California homeowners win a round against big builders
A group of 19 California homeowners who bought their homes between 2004 and 2006 — each with a 20% or more down payment — won the right to sue D.R. Horton, Richmond American, Shea Homes, Lennar Homes and other production home builders for devaluing their properties with risky lending practices.
According to an article in Courthouse News Service, a federal appeals court in San Francisco overturned a lower court’s decision, paving the way for a class action lawsuit over whether developers of new home communities marketed homes to high-risk buyers and then sold houses to unqualified individuals and investors prone to foreclosure.
The end result, according to the plaintiffs, are neighborhoods blighted by foreclosures, empty houses and increased crime. Home values have also plummeted.
The three-judge appellate panel unanimously agreed that the plaintiffs would likely not have purchased their homes had they known the developers’ lending practices. Although they found no causal link between the defendants’ actions and the decreased value of the homes, the ruling allowed the plaintiffs to amend their claims to provide more evidence of a connection between the two events.
Molpus purchases timberland in Virginia, Georgia
The Molpus Woodlands Group, a timberland investment management organization, has purchased 26,500 acres in Georgia and Virginia on behalf of its clients. The timberland, located in Liberty and Long counties in Georgia, and Greensville, Sussex and Southampton counties in Virginia, consists mainly of southern pine timberland. Molpus currently manages an additional 22,000 acres in Georgia and Virginia.
This transaction will become part of a co-mingled fund for Molpus, which is headquartered in Jackson, Miss. The fund, which closed in May 2011 at approximately $439 million, is made up of U.S. and international investors, including corporate and public retirement systems, university endowments, foundations and private investors. Molpus currently has more than 1 million acres of timberland under management located in 15 states.
Pro dealers talk shop in San Antonio
The 2011 ProDealer Industry Summit is responding to the building downturn with a healthy lineup of business-building educational sessions.
This year’s event, sponsored jointly by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association and Home Channel News, will take place Oct. 26 to 28 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio.
“This industry is ready to break out of the doldrums,” said Jim Reynolds, PDIS managing director. “The best minds in the industry will gather again this year in San Antonio to share their ideas.”
In addition to more networking opportunities than in years past, the event will feature an educational lineup designed to empower the attendees and their businesses.
Among the highlights:
• Forces of change in distribution: Guy Blissett, the wholesale distribution lead for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, will present a keynote address on changing distribution models, with lessons from the best in distribution.
• Standout sales and leadership: Connie Podesta, the president of Connie Podesta Inc./Standout, will discuss optimum leadership for today’s business environment.
• The 2010 census and the impact on residential construction: David Vandenbroucke from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Greg Brooks, president of BSCi, review the data to help steer companies toward a recovery.