Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "housing boom" ...

  • Unprotected: Broken promises in Georgia’s senior care industry

    The assisted living industry exploded in Georgia over the past decade as investors rushed to cash in on the graying of America. They built facilities with resort-like amenities and promised great care, for a price of thousands of dollars a month. But as this senior housing boom took hold, Georgia failed to provide adequate oversight, and the fancy chandeliers and expensive amenities hid the realities of an industry where for-profit owners are more focused on real estate deals than properly caring for vulnerable seniors.
  • Chicago Takes on Bad Developers, With Mixed Results

    Some Chicago neighborhoods face a troubling conundrum. Thousands of condominiums that were built during the "housing boom" are "proving to be poorly built." Leaks and electrical issues are only a couple of the problems homeowners are facing. In an effort to help the homeowners, the city of Chicago filed lawsuits against the condo developers. The effort has backfired. Many developers have fled the country, which leaves the homeowners with thousands of dollars in repairs that are needed to fix the code violations.
  • Moldy Metropolis: Homeowners Struggle with Leaky Concrete

    Poorly built condominiums and the homeowners are now seeing the consequences of the poor construction. The condominiums have severe mold problems, which is a result from using a material called split-free concrete block. The story reveals the lack of building inspection since the blocks should be built without leaks and inspected for leaks. Furthermore, if the homeowners complain to the city, they are held accountable for the code violation.
  • The Credit Trap

    This series ties lax credit card lending and punishing fee practices to the housing boom, to consumers' mounting financial distress, and to the economic downturn. The reports revealed that during the housing boom, banks sharply raised card limits in part because of a surge in home equity, much of it now vanished. Then banks guided borrowers to tap into rising home equity to pay off card balances, putting their homes at risk.
  • A Rapid Rise

    This investigation examined dozens of unusual real estate deals in working-class neighborhoods in which buyers made low-ball offers to desperate sellers. The recorded sales prices, however, were tens of thousands of dollars more. These deals happened during a precipitous decline in Florida’s housing boom. In each transaction, the buyers borrowed close to the full amount from lenders. The investigations showed that the money between the price paid to the sellers and the recorded sales prices was paid to a third party. This was not always disclosed to the lenders, which is against state and federal law. All the deals involved the same real estate agent, the same title company and the same group of buyers. The same appraiser was used in many of the cases, and the appraisals reflected the higher price. As a result of the inflated prices, property values were artificially raised for the rest of the neighborhoods, resulting in higher taxes.
  • Broken homes: Inspecting the inspectors

    With new houses going up all the time in central Indiana, many builders are offering new homes with little down and small monthly payments. An investigation by WISH-TV found that many new homes weren't exactly up to code and many had very serious and dangerous violations. Reporters found that because of the housing boom the city's housing inspectors were overwhelmed and often under trained. Because of the series, the state attorney general began an investigation into the inspectors and the builders.
  • Home buyer beware

    Charlotte Observer examines the serious construction flaws that thousands of families across the Carolinas have discovered. A housing boom has strained home builders and swamped building inspectors. Builders are routinely hiring workers with little or no experience and building code inspectors, who sometimes do more than 60 inspections a day, are missing serious flaws.