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Bill Walton speaks at ProDealer Conference

BY HBSDEALER Staff

San Diego Basketball star Bill Walton, who rose to fame playing for the Boston Celtics and the Portland Trail Blazers, gave some advice on what to do “when the ball bounces the wrong way” during his Sept. 19 talk at the ProDealer Conference. Prematurely sidelined by foot injuries, Walton went on to build a career as a sportscaster and celebrity speaker, as well as fathering four sons.

Walton also reminisced about his days at Dixieline Lumber in San Diego, where the 15-year-old freckled redhead unloaded lumber as a part-time job.

The 11th Annual ProDealer Conference, sponsored by Home Channel News, kicked off with a City of Hope golf tournament. The first place team, winning with a score of 142, was Bruce Brushwood of Moulding & Millwork, Mark Donovan of Forest City Trading Group, Laura Dwyer of Dupont and Mike Fletcher of Moulding & Millwork. Bruce Brushwood was the long drive winner, and Grady Gennings of Orgill got closest to the pin.

The three-day conference, being held at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, continues tomorrow with sessions on diversity hiring, litigation risks, safety programs, commodity pricing and supply chain management. A panel of custom builders will also be featured.

The ProDealer Conference runs through Sept. 21.

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Builder confidence index drops two points

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo joint Housing Market Index dropped two points to 20, tying the index’s record low reached in January 1991.

“Builders are expressing concern that home buyers are getting spooked by the many headlines they are seeing on mortgage market issues and their continuing effects on the housing market and home prices,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde. “Indications are that consumers are trying to time the bottom of the market before making their purchase.”

Scores from three component indexes are used to calculate the seasonally adjusted index, where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Two out of three component indexes declined in September. The index gauging current single-family home sales declined two points to 20, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months fell five points to 26. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 16 for the month.

All four regions of the country reported declines in their September housing market index readings. The Northeast posted a three-point decline to 26, while the Midwest posted a single-point decline to 13. The South posted a two-point decline to 22, and the West posted a four-point decline to 18.

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New construction slows further

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The U.S. Commerce Department announced housing starts fell 2.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.331 million units, compared with a downwardly revised figure of 1.367 million units in July.

Year-over-year, new housing starts were down 19 percent, with single-family starts off 27 percent.

It was the lowest pace for housing starts since the June 1995 rate of 1.281 million units, according to the Commerce Department.

Building permits also fell, 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 1.307 million, also the lowest since June 1995.

The decline in construction last month took place exclusively in single-family homes, where starts fell 7.1 percent to 988,000. Multi-family housing starts rose 12.8 percent last month to 343,000.

Single-family starts were down in all regions of the United States, falling 20 percent in the Northeast, 18 percent in the West, 3 percent in the Midwest and 1 percent in the South.

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