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84 Lumber gains FSC certification for 26 yards

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pro dealer 84 Lumber has received Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for 26 of its lumberyards, the company announced.

The locations are: Bridgeville, Mars, Grove City, Clarion and Eighty Four, Pa.; Moundsville, W.Va.; North Eaton (Columbia Station), Painesville, Macedonia and Massillon, Ohio; Rochester, Middletown, Ithaca, Elma, Watertown and Riverhead, N.Y.; Wyoming (Grand Rapids), Mich.; Karns (Knoxville), Tenn.; Mount Airy, Md.; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Gurnee, Ill.; Las Vegas; Henderson, Colo.; Chandler, Ariz.; and Beaumont and Hesperia, Calif.

The chain of custody designation enables these stores to sell FSC-certified lumber and building materials, which can earn points in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects, NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines, and other green certification programs. 

“FSC-certified products are a value-added service for our increasingly environmentally conscience customers,” said Kathleen Mannas, green products manager at 84 Lumber. “The FSC supports healthy forests and communities, and 84 Lumber is a strong proponent of this initiative.”

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Year-round barbecue grilling on the rise

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With another Memorial Day weekend winding down, it’s worth noting that more consumers are using their grills year-round, according to recent research from NPD Group.

As part of the group’s annual “Eating Patterns in America” report, the research firm identified that usage of outdoor grills is at an “all-time high” and nearly double what it was 20 years ago. In 1985, when the survey first started, 17 percent of households used a grill at dinner at least once during an average two-week period throughout the year; in 2007, it was 38 percent.

“While summer still accounts for the highest consumption levels of grilled food, grilling has increased the most in the other seasons of the year,” says Harry Balzer, a vp at NPD Group and author of the eating trends report.

Broken down by seasons, grill usage patterns are as follows:

• Grill usage in the spring months of March through May was 37.2 percent in 2007, up from 31.4 percent in 1998.

• The number predictably spikes in the summer, at 49.3 percent in the months of June through August 2007, up from 46.3 percent in 1998.

• Grill usage in the fall months has risen most dramatically, to 39.9 percent in 2007 from 30.3 percent in 1998.

• Use of grills also is up in the winter months of December through February, to 26.5 percent in 2007 from 18.7 percent in 1998.

• Total usage for all four seasons in 2007 was 38.2 percent, up from 31.7 percent in 1998.

The majority of households have an outdoor grill (76 percent), and the grill of choice is one that uses gas — 75 percent of grill owners have a gas grill. In 2007, NPD estimates grill sales grew by 3.2 percent (unit sales) from the previous year.

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Existing-home sales fell last month

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Existing-home sales fell 1 percent month-over-month in April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units from an upwardly revised pace of 4.94 million in March, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of existing homes were 17.5 percent below the 5.93 million-unit level in April 2007.

“In the past week, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae announced that they were eliminating their ‘declining market’ policies, effective June 1,” said NAR president Richard F. Gaylord, voicing some optimism on the downturning market. “This means consumers across the country will have access to safe, affordable financing with down payments of only 5 percent on most mortgages, with 100 percent financing available on some loan products, and we could see an upturn in home sales this summer.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $202,300 in April, 8 percent below a year ago when the median was $219,900.

Total housing inventory at the end of April rose 10.5 percent to 4.55 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 11.2-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 10.0-month supply in March.

Single-family home sales slipped 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.34 million in April from 4.36 million in March, and are 16.1 percent below the 5.17 million-unit level recorded one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $200,700 in April, down 8.5 percent from April 2007.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 550,000 units in April from 580,000 in March, and are 27.9 percent below the 763,000-unit pace in April 2007. The median existing condo price was $214,900 in April, which is 3.7 percent below a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the West rose 6.4 percent in April to a level of 1 million but are 15.3 percent below a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales were unchanged from March at an annual rate of 1.92 million in April, but are 18.6 percent below April 2007.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 4.4 percent to an annual pace of 870,000 in April, and are 14.7 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, existing-home sales were at an annual rate of 1.10 million in April, which is 6 percent below March and 19.7 percent lower than April 2007.

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