median price of a home bought out of foreclosure was $161,875, down from the median price last year of $220,010.
So far lenders have repossessed a record 656,454 properties nationwide and remain on track to repossess more than 1 million nationwide by year-end. About 1.45 million homeowners face pre-foreclosure actions by lenders, almost double a year ago, according to ForeclosureS.com.
Eric A. Wittenberg, president and CEO of Denver-based McStain Neighborhoods for seven years, has stepped down to cut costs, the company announced. Tom Hoyt, the company's founder and chairman, has taken over Wittenberg's responsibilities.
607 civil cases
According to a study by Navigant Consulting, plaintiffs filed 607 civil cases related to the meltdown in the subprime mortgage market in federal courts during the 18 months through the end of June. That's compared to the savings and loans turmoil 20 years ago, when only 559 lawsuits were filed over a period of six years.
The NAR reports that 24 percent of foreign buyers of U.S. Homes from May 2007 to May 2008 were Canadian, and a third of those purchases were in Florida. The group estimates there were 7,200 Canadian buyers of Florida homes in the period reported. In some Florida resort communities, so many Quebec residents have bought second homes that French is now commonly spoken.