Micro thaw hits custom homes

August 13, 2009
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The tiniest of warm breezes is beginning to blow through the custom home business, says one of the regionâ??s preeminent builders.

R.J. Klein, whose Carmel firm specializes in homes costing as much as $6 million, says one of three projects that had been put on hold by clients is now going forward in September. The owner felt the economy was beginning to look good enough to warrant moving ahead.

â??Peopleâ??s risk factor has receded somewhat,â?? says Klein, who has owned his construction company for 40 years.

However, two of Kleinâ??s other pending projects are still in the ice box. The owners plan to reevaluate after the first of the year whether to proceed.

Klein, who is 70, says heâ??d never seen owners stop projects until this recession came along. It takes about two years for him to build a house, so recessions come and go, and construction continues.

But he doubts anything resembling the glory days of a few years ago will return for a long time. Make that a very long time.

Too many baby-boomers spent lavishly when they were younger and then lost much of their savings in the recession and market downturn, Klein says. Now theyâ??re scraping together retirement money instead of building dream houses.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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