Tag - house

Housing Tides Index™ June 2017 – Housing Data Shows Improvement as Mortgage Delinquencies and Foreclosures Fall

Housing Tides Index™ June 2017 – Housing Data Shows Improvement as Mortgage Delinquencies and Foreclosures Fall to New Lows

DENVER, COLORADO/JUNE 15, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) This week marks the release of the June Housing Tides Report™, featuring an update to the Housing Tides Index™, an objective and sophisticated approach to quantifying and comparing the health of U.S. housing markets. This month’s Index update reveals an improvement in housing market health as loan performance improved to the best levels in nearly a decade.

Understanding the health of a housing market and its relationship to other top markets requires an aggregated, comprehensive view of the industry. The Housing Tides Index provides a succinct monthly measure of market health across the top 41 U.S. markets. Referencing 18 market indicators ranging from unemployment rates and housing permits to rental vacancy and mortgage foreclosure rates, the Tides Index helps users understand exposure at a deeper level than is currently possible.

Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS) recently reported that the mortgage delinquency rate fell to 3.62% in March, and a review of historical U.S. mortgage delinquency data provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that this is the lowest rate of mortgage delinquency since late 2007. This continues the trend of mortgage market normalization, though delinquencies have not yet fallen to their pre-recession level of less than 3% of borrowers delinquent. On a similar note, BKFS reported a fall in the foreclosure rate to 0.88% of all mortgages, which is also a multi-year low. However, considerable differences in foreclosure rates remain among U.S. states. States with a judicial foreclosure process where proceedings must go through a court still have far higher foreclosure rates; judicial states New York and New Jersey had rates over 2.5% in March per the BKFS report, while non-judicial states Colorado and California recorded foreclosure rates of 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively.

After falling at the end of 2016, median asking rents for two-bedroom units have risen in two straight months according to latest data from Zillow. Still, with the asking rate at $1,575 per month nationally in April, rents remain below the peak of $1,750 seen June 2014. We expect rent price increases to ease in the near term given the high number of rental units under construction (U.S. Federal Reserve data show 612.1k housing units in buildings with five or more units under construction in April, the highest total since late 1974).

However, despite the large number of apartments approaching completion, upward pressure on rental prices should continue due to persistent tightness and rising prices in the for-sale market. Real estate brokerage Redfin reported that housing supply edged up slightly to 3.1 months of supply nationally in April while the median sales price reached a new high of $280k. 26 of the 41 metro areas tracked by the Tides team set new highs for nominal post-recession median sales price in April.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that the U.S. effective mortgage interest rate for loans closed decreased to 4.1% in April after peaking at 4.4% in February. As such, mortgage interest rates are higher than the recent low of 3.72% seen just prior to the presidential election, though rates remain favorable when compared to the historical norm.

Single-family housing permits fell sharply in aggregate across the metro areas we track, totaling just 35,600 in April after reaching 40,100 in March. Multi-family permits increased in April, totaling 24,200, but the six-month moving average fell slightly to a rate of 23,500 permits per month.

About Housing Tides

Housing Tides™ (“Tides”) is the only monthly report that provides a comprehensive measure and aggregated understanding of the health of the U.S. housing and home building industry. Designed to take the guesswork out of the vast amount of forecasting information published about this sector, Tides is a sophisticated report that delivers city-specific, updated information when market conditions change. It is the only report that uses natural language processing and machine learning to correctly understand and synthesize large volumes of data, making it more comprehensive, balanced, and reliable than any other report of its kind.

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Source: Housing Tides Report

Press Release distributed by PRWeb

Ever wanted to live in 2 nations at once? Here’s your chance

Ever wanted to live in 2 nations at once? Here's your chance

BEEBE PLAIN, Vt./June 10, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) –For sale: A 1782 fixer-upper with thick granite walls, 1950s decor, and armed 24-hour security provided by both Canada and the United States of America.

The almost 7,000-square-foot house, cut into five currently vacant apartments, is on a lot of less than a quarter-acre that, along with the building itself, straddles the border between Beebe Plain, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec.

Selling a home in two countries is proving to be a challenge for the couple who owns it. The structure, which has an estimated rebuild cost of about $600,000, is on the market for $109,000. It’s structurally sound but needs lots of work. And then there’s that international border.

“In the day, it was a normal and natural thing,” Brian DuMoulin, who grew up in the house and was accustomed to life literally on the border at a time when no one thought twice about crossing from one country to the other. “Now it stresses everyone out.”

The home, known locally as the Old Stone Store, was built by a merchant so he could sell to farmers in both Vermont and Quebec. Brian and his wife, Joan DuMoulin, inherited it about 40 years ago.

Now the couple, in their 70s, who have dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship and a home in nearby Morgan, Vermont, are hoping to sell it so they can move to Ontario to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

Beebe Plain is a community in the Vermont town of Derby, which along with Stanstead, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Montpelier, or 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Montreal, have become the cliché of security changes on the U.S.-Canadian border brought on by the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Residential streets that used to be open were blocked by gates. The back doors of an apartment building straddling the border in Derby Line village have been locked shut. The street next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, deliberately built in both countries, is blocked by flower pots, although Canadians are still allowed to walk to the library’s U.S. entrance without going through a border post.

The DuMoulins’ house is directly across Stanstead’s Rue Principale from the port of entry staffed by agents of the Canada Border Services Agency and adjacent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection post.

Troy Rabideau, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant port director for the area that includes Beebe Plain, said the agents know who live there, but keeping track can be a challenge.

By WILSON RING ,  Associated Press

Ways homebuyers can leap the down payment hurdle

Ways homebuyers can leap the down payment hurdle

LOS ANGELES/May 31, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Saving up for a down payment is the biggest hurdle for many would-be homebuyers, particularly those looking to make the leap from renting to owning.

More than two-thirds of renters consider setting aside money for a down payment the No. 1 obstacle to buying a home, according to a recent survey by real estate data provider Zillow. That edged out other concerns, including job security and a thin supply of homes on the market.

While there are home loans that require as little as 3 percent down, rising home prices, especially in expensive coastal states, keep driving up the amount of money buyers need to come up with for a down payment.

Even so, many first-time buyers are managing to save enough on their own. Some 76 percent used their savings to fund their down payment last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Here are some tips to consider when working toward that down payment on a home:

START SOON

Begin saving now. Renters may want to calculate what their extra monthly costs would be as a homeowner and then set aside that amount, minus rent and utilities. This accomplishes two goals: Saving money for a down payment and getting you accustomed to the financial constraints of living with the costs of homeownership.

Another strategy that may help: open a separate savings account just for your down payment. That will help lessen the temptation of using the funds for something else.

You’ll also have to set aside money for closing costs, which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

WEIGH LOAN OPTIONS

The type of home loan you get may determine how much of a down payment you need. For many years, buyers sought to put down 20 percent of the purchase price. That would lower their monthly mortgage payment and allow them to avoid having to pay for private mortgage insurance, or PMI. But as home prices have risen, that trend has waned. Loans that require as little as 3 percent up front have become more common. As a result, the median U.S. down payment has declined to 10 percent the past four years, according to the NAR.

“The housing market is not a matter of 20 percent down payment or bust,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “You can get into a house with a low down payment, but you’re going to have to come up with the money for closing costs.”

Lenders offer loans backed by government mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that require only a 3 percent down payment. Borrowers can ask to have their PMI waived once the equity in their home reaches 20 percent.

Borrowers with less-than-sterling credit may have a better shot qualifying for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA’s program requires 3.5 percent down, but borrowers have to refinance once their equity grows above 20 percent in order to get out of paying PMI. Until then, PMI is tax-deductible.

Buyers may not need to save for a down payment at all if they are U.S. military veterans, servicemembers or residents of certain rural areas. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have zero-down payment loan programs for qualified borrowers.

EXPLORE OTHER OPTIONS

Saving for a down payment sometimes takes more than cutting back on dining out or travel. A quarter of first-time homebuyers in 2016 used gift money from relatives or friends to round out their down payment, according to the NAR. And more than 10 percent tapped their retirement savings without the usual hefty penalties for an early withdrawal. Of course, before withdrawing money from your 401(k) or IRA accounts consider that a big withdrawal will mean your retirement savings won’t grow as swiftly.

Borrowers with low or moderate income, and teachers, firefighters or other public service job holders may also qualify for down payment assistance through thousands of federal, state or local programs aimed at helping homebuyers.

There are more than 2,100 funded programs, many of which help cover the down payment and closing costs through loans that can sometimes be forgiven over time, or paid back only once the buyer sells the home, according to Down Payment Resource, a tracker of homebuyer assistance programs.

CONSIDER USING HOME EQUITY

A newer approach to coming up with a down payment involves letting investors put up some of the money in exchange for a slice of the potential value in the home.

San Francisco-based Unison now has a program available in 12 states and the District of Columbia that offers to match up to half of a 20 percent down payment on a home. The match isn’t a loan, in that the buyer doesn’t have to make payments, but still benefits from the lower cost of making a 20 percent down payment.

There are several payback scenarios, but essentially the company collects a 35 percent share of the gain, if any, in the sale of the home. Should the home decline in value, the company also shares in the loss, potentially receiving less money back on its original investment.

If the homeowner hasn’t sold the home after 30 years, a property appraisal is used to determine how much Unison gets paid. The homeowner also has the option to buy out Unison any time after their third year in the home. Unison also doesn’t share in the equity that the homebuyer builds as they pay down their mortgage or from investments, like a kitchen remodel.

“There’s a very clear trade off here in that you are surrendering future equity,” said McBride, noting that home equity is increasingly becoming Americans’ principal way to fund their retirement. “So, look yourself in the mirror and make sure that you’re not potentially shortchanging your future financial security just to get into a slightly more expensive home now.”

The possibility of losing a big slice of her home’s future value didn’t put off Courtney DeAnda from using Unison to double the $52,000 down payment on a home this month.

She and her husband, James, who have three kids, recently entered escrow on a five-bedroom, three-bath house in Vacaville, California, for $468,000. The couple expects to save $417 a month on their mortgage payment by using the Unison program.

“It’s a price to pay to help us get into a home that we really love,” said DeAnda, 28. “We really don’t see much of a negative with using it.”

ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 3.95 pct, 2017 low

Average US 30-year mortgage rate falls to 3.95 pct, 2017 low

WASHINGTON/May 25, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week to their lowest levels of the year. The benchmark 30-year rate dipped below the key 4 percent mark.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans tumbled to 3.95 percent from 4.02 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.64 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

The rate on 15-year mortgages slipped to 3.19 percent from 3.27 percent last week.

Hemingway house changes hands, still off limits to public

Hemingway house changes hands, still off limits to public

BOISE, Idaho/May 24, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Ownership of the Idaho house where Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his last works before killing himself in the main entryway in 1961 has changed hands but will stay off limits to the public.

The Nature Conservancy transferred the two-story, 2,500-square-foot house in the Idaho resort town of Ketchum earlier this month as a gift to the Community Library, a privately funded public library.

Library officials say an apartment in the house will be renovated for a residency program for visiting writers, scholars and artists starting next year.

“What having the Hemingway house does for the Community Library is situate our Idaho community in this global network,” executive director Jenny Emery Davidson said Tuesday.

Hemingway aficionados frequently take to what’s called the Hemingway trail, which includes stops tied to the globe-trotting author’s many adventures. The area in Idaho is packed with such areas, including Hemingway’s grave in the Ketchum cemetery.

The house has many of the author’s personal possessions, and some will be put on display at the Sun Valley Museum of History, Davidson said. They include a bull’s tail given to Hemingway following a bullfight in Spain, correspondence with locals Hemingway befriended and hunting paraphernalia, she said.

Hemingway owned the house from April 1959 until his suicide in July 1961 at age 61, when he feared that he had lost his ability to write to his standards, biographers say. The author worked on “A Moveable Feast” and “The Dangerous Summer” at the house, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

The author’s wife, Mary Hemingway, who died in 1986, gave the house to the Nature Conservancy but with restrictions that precluded operating it as a public museum. The group used the house as a field office before outgrowing it.

Owning the house has never been a good fit for the conservation organization dedicated to preserving the kind of wild places that drew Hemingway to Idaho. That made it difficult for the group to justify the annual upkeep on the house built in 1953 above a tree-lined river with views of snow-topped mountains.

The 13.9 acres (5.6 hectares) included with the house are worth millions, but the house is small and outdated compared with the mega-mansions common in the area.

The Community Library has a base of wealthy locals to draw from to help pay for what it estimates is $1.5 million in annual expenses for upkeep and its plans for the house.

The Carr Foundation supplied the initial money to make the transfer of the Hemingway home feasible. Davidson declined to say how much philanthropist Gregory Carr, who was born in Idaho and owns a home in the Ketchum area, donated.

“People are interested in Hemingway, but the people who have stepped up so far are people who care about Idaho,” Davidson said.

She also said the home is a perfect fit for the library, which has a regional history division and is keen to promote the area’s literary icon. She said it’s even possible new insights could be discovered.

“We have not told the story of Hemingway and the American West as we could,” she said.

The home will not be opened to the public like Hemingway’s other homes in Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba, but there will be some access, Davidson said.

“We plan to treat it as a home,” she said. “Sometimes people invite small groups of people to their home.”

The Nature Conservancy didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press

Architect couple turns crumbling building into modern home 

Architect couple turns crumbling building into modern home 

NEW ORLEANS/May 19, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — When David and Irelis MacDonald bought their property in the Faubourg Marigny in 2013, they knew they’d have to jump through some hoops to get construction started. Their idea was to turn the crumbling concrete structure into a modern apartment building in the midst of a historic district.

The 50-year-old, two-story building made of steel and concrete was in bad shape, with no insulation, a leaking roof and poor drainage. Part of the exterior was cracking and in disrepair.

The property, in recent years, had housed the NOLA Defender publication and a comedy club called The New Movement. Before that, it had been home to a mechanic shop, a ship anchor storage, a laundromat, a catering firm and a construction company, the MacDonalds said.

The couple — who are both architects — planned to gut the property, raise the foundation 21 inches above base flood elevation, and turn it into a three-unit apartment building. Those plans initially caused concern for some in the community. “There were a lot of people hoping the building would be torn down and rebuilt into a single-family home,” David said.

“We sent fliers to everyone and invited them here to express their concerns, but we didn’t have that many people show up,” Irelis said. “But we did have several support letters, but also people who weren’t in favor.”

Ultimately, it took seven months for the couple to go through the permitting process with the city and the Historic District Landmarks Commission. Plus, the property had a zero lot line, meaning there was little room to do construction work. So the MacDonalds had to request permission from their neighbors to work on the building’s sides.

In the end, the MacDonalds transformed the steel-and-concrete structure into a 3,400-square-foot, three-level residence with rental units on the first and second floors. The couple now lives on the second and third floor.

The MacDonalds will open the doors to their home this Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m., when their property will be one of nine featured on the 45th annual Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association Home Tour. Tickets are $25 and will be sold at Washington Square Park, 700 Frenchmen St.

The MacDonalds — whose company is Mac Design Build– drafted their building’s plans, and David served as the general contractor. This project was a labor of love for the couple, who met 17 years ago at the Louisiana State University School of Architecture.

After graduation, they worked in Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Boston. When David’s mother got sick in 2012, the couple moved back to Louisiana to be near her. And they’ve been in New Orleans ever since.

When they stumbled upon the Marigny property, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to design their own home. “It was a lot more than we thought we were going to do, but at the same time, it was like, well, it’s only going to be a three unit so maybe we can do it,” Irelis recalled.

The couple gutted the building. “Basically, what we had left was a shell,” David said.

They redesigned the property into three units with two bedrooms and two bathrooms in each. All of the apartments have a contemporary industrial look, with exposed steel cross-bracing tension cables and corrugated metal ceilings.

An outdoor spiral staircase leads to the building’s third level, which features a rooftop deck with a 360-degree view of the neighborhood and the New Orleans skyline.

Inside, the walls are white, as the couple wanted their future tenants to have a blank canvass. The floors are water-resistant vinyl planks that look like hardwood, and most of the kitchen fixtures are from Ikea.

Though the last year has been filled with 70- to 80-hour work weeks for the couple as they finished the project, they are thrilled to be settling into the property. Like many architects, designing their own home was “a bucket list item for us,” Irelis said.

“It’s more like a nightmare as you go through it,” David joked, “but a dream in the end.”

Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association Home Tour

What: Nine buildings in the historic district, including the MacDonalds’ home, will be open for self-guided tours. Other featured properties include artist James Michalopoulos’ studio and Marigny association founder Gene Cizek’s house.

When: Sunday, May 21, noon to 4 p.m.

Where: Washington Square Park, 700 Frenchmen St.

Tickets: $25, ($20 for FMIA members) at faubourgmarigny.org.

KEVINISHA WALKER, The Times-Picayune

Former Kansas missile silo converted into luxury condo

Former Kansas missile silo converted into luxury condo

SALINA, Kan./May 6, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — A former Kansas missile silo has been repurposed into a luxury condo, though the developer isn’t saying who has snapped up the spaces in search of peace of mind during a possible disaster.

Larry Hall said that units inside the “survival bunker” about 40 miles north of Salina come with appliances and furniture, KAKE-TV (http://bit.ly/2pG74UV) reported.

The complex, which can accommodate as many as 75 people, also features a security system, classroom, swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, shooting range, gyms with saunas, pet park and an arcade, Hall said. There’s also a self-renewing water supply, grocery store and a medical wing with a pharmacy.

The units have fetched as much as $5 million, drawing interest from Hollywood folks and professional athletes, Hall said. He declined to divulge any names, citing non-disclosure agreements keeping their identities confidential.

Hall is one of the complex’s occupants.

“I don’t want to be one of those people that depends on the government to bail me out if the crap hits the fan,” he said. “I want to be able to take care of myself, and that’s what this place does for me.”

That condo complex is sold out, though Hall says he’s building a similar one in nearby Tescott.

Housing crisis sparks fears of an end for Illinois town 

Housing crisis sparks fears of an end for Illinois town 

May 5, 2017(AP) (StlRealEstate.News) A government plan to tear down a crumbling public housing complex in the southern Illinois town of Cairo has sent roughly 200 families searching for new homes and sparked fears that the once-thriving river city could be coming to an end.

Sitting at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Cairo was once a shipping hub, home to 15,000 people at its peak in the 1940s. But racial strife, flooding and economic troubles have left the town with just 2,600 residents, a vacant downtown, boarded up and abandoned buildings, and little habitable housing.

If the residents of the buildings slated for demolition are not able to find new homes in Cairo and end up leaving for other communities, the city’s population would be cut by 15 percent and the school district would lose nearly 40 percent of its student body.

“It’ll be a ghost town,” said Paul Lambert, a 66-year-old retired security guard who was born and raised in Cairo, left for a while, but returned in 1974.

After 39 years in the same housing authority apartment, Lambert is now among the residents being relocated due to what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has called “deplorable living conditions.” If forced to leave, Lambert says he’ll take his wife and 22-year-old son to join family in Tennessee. But, he says, “I’m not ready to do anything right now.”

Built in 1942, the Elmwood and McBride apartments are now infested with rodents and bugs and have heating and plumbing that don’t work properly, HUD says. Some residents say they’re afraid to let their children play outside because of crime in the area. The federal agency took over the property and other local housing authority operations in February 2016, amid allegations that the former head of the Alexander County Housing Authority had used federal funds for meals, trips and benefits while the buildings deteriorated.

HUD announced last month it would close the buildings and relocate the residents, saying the cost to repair the complexes — estimated at more than $41 million — is too much. Residents will get a voucher to use toward housing and help finding a new place to live, with the first relocations starting this month.

But few properties are available in Cairo — pronounced KEHR’-oh — or in the rural areas surrounding it. HUD and the city are working with area landlords to try to get properties to meet agency standards, but the process is slow. Developers are unlikely to team up with HUD — the typical practice for affordable housing projects today — on new housing in an area where more than half of children live in poverty.

“For most private developers it’s a long-term investment,” said HUD spokesman Jereon Brown. “Right now that would be tough to do here.”

The town — visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition that explored what is now the western U.S. in the early 1800s and referenced in Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” written later that century — started seeing people leave in large numbers after race riots in the 1960s. As major employers closed over the following decades, things got worse. Flooding has also been a problem for the city, which is surrounded by levees.

But Andrea Evers, the local school superintendent who came to Cairo in 2012, says she thought things were looking up. The city was taking steps to bring business to its port and it sounded like a grocery store might open. Now she has classrooms full of students worried their lives will be uprooted.

Students have written letters to new HUD Secretary Ben Carson, asking him to visit or help save their homes. Carson wrote back, telling Evers and the students that there were few options for the “nearly bankrupt” local housing authority and that the decision came only after much “hand-wringing.”

Evers says there’s no question people in the housing complex should have far better living conditions.

“I’m just hopeful there can be some solution that will allow people to stay,” Evers said. “Otherwise the unintended byproduct is a community will never be the same.”

SARA BURNETT, Associated Press

Beazer’s loss widens, but home sales rose

Beazer's loss widens, but home sales rose

ATLANTA/May 4, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — Rising construction and land costs caused Beazer Homes to report a wider loss in its latest quarter than a year ago. But its revenue rose as it sold more of its new homes and condos.

The Atlanta homebuilder’s stock soared Thursday.

Beazer, which typically sells homes to young families and first-time homebuyers, has found a growing business in selling condos and smaller homes to baby boomers. It is also building more condo communities for older folks, and recently broke ground on its first one in Orlando, Florida.

Overall, Beazer said it closed on 1,239 homes in the quarter, up nearly 8 percent from a year ago. And the average price of its sold homes rose 4 percent to $340,500.

It reported a net loss of $7.5 million, or 23 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter that ended March 31. A year ago, it reported a net loss of $1.23 billion, or 4 cents per share.

Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and to account for discontinued operations, came to 8 cents per share.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $425.5 million in the period.

Shares of Beazer Homes USA Inc. rose $1.24, or 10.3 percent, to $13.26 in afternoon trading.

Montana man gets 40-year sentence in $2M house flip scheme

Identity theft scheme leader gets 10-year prison sentence

MILES CITY, Mont./May 3, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News) — A Montana man convicted of embezzling $1.9 million from 18 people he convinced to invest in his “house flipping” business has been sentenced to 40 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hayworth sentenced Richard Brandt on Monday to 60 years in prison with 20 years suspended on six felony counts including theft by embezzlement, fraudulent practices, scheming to exploit elderly people and running a pyramid scheme.

State prosecutors said Brandt, from Miles City in eastern Montana, told people they were investing in a business in which he would buy, remodel and sell homes in Nebraska and Missouri.

Victims testified about the stress they suffered after losing life savings. Brandt apologized, saying he never intended to hurt anyone.

But Judge Michael Hayworth said the crimes from January 2011 to June 2015 required planning, juggling and manipulating and that Brandt located new victims when his current plans did not work. The fraud was not exposed until one victim was being thrown out of a nursing home because Brandt had embezzled about $90,000 from her bank account, prosecutors said.

Darvin Leidholt said he invested with Brandt to buy a house for himself and his mother, who needed a home without stairs due to balance issues, the Miles City Star (bit.ly/2qAC0Fs) reported.

Leidholt testified he had a mild heart attack when the deal fell through and his mother later fell down the stairs in her house, leading to her death and his second heart attack.

Brandt “knew I had wanted to get another house where she would be safe,” Leidholt said. “His disregard for me and anybody else is just terrible.”

Gary Glasgow testified he lost his retirement savings and now suffers from severe stress-related headaches.

“He lied to me. He was deceitful. He’s a con artist and I think he would do it again,” Glasgow said.

Public defender Joe Zavatsky said Brandt, 62, did not have the experience required to start his business and never planned to defraud anyone.

Hayworth said Brandt did not cooperate in identifying his assets available for restitution. A pre-sentence investigation found Brandt failed to list assets in his wife’s name.

Brandt apologized, saying he is physically and emotionally drained.

“It was never my intent to hurt anyone, they all know that, but the end result is terrible,” Brandt said. “I’ve ruined their lives, I’ve ruined my life. That’s not what we set out to do.”

Hayworth said it was not clear where the money went. Prosecutors said Brandt spent $1.7 million on vacations and other purchases, while Zavatsky said Brandt did not live lavishly.

Brandt listed about $80,000 in assets recoverable to repay victims, said Kyle Schmauch, spokesman for the state auditor and securities commissioner. The commissioner’s office paid about $380,000 to victims from its restitution fund.

“Every investor was elderly, mentally impaired, or otherwise vulnerable to exploitation,” state Auditor Matt Rosendale said in a statement. “Every victim was a personal friend or acquaintance of Brandt. It’s incredibly important that Montanans be very careful when they invest, even if it’s with someone they know and trust.”