A federal court in Boston has ordered the Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay $246,000 in damages to a homeowner because of the government's failure to remove hazardous lead-based paint from the home.
Gladys Pierre was pregnant when she purchased the previously foreclosed house from HUD in 1987. Three years later the house was found by state inspectors to have unacceptable levels of lead paint. In its sales contract, HUD was required to fully repair and repaint the house within one year of closing.
But Pierre claimed that HUD refused to remove the paint and she paid $4,000 to have the work done. Later, her infant daughter's blood was found to have elevated lead levels from eating paint chips.
The court, according to Housing Affairs Letter, a trade publication, found HUD negligent in not notifying the buyer of the dangerous levels of lead paint, further noting that the department ignored its own regulations mandating removal of lead-based paint hazards from its properties.
Pierre was awarded $21,000 for paint removal, plus $225,000 for suffering and for actual damage to the child.
New figures show that residential home sales in the Baltimore metropolitan area are holding their own this year, despite a decline in August figures.
The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors said year-to-date residential sales show that 12,713 home sales were settled as of August, compared with 12,552 this time last year.
But the number of pending sales has slipped a bit this year. The number of units pending sales is 13,374 through August of this year, compared with 1,462 that were pending in August 1989.
Total dollar volume for sold homes was $1.5 million as of August 1990, up 7 percent over the August 1989 figure of $1.4 million.
The average price of a house from August 1989 to August 1990 was up 2 percent, from $122,620 to $125,415.
Fifteen percent of Canadian families cannot afford to buy a house and never will be able to, federal Housing Minister Alan Redway said this week.
But the minister hopes a conference of housing experts at the end of next month will come up with some ideas to help those people.
"CMHC, the federal housing agency, has calculated that roughly about 85 percent of Canadian households are in a position at some time or other if they want to, perhaps with a little help ... to buy their own home," he said at a news conference.
"But there are another 15 percent, approximately, of Canadian households who aren't in a position to buy and probably never will be because of their income scale," he said. "It's that 15 percent that we are trying to address."
In various parts of the country, such as in Toronto and Vancouver, there are "serious shortages of affordable housing," Redway said.
The problem could spread to other cities that go through periods of rapid expansion, he warned.
To try to come to grips with the problem, Redway announced a conference of more than 150 housing experts from business, governments, and social groups from inside and outside Canada who will meet for two days in Toronto Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Redway conceded that high interest rates are a problem but stressed there are other factors contributing to the shortage of affordable housing, such as municipal government regulations and the absence of long-term mortgages.
IN THE BUSINESS ... An increase in oil prices stemming from the Persian Gulf crisis has caused mortgage rates to rise an average 0.5 percent recently, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America reported. Uncertainty about the situation in the Middle East has caused increases in oil prices and interest rates. The increases translate to about $40 more a month on a $100,000 mortgage. Teamed with an already tight lending market, first-time home buyers will find financing even more difficult to get. Both times in the past two decades when the price of oil has increased sharply, interest rates rose and home-building activity lagged. The association's report was based on a study by U.S. Housing Markets, which tracks oil prices, mortgage rates and building permits for single-family homes. ... Maryland National Bank and the Enterprise Foundation began an equity fund that will invest up to $10 million in limited partnerships formed by developers of affordable housing throughout the state ... Home sales in Prince George's County totaled 475 in August, down 23 percent from 618 in August 1989, the Prince George's County Association of Realtors reported. Condominium sales, totaling 72 in August, were at the same rate last year. Year to date, 4,755 single-family units sold in the county, down 8 percent from 5,199 units in the first eight months of 1989 ... Single-family home sales in Howard County totaled 302 in August, compared with 333 in August 1989, the Howard County Association of Realtors reported. The average price was $183,529. Condominium sales, which totaled 48 in August 1989, came to 45 last month. The average condominium price was $85,368 ... NTS Residential Properties Inc., a subsidiary of Louisville-based NTS Corp., began construction on an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer-designed golf course in Fawn Lake, a development near Fredericksburg with 1,500 single-family custom homes ... Among five chief executive officers of real estate investment trusts honored by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts were two local executives. Stephen J. Guttman, president of Federal Realty Investment Trust of Bethesda and John P. McCann, president of the Richmond-based United Dominion Realty Trust, both received the "Wall Street Transcript" Corporate Critics Confidential Awards in Commercial Real Estate and REITs ... Universal Mortgage Corp. plans to relocate its headquarters from Tysons Corner to the Hyatt Plaza in the Fair Lakes Office Park ... The John Akridge Co. completed renovations of the Homer Building at Metro Center. The building has 350,000 square feet of office space and 104,000 square feet of retail space ... Marriott Corp.'s Senior Living Services division published a housing resource guide for seniors and their families. For a free copy, call (800) 447-4792 ... Trammell Crow Communities is planning a 350-acre residential and commercial development in Prince William County. On Route 1 north of Route 234, River Oaks will include a day-care center, elementary school and a shopping center ... The Artery Organization Inc. formed a joint venture with the Charles E. Smith Cos. to build the Ellipse, a 404-unit apartment complex at Fairfax Government Center ... Greenhorne & O'Mara Inc., a Greenbelt-based consulting firm registered with the Resolution Trust Corp. to provide engineering, construction management and environmental assessment services ... Eric Smart and Lewis Bolan acquired the assets of Leggat, McCall Advisors, and renamed the Washington-based real estate consulting firm Bolan Smart Associates ... The Frederick CoHousing Project, which promotes developments that cluster individual self-sufficient dwellings around common space including child care and laundry facilities, is planning a public presentation on Sept. 21. The meeting and slide show is planned for 7:30 p.m. at Winchester Hall. For information, call 662-3218 ... Town and Country Properties Inc.'s commercial division is planning a celebrity golf tournament for Oct. 9 to benefit the Children's National Medical Center. Last year, the company raised $28,000 through the event ... Design for Living, Washington's home show will be held at the D.C. Convention Center, Sept. 27-30, featuring more than 200 exhibitors of products and ideas for home design and building projects ... Network Associates plans to hold free weekly seminars on "A New Way to Obtain Real Estate," at 7:45 p.m. each Monday at the Silver Spring Armory, Room 101. For information, call 452-7656, I.D. No. 146 ... Mount Vernon Realty Inc. plans to hold home-buying seminars during September and October. For more information, call (800) 336-0276, extension 274 ... The Northern Virginia Building Industry Association is planning a seminar on the rules, tools and techniques of tree preservation and planning on Sept. 21 at the Hyatt Fair Lakes.
PERSONNEL FILE ... Keith R. Pauley was promoted to vice president and portfolio manager for real estate securities at Baltimore-based Alex. Brown Kleinwort Benson Realty Advisors ... Xerox Realty Corp. recently promoted Wayne A. Kaiser to the position of controller ... Real Estate Audits and Consulting Services Inc. appointed C. Keith Brown president and Stephen C. Anderson vice president ... Warren H. Amason Jr. was promoted to senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis.