Bank of America real-estate chief’s house sells at a discount

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: Bank of America Corp, the biggest US home lender, sold a home for its top housing executive for 44% less than its initial asking price set 16 months ago, property records show.

Barbara Desoer, head of the bank’s home-loan and insurance unit, put her 4,500 sq ft house in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the market Aug 1, 2008, for us$1.675 million. The home sold on Nov 22 for US$930,500 (RM3.14 million), according to a Multiple Listing Service report.

Desoer, who bought the home with her husband in 2000 for US$1.15 million, moved from Charlotte after being named head of Calabasas, California-based Countrywide Financial Corp, which the bank acquired in July 2008. Her Charlotte home was sold to Bank of America in December 2008 through a relocation company. The home was put on the market at about US$1.3 million.

The US real estate market is showing signs of improvement though demand for luxury homes remains sluggish because of increasing job losses and tighter lending standards. Home prices in 20 US cities, including Charlotte, rose for a fourth straight month in September, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index, while sales of existing US homes in October reached their highest level since February 2007, the National Association of Realtors said on Nov 23.

Desoer, 57, declined to comment, Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm said.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, will cover costs associated with the sale of the house, including a possible loss, plus US$1.5 million for Desoer’s new home in California and US$1.1 million related to taxes, according to the bank’s March 2009 proxy.

Bank of America officials in September cited Desoer as one of six potential internal candidates to succeed chief executive officer Kenneth Lewis, who is retiring Dec 31. Chief risk officer Gregory Curl and retail banking head Brian Moynihan are the most likely insider candidates to win the post, according to people familiar with the situation. – Bloomberg LP

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