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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2008 | Scott Gold, Times Staff Writer
For almost 20 years, they've been painting the town red in Temecula. Atop onion fields and grazing pastures, they've built a parade of 4,000- and 5,000-square-foot houses -- palaces, many of them, with turrets and faux backyard grottoes, with six-car garages and children's playrooms larger than the average Manhattan apartment. Today, they're painting the dirt green.
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BUSINESS
May 9, 2008 | Maura Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
The House on Thursday passed the most sweeping government plan yet to shore up the troubled housing market and help people struggling to pay their mortgages, adopting legislation that would underwrite $300 billion in new loans and keep an estimated 500,000 homeowners out of foreclosure. Backers contend the bill -- or something close to it -- has a good chance of becoming law even though Senate Republicans have criticized it and the White House has threatened a veto.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Office vacancies in the U.S. rose for the first time in six months to 9.9% in the first quarter as employment fell nationwide, real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield said. The national office vacancy rate was up from 9.7% the previous quarter, New York-based Cushman said. The rise in vacancies coincided with a drop in the amount of space newly leased, which fell to 17.5 million square feet in the first quarter from 18.1 million square feet in the previous three months.
BUSINESS
April 3, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Zillow.com is launching a mortgage marketplace that allows consumers to anonymously receive custom loan quotes and rate their lenders. Zillow.com created a buzz in the real estate industry two years ago with its online home value estimates. The company said it hoped to add transparency and information to the mortgage application process, while making it easier and faster to get mortgage quotes.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2008 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
The top two executives of beleaguered Countrywide Financial Corp. will pocket $19 million in stock next week, according to a regulatory filing. It's the start of a series of multimillion-dollar payments expected to go to the pair before and after the company's pending takeover by Bank of America Corp. The largesse for Countrywide Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo and President David Sambol drew immediate fire from Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.
BUSINESS
March 20, 2008 | Jim Christie, Reuters
Even in the worst storms, there are pockets of calm, and the housing crisis gripping the United States is no different. Although prices are falling and owners are losing their homes to foreclosure around the country, places like Ross, a wealthy, woodsy town 18 miles north of San Francisco, still enjoy robust demand. That demand is explained by the town's sleepy feel -- the 2,300 residents have to collect their own mail from the post office -- and its exclusivity. Actor Sean Penn and Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh live here.
BUSINESS
March 19, 2008 | Kathy M. Kristof and E. Scott Reckard, Times Staff Writer
The Federal Reserve has been slashing short-term interest rates since August with precious little effect on the one that matters most to homeowners and home buyers: the 30-year fixed mortgage rate. That rate is roughly where it was a year ago, while the discount rate, which is what banks pay to borrow directly from the central bank, is 4 percentage points lower. The Fed's opening of the spigot of cheaper money is supposed to spur across-the-board spending and economic growth, reversing the tide of recession, but bankers have in effect put a knot in the hose.
BUSINESS
March 14, 2008 | Peter Y. Hong, Times Staff Writer
Southern California home prices are now 19% below their peak last year, and the surprisingly rapid decline is leading experts to predict that the housing slump will be worse than initially thought -- surpassing the severe downturn of the 1990s. Home values also plunged 19% during the last real estate bust, but that was over a six-year period ending in 1997. Prices have now fallen just as much in less than a year. That trend is causing analysts to rethink their previous forecasts. Delores A.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2008 | Peter Y. Hong, Times Staff Writer
Downtown Los Angeles has seen a much-heralded revival in the last few years, with thousands of people moving in and a flock of new restaurants and upscale stores opening to serve them. Attractions such as Staples Center and the Nokia Theatre are helping support premium eateries and a lively club scene. But there are signs that downtown's residential boom is slowing, if not stalling out altogether.
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