A few of the many Los Angeles buildings photographed by Julius Shulman are open to the public. Shulman's architectural photos tell the story of the city's growth.
We talk a lot about architects but not much about the architectural photographers who help make their work famous.
One of the most influential architectural photographers was Julius Shulman, who photographed buildings (and nature) in Southern California from 1936 to 2009, documenting the growth of the area. He is the subject of a book published last year, "Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis."
The book's co-author, Sam Lubell, recently wrote a story for The New York Times about several of the homes and monuments that Shulman photographed that are open for tours.
But those numbers follow a strong February. New-home sales in the first quarter were 3.7% higher than in the previous quarter.
And we have another set of one-step-forward, two-steps-back housing statistics:
The number of new single-family homes sold in March was 7.1% lower than the number sold in February. But the number of new homes sold in the first quarter of 2012 was 3.7% higher than the number sold in the final quarter of 2011, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
"The bottom line is that builders in many markets are reporting more interest among prospective buyers, with the main sticking points for sales right now being access to credit for builders and buyers, and problems with obtaining accurate appraisals," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a builder in Gainesville, Fla., in a news release.
The lastest Case-Shiller statistics show new post-recession lows for 9 cities. But the rate of decline seems to be slowing, and 5 cities showed higher prices over last year.
The latest Case-Shiller statistics are a reminder that while we may see a light at the end of the tunnel, it could be a long tunnel.
Prices fell in 16 of the 20 markets tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices from January to February, the sixth straight month of decline for most cities. Nine cities hit new post-recessions lows.
The steepest falls month over month were in Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland. Prices in Dallas were unchanged. Prices rose in Phoenix, Miami and San Diego.
The difference between median asking prices and median sale prices is up to 40% in some cities. But whether that truly means sellers are unrealistic is hard to know.
It's hard to deny that home prices have declined dramatically in the past five years. But some sellers are more realistic than others about what price their home will fetch today.
SmartMoney recently sliced and diced statistics from the National Association of Realtors to find the cities where sellers were the most and least realistic about the prices they were asking for their home.
Overall, median list prices were up 5.6% in March compared with March 2011, according to Realtor.com data. But median sale prices increased only 2.5% during that period. The discrepancy was much greater in some markets, SmartMoney found.
Franklin Raines, who left Fannie in 2004, says investors, not homeowners or the government, are responsible for the crisis. Others disagree, and some blame Fannie Mae.
Investors, not homeowners, were responsible for the real-estate crash, according to the former chief executive of Fannie Mae.
Franklin Raines, who left Fannie Mae in 2004, made his comments last week at a National Community Reinvestment Coalition challenge.
He challenged the contention that the crisis was caused by homeowners who bought when they shouldn't have or bought more home than they could afford. Government policies to encourage homeownership also were not to blame, he said.
Watch for this Long Beach, Calif., home on 'Glee' next month. The homeowners added an observatory and have seen stars of various kinds ever since.
When you do a major home renovation, there are certain things you are likely to include: a new kitchen, maybe additional bedrooms, updated systems.
In Long Beach, Calif., Dr. Gregory Szal and Regina Szal added an observatory with a specially designed telescope calibrated for their location. Over the years, the home has been the scene of numerous fundraisers, TV shows and commercials. In a few weeks, you can see it on "Glee."
Or, if you'd like to see it every day, it's listed for sale for $1.4999 million.
A new report says that buyers lost more in equity than they got from the tax credit, because prices fell further after they bought. The winners were sellers and lenders.
Back in 2009, this sounded like a great deal: Buy a home and Uncle Sam would give you 10% of your purchase price back, up to $8,000.
How could buyers lose?
According to a new report, many of those buyers lost more in equity than they gained from the tax credit. They would have been better off buying later, which is probably what they would have done without the tax-credit incentive. Even worse, some are now trapped with underwater mortgages.
The median price is up slightly and the inventory is down considerably from a year ago. Distressed properties made up a smaller percentage of sales.
The number of existing homes sold fell in March, another reminder that the housing market, while improved, is still seeking its way.
Sales of existing homes were down 2.6% from February, but were up 5.2% compared with March 2011. Total sales for the first three months of the year were at the highest level since 2007.
The median price for existing homes sold was $163,800, up 2.5% from a year ago.