Industry Watch

INDUSTRY DIGEST

September 04, 2005|By From staff and Los Angeles Times reports.

Gemcraft Homes donating to charity in Md., Pa. and Del.

Gemcraft Homes Group Inc. is donating $1,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities for every home it sells in selected regional counties through the end of the year.

Gemcraft, which started the initiative June 1, makes the donation for most houses sold in Cecil County in Maryland; Chester County in Pennsylvania; and New Castle, Sussex and Kent counties in Delaware.

The donations will be made only by Harford County-based Gemcraft's Delaware division, one of the six within the Forest Hill company.

The company hopes to have donated at least $80,000 by Dec. 31, said Julie Russell, a spokeswoman for Gemcraft Homes.

40% of Californians exceed pay-housing cost guidelines

In California, housing prices have increased so much relative to incomes that buyers must stretch all they can.

Federal guidelines recommend homeowners devote fewer than $30 out of every $100 in pretax income to housing.

But 40 percent of Californians exceed that level, according to calculations in a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California.

That's higher than 1990, when the previous real estate boom was cresting after several years in which housing price rises outpaced salary gains. The figure then was 36 percent.

Some Californians allocate even more than 40 percent of their incomes for housing.

The report estimates that about one in seven homeowners in the state is using at least half of his or her income to pay for his or her house.

Many of these are first-time homebuyers, and many of them are relatively young.

The report calculates that the great increase in homeownership rates between 2000 and 2003 came in the 30-to-34 age group. Second highest was age 25 to 29.

From staff and Los Angeles Times reports. The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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