Number Crunch: April 2008

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Guess what the significance of $150 million is? Read on to find out.

April 01, 2008

$10.5M 
Funding for training and job services, under California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for residential construction workers and others who have been laid off as a result of the downturn in the housing market.

$840,000 
The price of condos in the Miami-Dade County with original price tags as much as $1.4 million at market peak, according to The Wall Street Journal. That's a 40 percent drop.

$995 
The price a company in San Diego called You Walk Away charges to help people walk away from their homes, ceding them to the banks in foreclosure. Something smells fishy here; let's hope people read the fine print.

$150 million 
The amount of write-downs Toll Brothers took in the first quarter as revenue dropped 23 percent and its backlog of orders fell 42 percent. The company blames all the chit chat about the down market for their problems.

57 
Percent of respondents who noted that water-saving toilets are growing more popular. That's from the Home Design Trends Survey done by the AIA. It also showed demand for renewable kitchen flooring materials jumped from 53 percent in 2006 to 61 percent in 2007.

8.9 
Percent U.S. home value fell in 2007, the largest decline in at least 20 years, Standard & Poor's reported. The Case-Shiller National Home Price Index fell 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter alone, S&P said. (Somebody needs to send this information to the folks in denial.)

77 
Percent of homeowners polled nationwide who said they believe their home has held or increased value in 2007, despite all the news reports of the sagging market, credit crunch and depressed values, according to Zillow. Doctor, do we have an epidemic of denial on our hands?

25 
Percent decline in total housing starts NAHB's housing forecast predicts for 2008, with the single-family component down by 31 percent for the year. But don't get too blue; NAHB still expects starts to start edging up in the final quarter of this year.

93 
Home builders who have pledged to build high-performance homes planned for the U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman Builders Challenge. The voluntary national energy savings program calls for the U.S. home building industry to build 220,000 high-performance, energy-efficient homes by 2012.

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