Owners Cry Uncle Residential foreclosure filings rose, on a year-to-year basis, by 72 percent through the first three months of 2006. RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which monitors foreclosure activity, estimates that 323,102 properties entered some stage of foreclosure during the first quarter of this year, the fourth consecutive quarter in which foreclosures increased. Another tracking service, Default Research, reported that foreclosures in Los Angeles County and Clark County, Nev., which encompasses Las Vegas, jumped 63 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the first quarter. Foreclosures now account for more than 1 percent of the nation's households and are trending toward 1.2 million this year, according to James J. Saccacio, RealtyTrac's CEO. Georgia, Colorado, and Indiana posted the highest rates of foreclosures; Texas, Florida, and California had the highest numbers of foreclosures.—J. Caulfield
Dispute Update Residents of Clarksburg Town Center, a suburban Washington community, who uncovered height and setback violations have negotiated millions of dollars in concessions from the developer, Newland Communities, and five home builders involved in the subdivision's construction (see “Getting the Green Light,” October 2005, page 48). Parties involved in the negotiations decline to reveal the exact amount of the concessions, but they will be put toward restoring the community's small-town concept, with more green space, walkable retail, and pools.—M. Mariani
BIG DEALS Gold Digging ., the nation's second-largest savings and loan, in a deal worth $25.5 billion in stock and cash. Golden West is known nationally by the name “World Savings” and specializes in option ARMs, which allow borrowers to choose their monthly payment. With the merger, Wachovia will gain mortgage banking operations in 39 states. The sale is expected to close during the fourth quarter.—M.M. ?
Catch Up According to a recent California Building Industry Association report, the state's homeownership rate ranks 49th out of the 50 states. Only 58 percent of Californians own their home, compared with a national average of almost 70 percent. Blacks and non-Hispanic whites have much lower ownership rates in California than they do in other states, the group says.—N.F. Maynard
Beijing Boom The U.S. building boom may be softening, but that's hardly the case in China, where, reports president of home builder Barratt American and columnist for San Diego's North County Times Michael D. Pattinson, there are more than 1,000 cranes working round the clock in Beijing. Pattinson says that California-style designs with family rooms, large master suites, and high ceilings are popular in China. The only thing missing is the three-car garage: The Chinese get by with a single-car garage and a bicycle.—S. Zurier
Spin Cycle Whirlpool has announced that it will eliminate 4,500 jobs by closing three plants and consolidating corporate offices and other sites following its $1.8 billion acquisition of Maytag. The company plans to close Maytag washer and dryer plants in Newton, Iowa; Herrin, Ill.; and Searcy, Ark. Laundry manufacturing sites in Clyde, Ohio, and Marion, Ohio, will absorb the production, the company says. About 1,500 new positions will also be created at other Whirlpool locations, the company adds.—N.F.M.
Home Schooled Faced with the need to hire more than 30,000 teachers by the fall, school districts in Florida are getting creative. One example is in Broward County, where the school district held a housing expo that brought together builders, developers, and lenders with local teachers. The event drew well in excess of 1,000 people. Merrie Meyers-Kershaw, the school district's director of community involvement, says that housing professionals exposed the teachers to the county's more-affordable properties and ran breakout sessions on the home-buying process. The median price of a single-family home was $368,100 in March. New teachers start out earning an annual salary of $35,000.—S.Z.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA.