Foreclosure mess helps home builders?

A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home for sale.

CORRECTION: This article's attribution of new-home numbers has been corrected in the text. Homebuilder John Wozniak said 36,000 new homes a year were built in the Chicago region before the financial crisis, and about 3,000 are being built this year.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: There's been a lot of confusion about mortgage documents and whether banks will continue to seize homes. Now we have a bit more clarity. Bank of America announced it's moving forward with foreclosure proceedings against more than 100,000 homes. Some other banks continue to observe a voluntary moratorium in the wake of allegations that many homes were seized improperly. The question now is: What effect will the foreclosure mess have going forward?

From Chicago Public Radio, Tony Arnold reports.


TONY ARNOLD: Talk to homes builders and you're likely to hear this:

JOHN WOZNIAK: Our number one competitor these days has been the foreclosure market.

That's John Wozniak with J. Lawrence Homes in suburban Chicago. Wozniak says a few years ago - before the housing market blew up - 36,000 homes a year were built in the Chicago region. This year, it's closer to 3,000.

Housing analyst Chris Huecksteadt is with Metrostudy. He says the latest foreclosure mess could give home builders a boost.

CHRIS HUECKSTEADT: With all of the sudden, this kind of a red flag being raised on foreclosures, more buyers might be pushed in towards the new home market.

Wozniak is hesitant to celebrate just yet, though.

WOZNIAK: Stalling the foreclosures occurring, is only prolonging the fear or the anxiety.

Wozniak says on the plus side, business is down so much he can't really be hurt any worse.

In Chicago, I'm Tony Arnold for Marketplace

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