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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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PPG to sell fine chemicals business

BY HBSDEALER Staff

PPG, the conglomerate that includes Pittsburgh Paint-maker PPG Architectural Coatings, will sell its specialty chemicals business for $65 million to Milan, Italy-based ZaCh System.

Charles Bunch, CEO and chairman of PPG, said the divestiture will allow the company to focus on its goal of becoming the “leading coatings and specialty products and services company.” PPG currently is the 45th largest home improvement retailer in the United States, according to HCN’s top 500 list of home channel retailers.

“Following last week’s announcement of our potential divestiture of our auto glass businesses, this transaction is yet another step toward achieving PPG’s vision,” Bunch said.

PPG facilities included in the agreement are a pharmaceutical fine chemicals plant in LaPorte, Texas, and the PPG-Sipsy facility in Avrille, France.

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Foreclosures up 36 percent month-over-month

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to the real estate research firm RealtyTrac, new foreclosures rose 36 percent in August compared with July to 243,947 filings, including default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions. The rate of foreclosures was at one foreclosure notice for every 510 households.

Nevada had the highest rate of foreclosures at 6,197, up 21 percent from July. That number represents one foreclosure notice for every 165 households. Six California cities had among the 10 highest rates of foreclosure filings in August, led by Modesto at one for every 79 households.

But California still had the most foreclosures overall, at 57,875, a 48 percent surge from last month. The foreclosure rate in California was one notice for every 224 households.

Foreclosures in Florida were up 77 percent to 33,932, or a rate of one notice for every 243 households.

“The jump in foreclosure filings [in August] might be the beginning of the next wave of increased foreclosure activity, as a large number of subprime adjustable rate loans are beginning to reset now,” said James Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac.

“Another significant factor in the increased level of foreclosure activity is that the number of REO filings (bank repossessions) is increasing dramatically, which means that a greater percentage of homes entering foreclosure are going back to the banks.”

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