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Real Estate Winners and Losers in 2009

Find out the people, companies and places in our list.

What’s there to look back in the past year?

A lot.

That’s why we’re rolling out our list of winners and losers that have made a significant dent on the real estate market surface.

Winner: Louisville, CO
The quiet small town of less than 20,000 residents topped Money Magazine’s list of America’s Best Places to Live. The main reason why editors put it in first place? It states, “The great outdoors. Louisville is laced with nearly 30 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is less than an hour away, and eight world-class ski resorts are within two hours. The town’s schools are highly rated as well. Add in dry, clear weather, little crime, good health care, and low taxes, and Louisville is pretty tough to beat.”

Loser: Stuyvesant Town
The mini city of 11,222 apartment units was caught in a court battle by feuding investors. After acquiring from its original owners, Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty planned on improving the apartments and hiking the rents thereafter. The result? Only very few apartments were rented and the court prohibited the developers from raising rents. On December 31, Stuyvesant Town opened its doors once again, this time to 100 new renters who’ll be availing of the discounted rent.

Winner: Citigroup
The investment bank shushed its critics when it successfully paid off its TARP funds in December. The icing of the cake? The government ruled that it will no longer be covered by pay restrictions imposed on TARP beneficiaries. We guess Vikram Pandit is smiling on his way to the boardroom everyday.

Loser: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
With this one, we’re not sure to start with. Signs of ailing conditions have put the two GSAs into conservatorship. Today, it has been using a combined $111 billion of the total $400 billion financial support that the government has provided. Recently, the government announced that each office are seeking an increase in their financial lifelines. Taxpayers will have more headaches this year, most probably.

Winner: First-time homebuyers
Bottom prices, huge number of choices and an extension of the First-time homebuyer tax credit. What’s there to complain about other than finding the right lender to approve your mortgage?

Loser: Ken Lewis
The embattled ex-CEO of Bank of America left office last year after a series of disputes among stockholders. When BofA successfully repaid the TARP, everyone thought that MAYBE, Lewis should have stayed on. But shareholders even got madder by learning that while the Bank is out of government debt, its stocks are valued way below than what they expected to come out of the tragedy.

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