Monday, August 22, 2011

Housing News Digest, August 22

Silver Sage could be first project under relaxed housing rules in Glenwood Springs
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — A two-year moratorium on the city's affordable housing requirements still might not allow enough time for a south Glenwood project to take advantage of the relaxed rules.

Glenwood Springs City Council, on a 4-2 vote at its Aug. 18 meeting, formally approved a temporary suspension of the city's so-called “inclusionary housing” requirements.

As businesses come and go, views of downtown differ

Four years ago, Colorado Springs business people and civic leaders finalized Imagine Downtown, an ambitious plan touting more retail, housing, employers and attractions for the area.

Today, supporters say the economy has made it tough for downtown to become the round-the-clock, live-work-play environment they’ve visualized, but strides have been made.

Shadow inventory improves but still threatens housing recovery
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An ominous cloud is hanging over the housing market: Millions of distressed properties could be put up for sale at any moment, potentially adding to the glut of unsold homes that are already on the market and depressing home prices even further.

But there is one glimmer of hope in this otherwise ominous scenario. A recent report from Standard & Poor's found that the time it would take for banks to purge all of this so-called "shadow inventory" from the market (through foreclosure sales, mortgage modifications and other measures) shrunk to 47 months during the second quarter, a significant drop from the 52 months it estimated for the first quarter of this year.

Housing’s Drag on Economy May Worsen
As the U.S. economy shows signs of sputtering, instability on Wall Street is sapping the confidence of would-be property buyers, said Karl Case, co-founder of the S&P;/Case-Shiller home- price index. That means housing, which aided every recovery except one before the most recent recession, may deepen its five-year drag on growth.

“There’s a dramatic effect on an economy when a major sector is flat out,” said Case, professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. “If housing takes another leg down, it’s an accelerator. It’s going to make a recession happen faster and deeper.”

Delinquent loans on the rise again, a grim sign for housing
It's an ominous sign for housing. The percentage of homeowners who have missed at least one mortgage payment has risen for the second straight quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. says.

Officials at the trade group expressed concern Monday that the sluggish economy may be creating another group of distressed borrowers.

"It is clear that the downward trend we saw through most of 2010 has stopped," the Mortgage Bankers Assn.'s chief economist, Jay Brinkmann, said in a news release.