Friday, July 6, 2012

Housing News Digest, July 6

More people living in Colorado's fire-prone areas, and policies might be making matters worse
Today, 1.1 million Coloradans live in more than half a million homes in red zones across the state, an I-News analysis found. That’s one of every four homes and one of every five people in the state. In some counties, including Pitkin — home to Aspen — Teller and Summit counties, more than 90 percent of the population lives in a red zone.

 Why Investors Are Suddenly Bullish on Office Real Estate It should come as no surprise that the commercial real estate sector most sensitive to unemployment is office; that’s where people work. Slow job growth has helped a little, but really only in the trophy, coastal markets, so it may come as a surprise that investors are suddenly bullish on the sector.

 How Long Can Housing Shrug Off Weak Jobs Growth? Home sales started the year strong, fueled by record affordability and the sense that the economy was getting better. But the third straight month of weak job growth could give consumers pause. People don’t buy houses when they don’t feel great about their job prospects. The question now: How long can the housing market shrug off weak job growth, not to mention the continued problems in Europe and looming spending cuts here at home?

  GE backs off on solar plant General Electric Co. is delaying plans to build the largest solar panel factory in the U.S. in Aurora. The changing solar energy industry caused the decision, the Colorado Office of Economic Development said in a statement. The plant was expected to employ upward of 400 workers. GE told state and local officials it plans to postpone construction of its PrimeStar solar panel plant by at least 14 to 18 months.

As US economy steadies, bank closings become rarer WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer U.S. banks are failing than at any time since the financial crisis erupted in 2008. The healthier banking industry is helping sustain an economy slowed by lackluster hiring, weak manufacturing and Europe's debt crisis. Banks have benefited from low interest rates, higher account fees and more mergers. The recovery from the financial crisis has helped, too. It means more people and businesses can take out and repay loans.