Foreclosure talks may drag on
The first face-to-face meeting between top bank executives and government officials over irregularities in foreclosure procedures may be followed by months of further negotiations, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Attorney Generals of all 50 states and representatives of seven federal agencies are investigating these procedures, which are creating a backlog of foreclosures at many lending institutions. State and federal officials met in Washington, D.C., on March 30 with representatives of the five largest mortgage servicers — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Chase & Co., CitiGroup and Ally Financial Inc. — to discuss practices such as “robosigned” foreclosure documents, as well as guidelines for the industry going forward.
The two sides have exchanged draft proposals covering new guidelines for foreclosures and mortgage servicing. Banks are looking at a possible $25 billion settlement and might be required to allow homeowners to sell their houses for less than what is owed on their mortgages.
Beazer Homes launches Pre-Owned Homes Division
Atlanta-based Beazer Homes has introduced its Pre-Owned Homes Division in an effort to expand beyond new home sales. The new division acquires, improves and rents recently built, previously owned homes within select communities in markets where the company currently operates. The home builder is initially offering pre-owned homes in the Phoenix market.
"While many prospective home buyers recognize that this is an excellent time to purchase a new Beazer eSMART high-performance home — with all of its award-winning energy-saving features — other consumers want or need different home alternatives. With the Pre-Owned Homes Division, we look forward to addressing this demand," said Ian J. McCarthy, Beazer Homes’ CEO.
The program will offer homes that have been built since 2004 by a reputable builder, including those by Beazer. The homes will receive repairs and upgrades according to the company’s standards.
In the coming months, Beazer Homes may expand the division to include homes in Nevada or California.
Beazer expects to offer these homes for re-sale, either to their respective tenants or to other buyers, once the housing market recovers.
Construction spending drops again in February
Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department today put construction spending during February 2011 at $760.6 billion, 1.4% below last month’s figure. The February estimate is also 6.8% lower than February 2010, which the government estimated at $815.8 billion.
During the first two months of this year, construction spending amounted to $103.7 billion, 8.2% below the $112.9 billion for the same period in 2010.
Spending on private construction dropped 1.4% to $468.0 billion in February 2011, compared with the previous month, with residential construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $228.5 billion in February, 3.7% below January’s estimate. Nonresidential construction declined 0.9% to $239.6 billion.
In February, the adjusted annual rate of public construction spending was $292.5 billion, 1.3% below January’s estimate of $296.4 billion. Educational construction dropped 3.7%, but highway construction rose slightly to 0.4% above January’s estimated spending.