Monday, December 19, 2011

Housing News Digest, December 19

US Homebuilders See Surge in Potential Buyers
Not since the spring of 2008 have the nation’s homebuilders felt this good about the potential for new business. An industry association survey measuring builder sentiment rose for the third straight month in December, with significant gains in the component measuring traffic of perspective buyers.

Relaxed housing rules before county commissioners
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Garfield County commissioners are scheduled to have a public hearing this afternoon on their proposal to relax the county's affordable housing rules as an incentive to kick start the lagging housing construction market.

The county's planning commission, in a split vote last week, recommended approval of the code amendment.

The proposal would change the trigger point for residential subdivisions to be required to build deed-restricted affordable housing units from five units to 15.

Fewer mortgage defaults forecast
Colorado ranked No. 11 nationally in foreclosure actions in November, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said this week. The state often has been in the top 10 for foreclosures.

Elsewhere, credit reporting agency Transunion forecasts Colorado, along with Arizona and Wisconsin, will see the biggest drop in mortgage delinquencies in 2012.

Nationally, fewer U.S. homes entered the foreclosure process or were taken back by banks in November, reflecting a seasonal pullback in foreclosure activity by lenders and mortgage servicers.

Local home building sunk to another recession low in November.

The slide extends a slump that began more than five years ago and ensures that 2011 will go down as Pueblo County's second worst year for home construction, after 1983.

"It's been longer and deeper than anybody anticipated a couple of years ago. It's a tough one. There's no question," said longtime developer Bob Leach of Horizon Communities.

Modification blunders bedevil U.S. housing recovery
Shirley Burnell, a community activist from Oakland, California, has been trying to get her subprime loan restructured since 2007.

She never missed a payment, but the adjustable rate mortgage she got in 2004 shot up to a monthly payment she could no longer afford.

First she provided documents without getting any response, then she was denied in April by her servicer, Bank of America (BAC.N), for not providing documents it never actually asked for.