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Builder confidence unchanged in November

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes remains unchanged in November, attributed to ongoing mortgage market problems, overflowing home inventories and ongoing concerns about the negative impact of media coverage, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released Nov. 20.

The November HMI held even with October’s upwardly revised 19 reading, its lowest point since the series began in January 1985.

“Consistent with what builders said in last month’s survey, many are reporting that their special sales incentives are having limited success in terms of getting buyers in the door,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde, a home builder from El Segundo, Calif.

Catalde further said that builders “are worried that the national media has tended to report negative housing stories as if there is one real estate market, when, in fact, there is no such thing — all housing markets are local. As a result, some healthy markets are being unfairly impacted by this negative media coverage.”

“The message from today’s report is that builders do not see any significant change in housing market conditions as compared to last month,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders. “While they continue to work down inventories of unsold homes and reposition themselves for the market’s eventual recovery, they realize it will be some time before market conditions support an upswing in building activity — most likely by the second half of 2008.”

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Edward Hines Lumber names new CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Edward Hines Lumber has appointed Gerald R. Wille, vp- operations, as president and CEO effective immediately.

Wille, 64, has been with the company for 31 years and will succeed Edward Hines, who was elected chairman of the board.

“Gerry has been an integral part of the Hines management team for the better part of three decades,” said Hines, adding, “Gerry is tremendously qualified and deserving of this promotion.”

Edward Hines Lumber is one of the Chicago area’s largest lumber and building supply companies, with lumberyards throughout Illinois and Indiana.

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Realtors’ conference addresses growing ‘green’ trend

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home buyers want to be green, but they don’t necessarily want to fork over extra money for energy-efficient features when purchasing a home.

This was one of the themes discussed at the “Greening for Dollars: The Business Benefits of Green Building” session at the National Association of Realtors 2007 Realtors Conference & Expo, held Nov. 13 to 16 in Las Vegas.

Panel participants were John Stovall, vp-business development for EcoBroker International; Janet Rosenberg, owner and principal broker of Intero Real Estate Services; and Daniele Loffreda of Plateau Enviro Associates and U.S. Green Building Council residential green building advocate.

Citing data from the National Association of Home Builders, Loffreda explained that the green homes market is expected to increase to 10 percent by 2010.

“There is a growing awareness and acceptance of the importance of energy efficiency among homeowners, but much confusion about the broader category of ‘green homes,’ ” Loffreda said.

“In the past few years, consumers have been bombarded by the marketing messages of companies jumping on the green-friendly bandwagon,” said moderator Suzanne Shelton, CEO of the Shelton Group, which introduced consumer research related to green building trends from recent focus groups and surveys. “People are becoming much more inquiring about the bill of green goods being sold to them — not only in terms of ‘is it as green as what they say it is,’ but also ‘does it matter enough to me to pay extra?’ ”

According to the 2007 Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preferences, a significant majority of new home buyers — 65 percent — think their home’s energy efficiency is a very important consideration. Buyers who placed a priority on energy efficiency were also more likely to value other environment-friendly features, such as proximity to parks and public transportation, and existence of sidewalks in the neighborhood.

“As green building issues become more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, more and more realtors are adding value to the real estate transaction by developing green business practices,” said NAR 2007 president Pat Combs.

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