News & Moves: September 24, 2008

News on the people and events that shape the home building industry.
By Jennifer Powell, Staff Writer | September 23, 2008
Centex Leaving Colorado

Centex Corp. announced it will cease its Colorado operations because of the struggling housing market in Denver. The company plans to close by spring of 2009. Centex has been calling home buyers with homes under contract that they will be closing their doors next year. The home builder has been in Colorado since 1981. 

Phil Bodem

New Division President for Taylor Morrison

Taylor Morrison has named Phil Bodem the new division president for the Southern California division. Bodem was recently division president in the Central Valley division for Morrison Homes. He will be responsible for all Southern California operations.

Oriole Homes Goes Belly-Up

One of the latest victims of the housing downturn is Boca Raton, Fla.-based Oriole Homes. The company plans to liquidate its assets instead of filing for bankruptcy, reports the South Florida Business Journal. The company started in 1963 and since then have built more than 25,000 homes in more than 70 Florida communities.

FBI Investigates Home Builders on Incentives

Home builders offer incentives to home buyers to get them to buy a home. It's common practice, and builders are required to disclose the information to their lenders. But the FBI is questioning whether companies defrauded the lenders into writing artificially inflated loans, The Wall Street Journal reports. Officials from the bureau have not released names of companies or individuals they are investigating but said they are looking into cases where there were large incentives offered to the home buyer.

Government Takeover of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Has the Nation Talking

News stations across the country have brought in experts and gathered opinions on the government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These news clips are just a taste of what's on everyone's mind.

Reactions from the Locals

KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, Calif., gets mixed reactions from local mortgage companies and hopeful home buyers. Click to watch.

The 'What if?' Question

What would have happened if the government didn't take over? Jay Fant from First Guaranty Bank answers that question for WTEV-TV in Jacksonville, Fla. Click to watch.

How Does It Affect Homeowners?

Benjamin Akande from Webster University speaks with KTVI-TV St. Louis on how the takeover will affect homeowners. Click to watch.

What Happens Now?

Ken Crawford, a senior portfolio manager, answers questions with Robin Smith from KMOV-TV St. Louis about the bailout's impact on taxpayers. Click to watch.

John McCain: Privatize Mortgage Giants

Republican presidential candidate John McCain believes the takeover should have happened long before now. But in the future, McCain's policy advisor says the candidate wants to privatize the mortgage giants and get them off the taxpayers' hands. Click to watch. (Bloomberg TV)

Barack Obama: Doesn't Want Repeats

Barack Obama, the democratic presidential candidate, supports the bailout. Listen to his policy advisor as he notes that Obama doesn't want to return to the status quo — and that might mean dividing the companies. Click to watch.  (Bloomberg TV) 

Land Deal Raises Questions

The Tulsa Housing Authority may have overpaid for a piece of land on which it plans to build a low-income housing complex. It bought the land in January for $800,000. Six months later, the land appraised for $225,000. Local homeowners are now questioning the land deal. Watch this report from KOKI-TV in Tulsa, Okla.

137-Year-Old Builder sells itself to Rival

Smykal Associates has been around for 137 years. Ralph Smykal, a fourth-generation owner of Smykal Associates, wants to retire. According to The Chicago Tribune, instead of closing its doors, Smykal plans to sell the company to J. Lawrence, a local rival in Naperville, Ill. The company started in 1871 after the Great Chicago Fire. The company will continue under the Smykal name with J. Lawrence.

Commissioner Resigns Amid Accusations of Licensing Criminals

Commissioner Don Saxon, head of Florida's Office of Financial Regulation, is resigning amid a controversy in which he and his agency are accused of giving licenses to mortgage brokers with felony convictions including racketeering and money-laundering. According to reports from Default Servicing News, before Saxon could present his mortgage licensing overhaul, state Cabinet CFO Alex Sink made a motion to force Saxon's resignation, and the governor of Florida seconded it. Before he could be forced out by a vote, Saxon announced he would resign by Sept. 1.


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