On-line home network debuts in FloridaConsumers will...


On-line home network debuts in Florida

Consumers will soon be able to hop on the information superhighway to view homes available around the world.

That's the plan of Orlando, Fla.-based New Homes Online International Inc., which began providing a service linking builders, Realtors and buyers this month for 60 cents a day.

The on-line service provides new-home descriptions, prices, community amenities and location data along with up to 10 photographs of the property, instant mortgage information, two selected lenders and full banking services with one bank.

So far, Hartford Homes of Orlando is the only realty company on-line.

By the end of March, more than 300 communities will have listings on-line, according to David R. Fletcher, president and chief executive officer of New Homes Online International Inc. He estimates that by mid-1995, 1,000 homes in about 600 communities will be on-line.

"We know that 60 percent of the people who move to a new community prefer to buy a new home," Mr. Fletcher said. "We want to tap that market nationwide. But to start with, we're focusing on Florida because there's a big relocation market and we have the retirement market."

In January, worldwide access will open through the Internet, said Mr. Fletcher.

Listing a home costs a minimum of $18 a month per listing. Two color photographs are included in the listing fee. Eight additional photos may be added for $8 each.

Subscribers, who are not required to purchase a listing, pay a $5 hourly rate.

Realty groups petition Clinton over deductions

The fight over reducing the mortgage deduction has already started -- even before any formal proposal has been made.

In a letter to President Clinton dated Nov. 4, 13 groups -- including the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association of America -- say they would "find especially disturbing any proposal by your administration to cut or limit the mortgage interest deduction.

"Limiting the deduction will significantly restrict investment in housing construction and ownership, result in loss of property values nationwide and reduce local jurisdictions' tax receipts."

The group also warns that default rates would go up, imperiling banks and savings and loans.

A memo from U.S. Deputy Budget Director Alice M. Rivlin to the president, leaked to the news media last month, offers possible ways to reduce the deficit, including capping the mortgage interest deduction. The White House said these were options, not suggestions by Ms. Rivlin.

A limit on deductions was briefly considered last year, but was quickly abandoned.


* The Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded Harkins Builders Inc. of Silver Spring a $24 million contract to demolish 317 existing junior noncommissioned officers' family housing units at Fort Meade, renovate 24 units and build 251 new units. A second Army contract for $2.9 million calls for the firm to renovate 320 existing dormitory rooms at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg.

* Ryan Homes has been named Builder of the Year by the Suburban Maryland Building Industry Association.

The award is based on customer satisfaction, quality control, professionalism, scheduling and site engineering.

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