Second Home Sales Fall 30 PercentThe National Association of Realtors reports that sales of vacation homes and investment properties slid 30 percent last year, as tough economic conditions and tight lending requirements shut out buyers.
The Realtors group also says median sales prices of vacation and investment homes dropped 23 percent to $150,000 as problems in housing market stretched to the second home segment. Home sales were down across the board in 2008. The Realtors group says sales of primary homes declined 13 percent to 3.77 million last year.
GM CEO Out; Feds Want Chrysler-Fiat Partnership
The Obama Administration booted General Motor's CEO Rick Wagoner and has ordered GM and Chrysler to rewrite their recovery plans in order to get any additional federal money. Bankruptcy may be the only way out for the two automakers.
The government says Chrysler will get $6 billion in aid only if it forms a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA in a month. The demand by government for Chrysler to partner with Fiat and the ouster of Wagoner show that the automakers haven't done enough to show they will survive the worst auto market in 27 years. GM's Wagoner will be replaced by Fritz Henderson, GM's president and COO.
GM will also replace most of its board and must increase its reliance on more fuel-efficient vehicles. Wagoner, along with other U.S. auto executives, had been criticized for pushing sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, and moving too slowly to develop vehicles that consume less fuel.
Chrysler won't get any more U.S. help unless it combines with Fiat because it isn't viable as a stand-alone company, the administration auto task force led by former investment banker Steven Rattner said.
On Friday, Wagoner was in Washington for a meeting with administration officials. He was asked to step aside as CEO of GM. The automaker had asked for $16 billion more in federal aid after getting $13.4 billion in December. Chrysler had asked for $5 billion after being given $4 billion. Both companies had to show progress by the end of March. GM needed to reduce unsecured debt by two-thirds, and its plan to cut debt wasn't enough, while Chrysler's debt was way above what it could handle. Both companies may face structured bankruptcy as their only way to clear away liabilities.