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Members of New Castle County Council,

Regarding the April 5th, 2010 report under 40.07.353, below are a few links to news items regarding real estate conditions within (30) days of said report:

 
 
CNBC 3/4/10 Pending Home Sales Fall 7.6% in January as Demand Shrinks

WashingtonPost 3/12/10 New round of foreclosures threatens housing market

WallStreetJournal 3/16/10 U.S. Housing Starts Tumble

Marketwatch 3/16/10 Housing starts drop 5.9% to 575,000 rate
Number of homes under construction falls to new low

CNBC 3/16/10 Housing Market Sure to Double-Dip: Whitney
"The housing market surely will double dip," Whitney told "Worldwide Exchange."
Government programs to support housing have been "murky" and when the modifications caused by them come to an end, a lot of supply may come to the market and that's when the real-estate market is likely to go down, she explained.

NewsJournal 3/17/10 Delaware government: Coons' budget includes layoffs
The deficits for this year and next are mostly because of the virtual disappearance of real estate transactions. The transfer tax the county gets for each sale is its second-largest source of income after the property tax, Basiouny said.

Marketwatch 3/23/10 Existing-home sales fall for third straight month
"Second surge" needed or U.S. could be vulnerable to double dip

CNBC 3/23/10 Huge Jump in Homes for Sale
Existing home inventories jumped, on an absolute basis, 9.5 percent from January to February. That translates into 312,000 new properties added to an existing market, to total 3.59 million homes for sale.

NewYorkTimes 3/24/10 New Home Sales Weaken in February

NewYorkTimes 3/25/10 Households Facing Foreclosure Rose in 4th Quarter

3/10/10 NYTimes Analysis : Credit Crisis
In the fall of 2008, the credit squeeze, which had emerged a little more than a year before, ballooned into Wall Street’s biggest crisis since the Great Depression. As hundreds of billions in mortgage-related investments went bad

It was on 3/30/10 that I requested a copy of the report under 40.07.353, as well as any references to shadow inventory, housing price declines and foreclosures. After having to make several explicit and repeated request, I finally secured a copy of the report which lists, in part, "Ordinance 07-150, adopted 2/26/08, and 08-121, adopted 2/24/09, as well as the (18) development plans encompassing some 4,551 new units, including 683 WFH units". (4) of the original plans having expired by that time (22.2% of the original plans had expired, 1014 of the original units equalling 22%) no units had been approved, or constructed. The WFH plan and ordinances were listed as a success in the page 4 summary. None of the turmoil in the real estate was acknowledged, whatsoever. Even the internal point of reference, the precipitous drop in building permits, was omitted. ( 2005-1051; 2006-1023 ; 2007-827; 2008-405; 2009- 448;year 2010-580 permits issued) As for the local availability of existing 'affordable' units, some 3400 were counted by me , under $270,000, through Zillow.Com in this time period. This is also excluded from the mentioned report.

For the time period following the April 2010 report there were hundreds of national news reports on the continuing deterioration in the real estate arena, For example:

CNBC 4/6/10 Foreclosures Are Rising

NewsJournal 4/11/10 Recovering lost home equity may take years

CNBC 4/15/10 Foreclosures Spike in March Despite Federal Aid

NewsJournal 4/16/10 Delaware home foreclosures are up steeply

NewsJournal 4/24/10 Wilmington Trust suffers loss
Delaware's biggest home-grown bank has now posted losses in four consecutive quarters, mostly because of deteriorating investments in other banks and a lending portfolio that remains caught up in the real estate market's fall.

WallStreetJournal 4/24/10 Number of the Week: 103 Months to Clear Housing Inventory

CNBC 4/30/10 US Home Prices Could Hit New Low: Shiller

CNBC 5/10/10 Home Values Continue To Fall, More Owners 'Underwater'
Home prices nationally fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter from a year ago and 1 percent from the previous quarter, according to a new report from Zillow.com. That marks the 13th consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

Marketwatch 5/17/10 More homeowners choose to default on loans

CNBC 5/19/10 Mortgage Crisis Creating Drag on Economic Recovery

WashingtonPost 5/25/10 Home prices fell 0.5 percent from February to March

CNBC 6/2/10 Housing Double Dip a Done Deal
Mortgage applications to purchase a home began to sink. Now, four weeks later, mortgage purchase applications are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997

CNBC 6/8/10 Housing's Double Dip: Numbers Tell How Bad It Is

NewsJournal 6/8/10 Councilman wants to repeal 'workforce housing' law

Marketwatch 6/9/10 The housing-market recession is not over

CNBC 6/14/10 Housing Double Dip in Second Half

Marketwatch 6/16/10 U.S. home building craters after tax break expires

CNBC 6/21/10 Housing Double-Dip to Slow Economic Recovery: Whitney

WallStreetJournal 6/22/10 Outlook for Home Prices Grows Darker
Housing analysts have grown gloomier about the outlook for U.S. home prices as sales slump, a new survey shows. The monthly report by MacroMarkets LLC, due for release Wednesday, found that 56% of the 106 economists and other analysts surveyed expect home prices to decline this year. That is up from 40% a month ago.

CNBC 6/22/10 Existing Home Sales Tumble Unexpectedly in May

Marketwatch 6/23/10 New-home sales plunge 33% to record low in May

CNBC 6/30/10 Foreclosures Make Up a Third of All Home Sales

Forbes 7/7/10 Housing Double Dip Appears To Be Underway

CNBC 7/14/10 Home Sellers Slashing Prices, While Banks Mow the Lawn

WashingtonPost 7/15/10 U.S. homes repossessed by banks set to hit record 1 million this year

WallStreetJournal 7/20/10 Housing Starts Decline

WallStreetJournal 7/21/10 Housing Market Stumbles

News Journal 7/21/10 New home building takes dive in June

NewYorkTimes / Rueters 7/27/10 Further U.S. house price fall may set banks back

Chicago Sun Times 8/1/10 Foreclosures a blight on market
PRICES FALL | They're cutting into home values in a widening area and could get worse

WashingtonPost 7/30/10 Housing policy must be set on sustainable basis
By Hank Paulson
Friday, July 30, 2010
..a big part of which requires reforming and dramatically scaling back Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored housing enterprises that brought our nation's financial system and our entire economy to the brink of collapse. A significant root cause of the crisis was the combined weight of government policies promoting homeownership; these are apparent in the housing GSEs, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Federal Home Loan Banks, the federal tax deduction for mortgage interest and various state programs. Homeownership was overstimulated to the point that it was unsustainable and dangerous to the broader economy.

WallStreetJournal 8/3/10 Glut of Houses Holds Back Housing Market, Economy
August 3, 2010, 4:01 PM ET
By Robbie Whelan
Tuesday’s pending home sales report is the latest indicator that the U.S. housing market is bogged down by an inventory problem: Too many houses, not enough buyers.

Middletown Transcript 8/5/10 New revenues bolster county coffers
As the rest of the economy continues to sag – and in part because of it – New Castle County took in $7.1 million more than was budgeted in FY 2010. The price of those homes fell however, and even more significantly, foreclosures reached an all-time high in New Castle County, with a record 940 homes being sold at sheriff sale last year. That’s bad news for sure, but actually is good for county coffers. The county budget $3.4 million in revenue from the Sheriff’s Office, but actually took in $5 million, a variance of $1.6 over what was expected.

NewsJournal 8/11/10 July home sales lag across Delaware

WallStreetJournal 8/11/10 Moody’s: Odds of a Double Dip Increasing, Prices Could Fall 20%

CNBC 8/12/10 Foreclosure Math: Shadow Inventory Adds Up

Forbes 8/16/10 Homebuilder confidence sinks for 3rd month

WashingtonPost 8/24/10 Sales of previously occupied homes plunge

NewsJournal 8/25/10 Home sales suffer turn for the worse
National dip creates weakest showing in 15 years
So why are houses across the nation sitting on the market for so long?
Sales of previously occupied homes in the United States fell 27 percent in July, the weakest showing in 15 years, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. It was the largest monthly drop in the four decades that records have been kept. In Delaware, July sales of new and existing homes were off 25.5 percent from 2009 in Kent County, 39.3 percent in New Castle

CNBC 8/23/10 Housing in 'Double-Dip': Economist Zandi

Marketwatch 8/25/10 New-home sales drop to record low 276,000 yearly rate

CNBC 9/16/10 Foreclosures Rise; Repossessions Set Record

CNBC 9/20/10 Homebuilder Confidence Remains Low
"It also reflects the frustration that builders are feeling regarding the effects that foreclosed property sales are having on the new-homes market, with 87 percent of respondents reporting that their market has been negatively impacted by foreclosures,"

CNBC 9/24/10 Farr: The Ugly State of Housing
Is it wise to be adding inventory at a time when there are massive backlogs of inventories sitting on bank balance sheets just waiting for a chance to hit the markets?
We would probably argue that it is not wise. As everyone knows, if you increase the supply and demand does not improve, prices fall. It seems we should be rooting for builders to keep production at very low levels for the time being.

Marketwatch 10/6/10 Real estate downturn could last 8 years: IMF
Especially in the United States, given the limited success of mortgage modification programs and the shadow inventory from foreclosures and delinquencies, this has renewed fears of a double dip in real estate markets.

Boston Globe 10/12/10 Frank, Bielat clash over economy
Barney Frank, a leading liberal who has represented the state’s Fourth Congressional District for nearly 30 years and became chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007, said he and other Democrats fought to curb predatory lending practices before the recession but were thwarted by Republicans. He said he had supported efforts to help low-income families rent homes, rather than buy them.
"Low-income home ownership has been a mistake, and I have been a consistent critic of it," said Frank

CNBC 10/27/10 Banks May Face $97 Billion Loss From Mortgage Mess

WallStreetJournal 10/30/10 Number of the Week: 107 Months to Clear Banks’ Housing Backlog Real Time Economics

CNBC 11/8/10 Three F's in Housing Spell Trouble
Housing's recovery is based almost entirely on inventory. ..
but in the end it comes down to supply and demand.
We are looking at a ballooning supply coupled with dwindling demand. You do the math.

WallStreetJournal 11/12/10 Home Prices Decline in Nearly Half of Metropolitan Areas
Nationwide, "distressed property," including foreclosures and homes at risk of foreclosure, accounted for 34% of third-quarter transactions, up from 30% a year earlier, the Realtors estimated.

Bloomberg 12/9/10 Home Values to Drop by $1.7 Trillion This Year, Zillow Says

NewYork Times 12/23/10 Home Sales Struggled Again in November

CNBC 12/23/10 Foreclosures to spike in 2011

Marketwatch 12/28/10 U.S. house prices tumble in October

WallStreetJournal 12/29/10 Housing Recovery Stalls

CNN 1/13/11 1 million homes repossessed in 2010
Then on January 19, 2011, a new report under 40.07.353 is signed and to be reviewed by Council on April 5th, 2011. (4) plans are listed as recorded, for a total of (1362) lots, including (105) WFH units. None are yet constructed, over (3) years after the original ordinace was approved.
Currently there are over 3000 existing homes for sale in New Castle County, all priced below $270,000.
Add this to the unbuilt, yet approved, inventory exceeding 10,000 lots in unincorporated New Castle County, the conclusion of "successful" was again used for this program, listed on page 4.
Since then there has appeared numerous additional evidence of a severely damaged real estate market.

WallStreetJournal 1/26/11 Falling Home Prices Reveal Limits of Recovery
Home prices have buckled under excess housing supply, exacerbated by foreclosures. At the same time, Americans remain reluctant to buy amid high unemployment.

CNBC 1/31/11 Nearly 11 Percent of US Houses Empty

WashingtonPost 1/31/11 One in Five Mortgages Default Again After Modification

WallStreetJournal 2/9/11 Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble Levels

CNBC 2/15/11 Foreclosure Sales Rise Dramatically in Key States

CNBC 2/22/11 Home Prices Continue Swoon as Double-Dip Fear Persists

CNBC 2/23/11 US House Prices To Continue Falling: Economist

CNBC 3/2/11 US Home Sales Set to Drop 2.3% This Year: Poll

In short, the apparent ongoing endeavor to build more houses in the much described environment does not appear to be a success if considering the existing residents and Delaware home values. If large percentages of Delaware residents were actually involved in such construction there may be a short term benefit for a few, but surely not for the majority of the 533,216 county residents. But given the existing housing stock, the foreclosure rate, the steep price declines, all of which are routinely omitted from the reports prepared thusfar under 40.07.353, the success conclusion, repeated now for (3) consecutive years appears rather questionable.
 
When the original ordinance, #07-150, was adopted on February 26 2008, the pitch from officials was that there was a need for housing priced less than $270,000. The housing price listed in the 2010-2011 BRAC relocation guide ( page 96) was a New Castle County average of $223,612. It would appear that what was sought has been accomplished without any units yet constructed under this program, and with thousands of homes existing today for immediate purchase, as existed the day the original ordinance was passed, and each day therafter.
 
Regards
Chuck Mulholland
President Civic League for New Castle County
4/1/11
 
Note: All of my wording and comments are in black print. All URL links are news reports and should not be taken as only my opinion.