NAHB Research Center Opens New Lab (BUILDER Online) The NAHB Research Center's multi-purpose lab facility will also house market and qualitative research facilities.

Biosphere 2 Sold to Home Developer ( Pinal County, Ariz., officials have approved plans to build 1,500 new homes and a resort hotel on the former site of Biosphere 2, which was purchased by CDO Ranching & Development.

Mortgage Rates Jump to a 10-Month High ( Freddie Mac reports that 30-year, fixed mortgage rates averaged 6.53 percent this week. That was up sharply from 6.42 percent last week and represents the highest point for 30-year mortgage rates since they averaged 6.55 percent on back on Aug. 10, 2006.

HUD Chief Urges Action on Loan Proposal (Yahoo News/Associated Press) Alphonso Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development, asked Congress this week to quickly enact legislation that he said could help stave off future distress for homeowners with high-risk mortgages without spending government money.

NAR: Home Sales, Prices to Slip Further in 2007 (Yahoo News/Reuters) The National Association of Realtors trims its sales forecast for a fourth straight month and says it now expects sales prices to drop more sharply than it previously forecast.

CNBC Roundtable: Consumer Spending and Housing (CNBC) In this CNBC video clip, Rajeev Dhawan, Georgia State University Economic Forecasting Center director; Michael Thompson, Thomson Financial managing director of global research; and CNBC's Erin Burnett discuss whether consumer spending is immune from falling housing prices.

The L.A. Land Blog (Los Angeles Times) The Los Angeles Times real estate blog by Peter Viles manages to mix reports of a recession, ever-changing forecasts from the National Association of Realtors, and a vacancy on Paris Hilton's block into a week's worth of blog-worthy events.

Home Prices: More Pain to Come (CNN Expected drop in home prices nearly double the estimate of two months ago; recovery is more than a year away.

Icahn Begins New Talks to Buy Florida Builder (Miami Herald) Billionaire investor activist Carl Icahn is making another attempt to buy Florida luxury home builder WCI Communities.

Home Builder Reports Construction Site Thefts ( Home builders and contractors in Jackson, Miss., say they have been robbed of thousands of dollars in equipment, home appliances, and building materials.

Hands-On Construction Course is Designed to Address National Builder Shortages (Peninsula Clarion) In order to address a nationwide shortage of experienced construction workers, the Kenai (Alaska) Workforce Development Center, through a grant from the Department of Labor, is holding an intensive course that will give kids hands-on experience and let them explore a new career option.

Florida Builder Removes Fixtures (The News-Press) Cape Coral, Fla., contractor R. Fry Builders is partially dismantling houses where the customers are balking at closing the deal - removing doors, windows, air conditioners, and other items.

Special Report: The Mortgage Mess (

The 2006 BUILDER 100 Revealed (BUILDER Online) While D.R. Horton remains on top, Lennar Corp. rode a 7,209-unit closings increase to become the new No. 2 and tightened the gap on the list leader to just 3,842 closings. Pulte Homes shifts back to third, after its closings declined 9.08 percent, with Centex Corp. and KB Home rounding out the top five.

BUILDER Business Update (BUILDER Online) A weekly e-mail newsletter with breaking industry news on the business of building homes. Sign up for the BUILDER Business Update and other Hanley Wood newsletters.

Take the BUILDER Poll (BUILDER Online) Has your company altered its game plan since the beginning of 2007 to address the challenges in the housing market?

From the Pages of BUILDER: The 2007 Watermark Awards (BUILDER Online) Find out what's cooking in BUILDER's kitchen and bath competition. Check out more in the current issue of BUILDER.

Robb Crocker is the senior editor for BUILDER Online. Please e-mail any comments, questions, suggestions, and news tips to

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.