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Centex goes after renters with new model

BY Brae Canlen

Centex, one of the nation’s largest residential builders, is rolling out a low-cost model aimed at Gen Y renters. Called “The Independence Series,” the homes sell for as little as $105,000 in the San Antonio market, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $775. In the Chicago area, prices start in the $129,000 range, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $999. Both assume a 3.5% down payment. 

With five floor plans, the buyer has the flexibility to select specific architectural options within their monthly mortgage payment. The one- and two-story plans range from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet with two to four bedrooms. Optional features may include: mudrooms, flex rooms, basements, and lofts.

Introduced in the San Antonio, Chicago and St. Louis markets, Centex now plans to roll out the Independence Series in other U.S. markets over the next 12 months.

"After absorbing multiple years of significant increases in rental rates, the scale has tipped for many apartment dwellers in favor of purchasing a home," said Deborah Meyer, senior VP and chief marketing officer for PulteGroup, the parent company of Centex. "Based on today’s lower home prices, coupled with mortgage rates on 30-year, fixed-rate loans that are at or near record low levels, home attainability has never been better. There is strong demand for the Independence Series. Not only are renters extremely motivated to purchase a new home at a tremendous value, but they also see the financial benefit to owning a home as a long-term investment.”

When designing these homes, Centex allowed consumers the flexibility to make trade-offs to choose the architectural options desired within their monthly payment, such as bedroom count vs. bath count vs. garage car count. "We invested considerable time and resources to fully understand consumer desires and sentiment of this demographic," Meyer said. "This new product isn’t a modification of an older floor plan, it represents a completely new design.”

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Retail federation dismayed by healthcare ruling

BY Ken Clark

After the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said it will redouble its efforts to repeal the healthcare law.

“We’re disappointed by today’s ruling,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “The Court missed an opportunity to redress the many shortcomings of the law."

A consistent skeptic of the Affordable Care Act, Shay said the law wrongly puts a focus on penalizing employers and the private sector, and not enough emphasis on reducing the costs of health care.

“Although the Court upheld the law’s constitutionality, many problems remain: it penalizes employers too much; it doesn’t do enough to reduce the cost of health care, and it is unreasonably complicated and difficult to implement and administer,” he said. 

NRF will “redouble our efforts to repeal the law,” according to the statement.

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Fifty winning retailers, state by state

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Channel News selected 50 hardware stores — one from each state — for inclusion in the second annual Hardware Store All-Star list. The stores distinguish themselves with strong customer service, innovative approaches to retail and a connection to community and customers. 

The alphabetical listing of All-Star stores, one from each of the 50 U.S. states, continues here with Virginia and Washington:

Virginia
Pleasants Hardware
Richmond, Va.
A sign outside the front door at this venerable Richmond location reads: “Corn Hole Boards Sold Here.” For the uninitiated, those are the beanbag boards popular at carnivals and fundraisers. It’s that kind of off-the-wall item that distinguishes what one customer calls “an old-fashioned hardware store on steroids.” Now with five Virginia locations, Pleasants Hardware sells more than 50,000 products, from odd “whatchamacallits” to brand-name power tools. 

Washington
McDaniel’s Do It Center
Snohomish, Wash.
The 2012 Golden Hammer “Tools of the Trade” Award winner, McDaniel’s Do It Center epitomizes the hardware retailer that champions innovation and best practices across its operation to generate results and connect with customers. Successfully creating an upscale paint business for its DIY base and for continuous reinvestment in its business, the store is a worthy honoree. It has been recognized by Do it Best as an “extreme retailer” and also a several-time purchase-award winner.

For the complete list of 50 winning retailers, state-by-state, register or log in to Homechannelnews.com.   

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