Monday, December 5, 2011

Housing News Digest, December 5

Can Affordable Housing Be Eco-Friendly, Too?

Eco-friendly, affordable housing. That might sound like an oxymoron, but it’s exactly what is in the works just east of downtown Denver. KTGY Group Architecture+Planning has announced construction of the Bluff Lake Apartments, a residential community of 92 high-quality, eco-friendly units. The project is a partnership between the architects, affordable housing developer Mercy House and the city of Denver.

The apartments are slated for families who are earning between 30 percent and 50 percent of the area median income and are expected to be completed in the spring of 2012. The apartment’s green features include Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient lighting and water-saving fixtures. In addition, low volatile organic compound paints, adhesives and finishes are being used inside and much of the construction waste will be recycled.

GMAC Counters Lawsuit with Decision to Pull Lending in Massachusetts

Ally Financial’s GMAC Mortgage says it will stop doing business with third-party lenders in Massachusetts.

The announcement was made just one day after the state’s attorney general said she has filed a lawsuit against GMAC and four other mortgage servicers over documentation and recording errors related to foreclosures.

November bank failures tied to CRE exposure, more closures to come
The five banks that failed in November were victims of exposure to commercial real estate, analytics firm Trepp LLC said Monday.

The November data follow the pattern exhibited throughout 2011, in which bank failures spiked in the month following the end of a quarter and then dropped during the subsequent two months. Eleven banks failed in October — also because of CRE exposure.

Homebuilding up, foreclosures down in November

The pace of homebuilding increased last month in the Colorado Springs area while foreclosure filings fell, continuing a positive trend for the local housing market over the past few months.

Single-family homebuilding permits in El Paso County totaled 122 in November, up 27.1 percent from the same month last year, according to figures released Thursday by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. Year-over-year permit totals have increased in five of the last six months.

Year-to-date, single-family permits now are running slightly ahead of the total for the same period last year — 1,319 during the first 11 months of 2011 compared with 1,308 during the same time in 2010.

Glenwood Springs may consider hiring economic development director

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — It may be time for the city of Glenwood Springs to actively pursue economic development by hiring a person to oversee such efforts.

Several City Council members were open to the idea during a broad discussion on strategies to attract new businesses to Glenwood Springs during the Dec. 1 council meeting.