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Builder confidence hits all-time low

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The builder confidence index, released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, fell two points to 18 last month, its lowest level since the index first was released in 1985.

“Builders in the field are reporting that, while their special sales incentives are attracting interest among consumers, many potential buyers are either holding out for even better deals or hesitating due to concerns about negative and confusing media reports on home values,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde.

The index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The NAHB noted builder expectations for sales conditions in the next six months held steady at 26.

“Builders believe they are taking the right steps to reduce inventories and position themselves for the market recovery that lies ahead,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders.

Two out of three component indexes declined in October. The index gauging current single-family home sales and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers each declined two points, to 18 and 15, respectively, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months remained unchanged at 26.

Regionally, the West accounted for a substantial portion of the decline in builder confidence this month, with a four-point reduction to 14. The Northeast and South each reported one-point declines to 26 and 21, respectively, while the Midwest posted a two-point gain to 15.

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Wolseley will help build scientific research station

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wolseley, through its insulation distribution business called Encon, will help provide materials for an Antarctic research station, the company has announced.

Wolseley is the United Kingdom-based parent of pro dealers Ferguson and Stock Building Supply.

Encon will be paid 35,000 pounds (US$71,000) to provide thermal products for a new scientific research station in Antarctica. Insulation products supplied from Encon will be used to build a new laboratory run by the British Antarctic Survey.

The station, to be called the Halley VI Research Station, will be located on the Brunt Ice Shelf and incorporate a range of thermal products, drywall and partitioning to ensure an internal temperature of around 68 degrees is maintained, despite external temperatures as low as minus 68.8 degrees.

The new laboratory is expected to have a life span of at least 25 years, according to the company. It will be one of five research stations operated by British Antarctic Survey and will be a center for research into global issues such as climate change, ozone depletion and atmospheric pollution.

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D.R. Horton issues preliminary fourth-quarter results

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Worth, Texas-based home builder D.R. Horton released a preliminary fourth-quarter report showing net sales orders dropped 48 percent to 6,374 homes, a total value of $1.3 billion, from 10,430 homes, a value of $2.5 billion, in the previous year.

The company’s fourth-quarter cancellation rate rose to 48 percent, compared with a rate of 40 percent in the year-ago period.

For the year, the company saw net sales orders drop 35.2 percent to 33,687 homes, or $8.2 billion, from 51,980 homes, or $13.9 billion.

“Inventory levels of both new and existing homes remained high, while pricing remained very competitive,” said Donald Horton, chairman of the company’s board of directors. “We also experienced reduced mortgage availability due to tighter lending standards, and buyers continued to approach the home buying decision cautiously. We expect the housing environment to remain challenging.”

The company will release its fourth-quarter results on Nov. 20. D.R. Horton builds homes in 27 states.

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