(Photo courtesy of Granville Homes. Pasatiempo model: 2.029 square feet with four bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a two-car garage.)
Update: Darius Assemi, president of Granville Homes, will discuss how home building affects the local economy at Saturday’s grand opening event.
Assemi will be joined by Fresno City Council Member Lee Brand and Al Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.
The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Granville Model Center at Copper and Maple avenues.
Original Post: Granville Homes is unveiling four new model homes on Saturday at Copper River Ranch in northeast Fresno.
The models range in size from an 1,800-square-foot, three bedroom and two bathroom home to a 3,484-square-foot, seven bedroom, four bathroom house. All models have Granville’s Eco-Smart Technology with cool roof technology, extra insulation, and solar panels.
The houses can be built on lots in any of Granville’s three developments including Sageberry at Copper River, Rio Belleza at the La Ventana development west of Highway 99, and Green Park at Sunnyside in southeast Fresno.
Prices start in the $200,000s. For more information, visit Granville Homes or call (559) 440-8370.
Notices of default in Fresno County are on the way back up after falling at the beginning of the year as lenders adjusted to new state legislation designed to prevent foreclosures.
Last month, 305 notices of default – the first step in the foreclosure process – were filed in Fresno County compared to 256 in March, according to ForeclosureRadar’s monthly report.
“The increase simply reflects a return to a longer-term trend that was interrupted by the implementation of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, which went into effect Jan. 1,” the report said.
But other foreclosure activity including notices of sale, which set the date of an auction, fell slightly last month to 225 compared to 246 notices filed in March.
“The longer-term foreclosure trend is down due to the fact that fewer homeowners are defaulting on their loans and the potpourri of government debt-relief programs that have slowed the foreclosure process to nearly 300 days,” the report said.
Visit ForeclosureRadar for information about your area.
Luggage sits on an airport carousel. (AP photo)
America’s largest airlines, apparently incapable of making ends meet just on ticket sales, are increasingly relying on ancillary charges such as baggage fees and reservation-change fees in their efforts to turn a profit.
In a release of financial data today, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that collectively, the nation’s airlines rolled up nearly $3.5 billion in baggage fees, and more than $2.5 billion in reservation cancellation or change fees, in 2012.
Those fees, of course, are above and beyond what you pay for a ticket.
Delta Airlines racked up the biggest haul in these extra charges last year, amassing more than $1.6 billion between its baggage fees (about $865 million) and reservation fees (about $778 million). The airline’s total net income for the year was less than $1.2 billion.
United Airlines managed to lose about $661 million last year, despite charging more than $705 million in baggage fees and about $661 million in reservation/cancellation fees.
The extra charges reported today by the DOT don’t even include fees for seat assignments (paying extra for an aisle seat or the extra legroom of a row with an emergency exit), food, beverages, pillows, blankets and entertainment (renting the headset for that scintillating in-flight showing of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer,” for example).
Even relatively small Allegiant Air, which serves Fresno Yosemite International Airport with flights to Las Vegas and Hawaii, cracked the top 10 in the amount of baggage fees collected in 2012.
The airline, with a business model aimed at providing flights from smaller markets across the country to popular tourist destinations, rang up almost $90 million in baggage fees — the eighth largest haul among the nation’s carriers. Allegiant’s $7.4 million in fees to change or cancel reservations ranked it 13th among U.S. airlines last year.
Allegiant’s 2012 operating profit, according to the DOT database, was less than $107 million.
Housing affordability is falling in Fresno County as home prices rise, said the California Association of Realtors.
In Fresno, 64% of prospective home buyers could afford a median-priced, single-family house at the end of the first quarter this year compared to 70% the previous quarter and 72% a year ago, according to the association’s housing affordability index released on Friday.
That means buyers have to earn $30,010 a year to buy a $157,470 house, the association said.
Madera County was the state’s most affordable county with an index of 77% while San Francisco and San Mateo counties tied for the least affordable at 23% due to higher home prices.
For a list of counties and an affordability index, visit CAR.
The Fresno Housing Authority is busy these days.
Not only is the nonprofit housing agency planning to demolish downtown Fresno’s historic Droge Building on Monday, but it has also broken ground on a $6 million senior housing development in southwest Fresno.
The authority announced Thursday that construction has started on Bridges at Florence, a 33-unit apartment rental complex at 649 E. Florence Ave., near Edison High School.
The project will turn a blighted parcel of land into a vibrant senior community with picnic areas, a community garden and a resource building for activities, the authority said.
“We look forward to seeing this project become a reality so that seniors in our community have an opportunity to live in high-quality, yet affordable housing that provides them with amenities to enjoy their retirement,” said executive director Preston Prince.
Seniors whose annual income is between $12,050 and $24,120 are eligible to live at the complex. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
(Photo provided by De Young Properties. Ground breaking of 2013 St. Jude Dream Home.
De Young Properties on Thursday celebrated the start of construction for its seventh St. Jude Dream Home.
The Clovis home builder has raised more than $5.4 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital over the last seven years by selling $100 tickets for a chance to win a new home.
This year’s house is a 3,298-square-foot, four bedroom, three bathroom home in the builder’s newest development called CountryCourt at Gettsburg and Armstrong avenues in Clovis.
Tickets go on sale Aug. 15. The drawing will be held Nov. 10 during a live television special on KMPH (Channel 26.1).
For more information, visit deyoungproperties.com.
The Community Housing Council of Fresno will install new officers and honor community members who best encourage homeownership during its annual banquet at 6 p.m. May 16.
The Champions of Homeownership Awards Banquet, now in its eighth year, will be held at TorNino’s Banquet, 5080 N. Blackstone Ave.
At the event, the nonprofit housing agency, which has helped nearly 6,500 families over the last six years, will recognize a professional, a business and a volunteer of the year. Award winners will be announced that night, said John Shore, executive director.
The guest speaker will be Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
Proceeds from the banquet will be used for grants given to needy first-time home buyers.
For more information, visit chcfresno.org or call (559) 221-6919.
Hundreds of low income families won’t get housing assistance this year from the Housing Authority of Fresno who is facing budget cuts as a result of the $85 billion federal spending crunch.
The authority, which provides housing for low-income residents and the homeless in the city and county of Fresno, announced Thursday that it will face a $8 million shortfall in funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Of that amount, more than $4 million was used for the Section 8 rent-subsidy program. That means the authority will serve more than 600 fewer families this year – a blow to a program that continually faces high demand and long wait lists.
Funding for building maintenance will also be affected which means delays in inspections and repairs.
“The Fresno Housing Authority Boards of Commissioners have been proactive in taking various measures to reduce program costs in order to maximize assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Preston Prince, executive director and chief executive officer.
“Some of these measures include not filling vacant positions, providing retirement incentives, and reducing overall agency costs and expenses across the board.”
A bill introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea to extend state tax relief for homeowners is on its way to the state appropriations committee for approval.
Assembly Bill 42 would follow the federal Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 by sparing California homeowners – for at least another year – from paying taxes on their mortgage debt after a short sale or principal modification. The forgiven debt is considered taxable income.
Congress extended the federal act in January for a second time, but California chose not to continue its state relief program.
“This bill will prevent undue hardship to taxpayers who would otherwise be subject to taxation resulting from having all or part of their loan balance on their principal residence forgiven by their lender,” Perea said.
“A lot of families who are forced to make a decision to sell their home, as a short sale, are already in financial trouble. They can’t afford to pay an additional tax on money they’ve never received.”
The U.S. Treasury Department has awarded a Central Valley community development fund with $30 million in tax credits to help finance commercial projects in low-income areas.
The Central Valley NMTC was one of 85 organizations nationwide to receive a chunk of the $3.5 billion tax credit allocation from the Treasury Department’s New Market Tax Credit program.
The Central Valley group – which serves Fresno, Madera, Kings and Merced counties – plans to use the money for health care, education and community development projects.
“NMTC transactions allow community-based organizations to develop greatly needed facilities in economically disadvantaged areas,” said TJ Cox, the Central Valley group’s president and chief executive officer. “This allocation provides us with a critical financing tool to continue delivering capital with consistency and efficiency in our communities that need it most.”
Since May 2012, the group has received $65 million from the federal program. Last year the credits were used to help the Fresno Rescue Mission renovate an old Fresno hotel into a 10-acre women and children’s facility and to renovate and build two health centers in Parlier and Mendota.