August brings 3-point gain in builder confidence
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) registered a three-point gain in builder confidence in August. The metric, which indicates builder sentiment toward new single-family homes, rose to an eight-year record of 59.
Two of the HMI’s three components were buoyed by this positive momentum. Sentiment toward current sales conditions also went up three points to 62, with sales expectations for the next six months up a point to 68. Sentiment toward the traffic of prospective buyers was unchanged at 45.
“Builders are seeing more motivated buyers walk through their doors than they have in quite some time,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “What’s more, firming home prices and thinning inventories of homes for sale are contributing to an increased sense of urgency among those who are in the market.”
NAHB chief economist David Crowe pointed out that the momentum sparked by this increased demand is slightly hampered by tight credit and insufficient supply.
Haier America now wholly owned by Haier Group
Haier America is becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the multinational Haier Group in a move that aims to strengthen the company’s focus on the Americas.
Previously, Haier America was owned in part by joint-venture shareholders.
"This is an important step forward for Haier," said Shariff Kan, president and CEO of Haier America. "The acquisition is being made to further align the company’s global resources toward growth and success for the Haier brand in North and South America."
The company, which manufactures home appliances and electronics, "operates a proven infrastructure for sales, marketing, distribution and services, and is ready to launch into a more robust business model for all stakeholders during this dynamic digital age," said Haier in a statement.
Haier America recently opened a Research & Development Center in Camden, S.C., and elected Rian Cain and John Homlish to oversee the sales and marketing operations of White Goods and Brown Goods, respectively. Lintao Lu will also be overseeing HVAC products.
IKEA acquires Irish wind farm to power locations in Ireland
Swedish retailer IKEA has bought a wind farm in Ireland to power its furniture stores in Dublin and Belfast, according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph.
The Irish facility’s four turbines are expected to generate 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity and bring the total number of IKEA-owned windmills to more than 100 in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.
IKEA also recently opened a new Swedish wind farm with seven turbines (with an option on another four) to produce 72,000 MWh of wind energy, to be managed by O2, according to the report. Augmenting its wind energy is a strong Ikea solar program. As of June, IKEA had solar panels on 39 of its 44 facilities, totaling close to 38 MW.