Housing still red hot

Anyone who thinks the housing market is cooling off, might want to consider the recent sale of a house on my block in West Los Angeles. The tract was built out in 1941, and probably half of the houses have been extensively remodeled sometime in the last 60 years.

Not true of this particular house. It’s 900 square feet, two bedrooms and one bathroom that’s still Pepto-Bismol pink.

Okay, so it needs some work. No problem. But this house also has an incurable defect. A multiple-story condominium building is under construction on the corner and next-to-the-corner lots. This house is situated on the third lot next to the construction site.

List price: $450,000.

Assessed value: $53,386 (yep, $53,386).

Sold in two days for $455,000. –Marcie Geffner

Mold is a four-letter word

Dozens of home-building products have sprung up that promise to protect a home’s materials from growing mold. But many builders still seem a little skeptical about whether they work. When I asked one builder what he thought, his eyes grew really big like he just saw the pink elephant walk into the room. “That’s a big one,” he said.

Builders are the latest victims of mold cries. A lot of insurance companies no longer will insure a home builder because they are afraid the mold issue may crop up later, he said. These products are one way builders are trying to protect themselves. –Jessica Swesey

The builders have it

Anyone who walked into the International Builders Show in Las Vegas this week could see that the housing market indeed has been the shining star of the nation’s economy during the otherwise overall slump. Exhibitors have filled up 1.6 million square feet of tradeshow floor space. That’s something like the size of four football fields. Many attendees seem surprised to learn “there are two more of these?!” as they leave one exhibit hall and notice signs for another. The latest estimates show some 100,000 people have shown up to catch up on the latest home trends. And it’s not just builders and developers who’ve shown their faces. Today I met a chemical engineering professor from the University of Arizona who said he was here doing research on some of the latest synthetic materials used in home building. –Jessica Swesey

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