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Archives: June 2007

Could this happen again?

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 30

Fascinating newsreel piece from the 1930s about the housing downturn and subsequent recovery. I like the same scene: Without giving away the punchline, compare the size of the downpayment required...

Mutually Assured Mayhem

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 29

I've been remiss in not discussing the trouble in the subprime market this week--led by revelations last week that two Bear Stearns hedged funds that were invested in subprime mortgage...

The Bat? Oh, It’s Nothing

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 28

Bran Castle—or Dracula’s Castle, as the tourism-savvy call it— is now officially for sale in the Transylvanian region of Romania. The current owners, Archduke Dominic Habsburg and family, have asked...

With Apologies to Harvard ...

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 28

Yikes! Where are all the new families forming households? Housing bulls argue that the the underlying demand for housing is strong. The bullish Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard...

The Surprising Questions Agents Can't Answer

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 27

Selling real estate in New York City is like walking through a minefield. Almost anything you say, or any question you answer, could land you in court on grounds of...

"Hot Property" Really Is a Hot Property ...

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 27

... at least the people over at Inman's Real Estate Connect think so. Our blog is one of six nominees for Most Innovative Media Site, along with those of 60...

Funny commentary on gated communities

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 27

In the community where I live, gated communities are going up fast--every new cluster of even just eight or 10 McMansions, it seems, has a gated fence with a card-reader...

Housing Hodgepodge

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 26

More bad news for the housing sector today. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index, a measure of housing prices developed by Yale prof Robert Shiller and Standard & Poors, reports a...

Misery Loves Company

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 25

Can a down-and-out developer and a bunch of struggling rock stars help each other out? SunCal hopes so. The company, which is the largest privately-held developer in the Western U.S.,...

Americans Afraid to Buy Homes

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 25

This morning, the NAR said existing-home sales “remained essentially unchanged” in May as they slipped 0.3% to an annual rate of 5.99 million units. Sales jumped 5.8% in the Northeast...

"Foreclosure Rescue Scams"

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 21

Have been meaning to mention a story I authored in last week's magazine about the rise in so-called "Foreclosure Rescue Scams," in which unscrupulous individuals or groups approach homeowners facing...

A reversal in property taxes?

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 21

Every spring over the past four or five years, I'd get a letter from the treasurer of the county I live in (Dekalb) that started out, "Congratulations! Home values continue...

Trends in US housing market

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 21

Global Insight, an economic forecasting firm, recently joined with National City Corp. to produce the latest in their ongoing series of "State of the Housing Market" reports which contained some...

Attention, Homeowners: Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 21

A new survey by Boston Consulting Group finds that 55% of Americans think their home would sell for more money now than it would have a year ago. Wishful thinking....

Great analysis of suburban DC market

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 21

I don't have a problem with giving a shout out to a great web site, and given all the interest among readers here about the greater Washington DC market, would...

Your chance to buy the Hulk estate!

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 21

Some fortunate (and invariably wealthy) individuals love to boast that they own a home that once belonged to a famous icon, say, a Rockefeller or a famous actor or actress...

Where Billionaire's Bet Big

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 20

Another day another mega-resort begun on the Vegas Strip. Just yesterday, Boyd Gaming broke ground on a $4.8 billion project called Echelon. That's it on the right. Today comes news...

NAHB Index: Canary in a Coal Mine--or Not?

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 19

Does housing drive the economy? Well, to a small extent, yes. Does it help drive the stock market? Good question. Some market pundits have been opining that if home values...

Iraq and Housing: Are There Similarities?

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 19

Daniel Gross, Slate's Moneybox columnist, has a piece comparing the denial over how badly the Iraq War has gone with the denial over how badly the U.S. housing market is...

Housing Starts Down Again: Outlook Worsens

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 19

It's not worth anyone's time to pore over the monthly data on housing starts because the numbers fluctuate a lot, and you can look stupid extrapolating from what turns out...

Homebuilders Are Feeling Deflated

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 18

Homebuilders are the most pessimistic they've been since February 1991, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which was released today. If you're into numbers,...

Rich People Know Better

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 18

I’m being a bit ironic with the headline here— but a recent survey of luxury homeowners tells us that when it comes to real estate, the affluent have more realistic...

Ouch! Higher Mortgage Rates Exacerbate Housing Slump

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 16

Freddie Mac says that the average rate for 30-year fixed mortgages was 6.74% on June 14. That's up from 6.15% on May 10. Fred's chief economist, Frank Nothaft, said (in...

FTC Agrees: Mortgage Disclosure Is Poor

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 15

I wrote recently that federal banking regulators missed a good opportunity to clarify for borrowers how much different kinds of loans will cost them, especially ones with those highly misleading...

Foreclosure Math: 4 + 3 = 1 Big Mess

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 14

In foreclosure mathematics, 4 plus 3 equals 1, as in one big mess. At least that's the way it seemed at today's conference call for journalists by the Mortgage Bankers...

No Summer of Love

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 13

Hovnanian Enterprises, a big national homebuilder headquartered in New Jersey, reported disppointing results yesterday for its second quarter. Sales, at $1.1 billion, came in $100 million less than what Wall...

Foreclosure Heat

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 12

The latest data for RealtyTrac shows a sharp jump in foreclosure activity, up 19% in May from the previous month and nearly twice the number of May 2006. Sad...

Agent vs. FSBO: New research

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 11

There was a real estate agent who lived in our neighborhood for many years. Whenever she sold a house for a client, she sent postcard mailers around the community...

WhiteFence Is Looking Over the Fence

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 11

CEO Eric Danziger of comparison-shopping site WhiteFence visited BusinessWeek recently as part of his company's first push to get some media coverage. Seeking publicity is a slightly risky move for...


Posted by: Maya Roney on June 11

Here's a photo of Darren Shuster's house, if anyone's interested. Darren was the guy who convinced telecom company Rebtel to sponsor his house for $75,000 when he couldn't pay his...

Affordable Ecoluxury

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 07

I’m basically a city person. I don’t like driving, I get bored if I eat the same ethnic food two nights in a row. But I have to admit that...

Solar-Powered Affordable Housing

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 07

If you were hoping to get a coveted spot at Solara, a new energy-efficient apartment building in the San Diego suburb of Poway you’ve already missed your chance. The...

Where we'll all be living in 2050...

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 06

Remember the Biosphere dome in Arizona? The Associated Press reports (click here) that a real estate developer just spent $50 million to purchase the Biosphere 2, the glass terrarium...

Atty Gen. Cuomo Investigates NYC Appraisers

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 06

Andrew Cuomo, the New York state attorney general, is investigating the possibility of corruption by some appraisers in New York City, according to this intriguing article in the New York...

Don't Laugh at Others' Misfortunes

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 06

People who are perfectly polite in real life can be cruel online. As evidence I reprint, in its entirety, a comment Monday by a reader of the North County Times...

The Market Is Most Pessimistic About Las Vegas

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 05

Bespoke Investment Group has a good analysis (click here) showing that the financial markets are most pessimistic about Las Vegas home prices over the coming year, and most optimistic...

The New Gas Crisis

Posted by: Chris Palmeri on June 05

You wouldn't think one of consumers' smaller purchases, a $60 tank of gas, could impact their largest buy, a home. But that appears to be the case. Data from the...

'Don't Watch, Read, or Listen to the News If You Can't Handle the News'

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 04

It strikes me that real estate agents, being in the information business, should not shut themselves off from the flow of information. They should try to vacuum up every scrap...

Creative Financing

Posted by: Maya Roney on June 04

Struggling to pay your mortgage? Try making your home work for you. That’s what Los Angeles-based publicist Darren Shuster did— by turning his house into an advertisement. Shuster found a...

Watch Cities Being Born on Trulia: Addictive!

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 02

I hate to say something nice about Trulia so soon after plugging the site, but you absolutely have to check out a new Trulia feature called Hindsight, which dramatically...

Vacation homes--the next domino to fall?

Posted by: Dean Foust on June 01

I've wondered whether the foreclosure wave would eventually lap up onto the vacation/second home market. I've heard anecdotally from real estate agents are how some clients were buying second homes...

A Mystery: Why So Many Carpenters?

Posted by: Peter Coy on June 01

One of the greatest mysteries of the housing slump is why there have been so few layoffs in residential construction. The mystery deepened today when the Bureau of Labor Statistics...


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.

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