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Bo McCarver’s weekly housing news compilation – 8/20/2008

My friend and fellow houser Bo McCarver shares with the Texas housers blog the housing related stories from his weekly compilation of print media stories he calls “The Tuesday Report”. Bo’s report is posted here each Wednesday. If you want a pdf file of the articles that includes social, environmental and other contextual news stories, send me a comment with your email address and I’ll pass it on to Bo.

Note that sometimes you must register with a newspaper web site in order to read the full article.

Here is Bo’s report….

Plummeting prices for homes continue across the nation as defaults soar. Although an over-zealous home financing program brought on much of the problem, the focus has slowly shifted to include inflated appraisals. For an analysis of how the appraisers went bad, see “Weak rules cripple appraiser oversight.”

Housing starts dip to lowest level in 17 years
Associated Press August 19, 2008
WASHINGTON – Construction of homes and apartments fell in July to the lowest level in more than 17 years, the government reported Tuesday.

Darker days forecast for Austin real estate
Slow job growth will hurt construction into 2009, economist says.
By Shonda Novak Austin American-Statesman August 19, 2008

Job growth in Central Texas is expected to slow to 1.1 percent between now and August 2009. New-home construction won’t pick up until the fall of 2009. And don’t look for any major new commercial building until 2010.

Plan to build 700 homes for homeless headed to Dallas council
By Kim Horner Dallas Morning News August 18, 2008 KIM HORNER
Dallas’ homeless czar outlined a plan on Monday to build 700 homes for chronically homeless people throughout the city within five years – at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $7.2 million to $18 million.

U.S. subprime collapse reaches Welsh town
Housing prices are falling, and first-time buyers can’t get credit. Sound familiar?

By Jane Wardell        Associated Press         August 17, 2008
WREXHAM, WALES — During a bustling lunch hour in this Welsh commuter town, 25-year-old Richard Williams is one of the few who pause to look at properties for sale in a real estate agent’s window — and he isn’t buying.
“I’d love to, but I’m single and I can’t afford to buy anything on my own; nobody would give me a mortgage,” explained Williams, a delivery driver who recently moved back home with his parents after his rent went up.
The plight of Williams — and hundreds more like him — has made Wrexham, situated on the doorstep of the mountain peaks of the stunning Snowdonia National Park, one of the towns hardest hit by the global credit squeeze.

Weak rules cripple appraiser oversight
Associated Press       August 17, 2008
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As soaring home prices set the stage for America’s great housing meltdown, a critical step in making sure those home sales were a fair deal — the real estate appraisal — was undermined from within.

25% of home sales result in loss
Values have fallen so far in many cities that sale prices don’t cover what sellers originally paid. That means more hard times before markets recover.

By Les Christi       CNN       August 13, 2008
NEW YORK — More homeowners than ever are selling at a loss, propelling the real estate market deeper into crisis.
In the 12 months that ended June 30, nearly 25% of all homes sold nationwide fetched less than sellers originally paid, according to real estate Web site Zillow.com.

Days on market for Beaumont homes is longer than last year
By Heather Nolan             Beaumont Enterprise        August, 14, 2008
When Nancy Ridley put her three-bedroom, two-bathroom West End home up for sale in May, she thought people might line up to buy it.
“I got panicky after two weeks,” the recently married Ridley said. “You hear about those people who put their home on the market and it’s sold in one day. So you wonder, ‘Why not me?'”

After 73 days on the market and a potential buyer in the pipeline, Ridley might be better off than most in the area when it comes to how long her home sits on the market.

Dallas-Fort Worth foreclosure postings rise 7%
By Steve Brown      Dallas Morning News       August 14, 2008
The latest foreclosure statistics show only a 7 percent increase in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from a year ago.

But more than 3,700 homes are still scheduled for foreclosure sale in September’s county auctions, according to statistics released Thursday by Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.

Housing authority director plans more building
By Dan Wallach        Beaumont Enterprise        August 17, 2008
BEAUMONT – Robert Reyna walked over the scarred and scraped ground where the bleak and forlorn Magnolia Gardens housing project once stood.
Reyna has plans for the site that once comprised 195 “units,” in housing authority parlance.

It’s to be called Pointe North and it will be the new home for people who are committed to improving their own lives, Reyna said.

Council nixes comprehensive plan
By Chris Paschenko       Galveston County Daily News       August 17, 2008
DICKINSON – Although Dickinson’s charter requires a comprehensive plan, the city council voted against authorizing $159,825 for the document that would help guide the city’s development.

The foes of infill development: time, money
Redeveloping more expensive than building from scratch

By Doug Myers          Abilene Reporter-News       August 16, 2008
Anthony Williams is growing impatient.  Efforts to deal with erosion in Abilene’s inner city aren’t moving fast enough for Williams’ taste.

“Personally, I’m really tired of talking about it,” Williams said. “Rather than words, I want to see some action.”

City Of Tyler Issues 60 Building Permits For $1.96 Million Valuation
Tyler News      August 17, 2008
The city of Tyler issued 60 building permits, for $1.96 million in estimated construction valuation, during the week of Aug. 3-9.

Save Our History:
Fort Worth needs to live up to its own heritage preservation plan.

By Kip Wright      Fort Worth Weekly     August 5, 2008
It’s great to know that the City of Fort Worth does not discriminate when it comes to demolishing historic properties. Cultural resources relating to all segments of our community get equal treatment: the wrecking ball.

I started my commitment to housing justice for people and communities with low incomes in 1975 in Austin's Clarksville community. These years of working side-by-side with dedicated community leaders to find solutions to housing and community development challenges have taught me some things and I’m learning new things every day.

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