News digest: Condos, condos everywhere
"The market has definitely slowed down dramatically from what it was when we were under construction," said James D. Campbell, a principal with the Station North builder, Somerset Development Co., which originally had projected homes would be sold out by now at prices up to $450,000. Instead, it has reduced to $299,900 a home with hardwood floors in the kitchen, a slate-surround electric fireplace with remote; a security system and a full-size stackable washer and dryer.
On the other hand:
The 414 Water Street project, which is nearing completion with 312 units, reportedly is almost sold out. The 120-unit The Vue in Harbor East, where condos started in the $300,000 range, has sold briskly from the start. Only six to eight are left, said Bob Rubenkonig, a spokesman for developer Struever Bros.
LAYOFF: Laura Smitherman reports on another lender laying off workers:
Aurora Loan Services LLC, the mortgage-lending subsidiary of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., has laid off 160 employees in Gaithersburg as the parent company moves to scale back its home-loan business in response to turmoil in the industry and in the secondary market where investors trade mortgage debt.
LOANS: An AFL-CIO study suggests that "nearly half of homeowners with ARMs don't know how their loans will adjust, and three-quarters don't know how much their payments will increase if the loan does reset," a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story says.