Friday, February 02, 2007

Dust in the Wind

From CBS 13:

It's hard to believe a house that’s only three-years-old has a cracked wall makes it look like an ancient ruin. Damage to this nearby home is so widespread, the original owners left nearly everything behind to escape the sickness spreading here. And the owners of this home won't go inside with us, because of worries about their health. What could cause this kind of dread and damage?

"The wind!" said Bill Thomas. Bill Thomas is a construction consultant living in El Dorado County... He says he's seeing that damage across El Dorado County. "It affects thousands and thousands of homes," said Thomas..."Wind moves the house. Moves it--flexes it," said Thomas.
The Yeadon family moved out of their million-dollar home in the Serrano Country Club area on the advice of their doctors. "I think we had 23 doctor visits between the kids and my wife that month, in May of 2005,” said Yeadon.
When the family bought this home, brand new three and a half years ago, they paid just more than $800,000, and then put in $100,000 more in upgrades like this pool. They just sold this house. The highest bid they could get--$425,000.
Stonebriar, a development of nearly 200-homes at the bottom of the hill, and south of highway 50 from Serrano. People here say scaffolding and mold remediation equipment are depressingly common throughout the neighborhood.

Dave and Vickie Crozier paid more than $700,000 for their home on the edge of Stonebriar. They're now living with their two-kids in an apartment paid for by the builder.
The Crozier's two-year-old home is laced with cracks, like one running the entire length of the east-facing wall. And they have the loose windows, rust and mold similar to the Yeadon house. The wind has a long, clear shot at this home on at least three sides, but there're other problems, problems not related to the wind. The Crozier home has a, rippling roof line, and anchor bolts that aren't secure enough to stabilize the house.

"The builders call it 'value engineering'. Before they start building homes, they get all their engineers together, and say, hey, how can we save money on these houses? Where could we, cut corners--if you want to look at it that way,” said Crozier.
From the Sacramento Bee:
A state Senate hearing Wednesday convened by Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, touched on some issues surrounding these risky loans, particularly the lack of oversight, but there was no sense of urgency -- either on the part of senators, the three state agencies that regulate lending or the loan industry itself.

That needs to change.

One broker pleaded with senators not to do anything that might "take away the dream of home ownership." But as Paul Leonard of the Center for Responsible Lending testified, the issue is sustainable home ownership, not just the dream. If people can only afford initial low payments for a couple of years but then lose the home, how does that promote the dream of home ownership?
One key issue was not discussed at all at the hearing: the role of nontraditional mortgages in artificially driving up home prices, feeding the affordability crisis rather than abating it.
People who bought single-family homes hoping to soon sell them for a quick profit have given apartment owners perhaps the biggest competitive surprise of late: These now financially hamstrung speculators are putting the houses up for rent.

BRE Properties, (BRE) a real estate investment trust in San Francisco that owns and operates about 27,000 apartment units in the West, is facing such competition. A growing number of single-family homes are being rented in markets such as Phoenix and San Diego, BRE executives said on the firm's third-quarter conference call last fall.

The supply of single-family home rentals is increasing in Sacramento too. In the fourth quarter last year, apartment occupancies fell to 92.5% from 94.2% in the third quarter, says RealFacts, a Novato, Calif., firm that analyzes apartment data.
From the Sacramento Business Journal:
The California Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the approval of the Sunrise-Douglas community in Rancho Cordova, a move that could halt further construction on the giant development area.
Rancho Cordova City Manager Ted Gabler said that the city's attorney believes the ruling will not halt work within the Sunrise-Douglas area. The case will be remanded to a lower court, but the opinion does not say whether work can continue, he said.

The housing market has largely decided that issue anyway, Gabler said, as homebuilders have curtailed efforts within the development as sales have slowed.


Lander said...

Thanks to the readers who submitted these links.

patient renter said...

"What could cause this kind of dread and damage?"

I'd think the foundation settling could cause this too. Something similar happened with a new'ish house I used to occupy in El Dorado Hills.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I just can't get excited about mold and its impact on the general population. Mold is everywhere. Yes, some people are extremely sensitive to mold, and for those persons it's a problem and that's a shame. But peanut butter kills more people every year than mold.

RMB said...

The problem with mold is the lawyers. Nothing can be proven, but once a home is found to have mold look out here come the bills and lawyers to suck everyone dry in that had anything to do with building the house. The really interesting thing is they never really go into houses more than 10 years old and look for mold (statue of limitations is up). I'm sure people have been living with these mold problems for decades if not centuries, but once the lawyers found out there was money to be made there is a crisis.

Sippn said...

I once saw a guy I know come out from a house in a "mold remediation" suit. He said it was for the bleach formula he sprayed on it, not the mold.

Perfect Storm said...

Between the wind causing mold and the naturally ocurring asbestos El Dorado Hills is turning into a toxic waste dump.

Anonymous said...

If you're upside down on your McMansion and theres no way out save for foreclosure- you too can play the Mold Card! Allow mold to grow in your house, DO NOT fix the leak thats CAUSING the mold to grow, DO NOT ventilate your bathroom during bathing! Get emotional and do the typical American Red Herring Dance- blame your problems on something, -anything- else but your own stupidity and laziness.
Oh and whatever you do, don't take the time to investigate the quality of the builder's product- just buy the cheapest/cutest house you can- Ignore the fact that most builders don't give a shit about quality (There are only 2 builders in Serrano that build high quality- one of them goes TOTALLY overboard- and they're prices show it)
PS: EDH is in a high wind zone- if the builder's engineer did not allow for it(most don't)- yes the homes will move around a bit... (LMAO)

--a builder