Freddie Mac to help homeowners with drywall problems
Freddie Mac, one of the nation’s largest backers of residential mortgages, has announced a new policy where homeowners with toxic drywall can get relief on their mortgage payments in order to help with remediation costs.
According to the announcement, Freddie Mac has instructed its “servicers” — banks and financial institutions — to suspend a borrower’s mortgage payments for up to three months or reduce payments for up to six months. Servicers may recommend payment suspension for up to 12 months, based on the borrower’s individual circumstances.
Each mortgage payment schedule adjustment is to be done on a case-by-case basis, at the bank’s discretion. Borrowers cannot be charged late fees as long as they abide by the payment relief agreement.
The new policy comes in response to a federal study that found a strong connection between some types of drywall and foul odors and metal corrosion in homes, particularly in Virginia and along the Gulf Coast, according to Freddie Mac.
KB Home narrows loss in Q2
Los Angeles-based home builder KB Home posted a net loss of $30.7 million for the second quarter ended May 31, compared with a loss of $78.3 million for the same quarter in 2009.
Total revenues for the quarter were $374.05 million, down 2.7% from $384.4 million as reported for the quarter last year.
“With a mix of positive and negative factors affecting the housing market in the second quarter, we maintained favorable trends in our gross, operating and pretax margins, as well as in our bottom line results, through the consistent implementation of our strategic initiatives,” said Jeffrey Mezger, president and CEO of KB Home. “Overall, we believe the steady improvement in our financial results over the past several quarters illustrates how our business strategies are bringing us closer to our goal of achieving sustained profitability,” he said.
The company also reported home deliveries increased 1% from a year ago to 1,782, the first time the company has seen an increase in 14 quarters. The company said the average selling price was down 4% year over year to $207,900.
The company also reported a backlog of 3,175 homes as of May 31, representing potential future housing revenues of approximately $648.2 million. At May 31, 2009, the company’s backlog totaled 3,804 homes, representing potential future housing revenues of approximately $796.9 million.
Lowe’s plan denied in Brighton
For the second time, Lowe’s has been denied permission to build a store in Brighton near the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to a report tin the Boston Globe.
The proposal for a 145,000-sq.-ft. store was rejected by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Two years ago, the same planning body rejected another Lowe’s proposal for the area. Local residents complained about the prospects for increased traffic.
Lowe’s issued a statement: “We are disappointed by the letter, and we are evaluating all of our options.”
In the same area, athletic apparel company New Balance revealed its plans last winter to build, the newspaper reported.