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Normally new home sales centers in the suburbs of Raleigh are sedate places. The winding, wooded roads are not conducive to high volume traffic. And builders aren’t allowed to put up billboards. But since KB Home opened its first Martha Stewart-designed development there earlier this year it’s been a different story. “Traffic just exploded,” says KB chief operating officer Jeff Mezger. “We used to get 12 to 25 people a week. Now it’s hundreds.” Mezger wouldn’t say how many of those hundreds are just their to gawk at Martha creations like her Lily Pond home, pictured above and modeled after her Long Island estate. The next Martha development will be unveiled July 25th in Fairburn, Georgia, twenty miles southwest of Atlanta. Expect a big turnout. Martha sells.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.