Mortgage lenders fear crumbling concrete, asking appraisers to be wary of Massachusetts foundations built during years tainted supply was used

Mortgage lenders in Massachusetts, worried that crumbling foundations would leave them holding paper on a worthless house, are telling their appraisers to pay special attention to foundations of homes built in the years a Connecticut concrete supplier used concrete tainted with pyrrhotite.

And at least one lender is considering mandating, if an appraiser finds the telltale cracks and crumbling of pyrrhotite-tainted concrete, that buyers have core samples removed from the foundation and tested to make sure the offending mineral is not present.

"This could be quite costly for a potential buyer," said Michael Ostrowski, CEO and president of Arrha Credit Union in Springfield. "We know it's already expensive to get a mortgage and buy a house. We are very conscious of those costs."

But the risk is great, he said.

"I have to protect my members' money when I lend it out," Ostrowski said.

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