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Chinese hardwood flooring slapped with duty

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An unfair-competition complaint by U.S manufacturers has led to preliminary duties on multilayered wood flooring from China. 

The Commerce Department Tuesday announced a 27.01% duty rate on multilayered flooring imports — a move described as a preliminary decision, based on evidence of Chinese subsidies.

Facing what they called unfair competition, a group of hardwood flooring suppliers formed the Coalition for American Hardwood Parity (CAHP) in October and filed an unfair trade petition regarding imported engineered wood flooring from China. 

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Existing-home sales decline in February

BY HBSDEALER Staff

After three consecutive months of existing-home sales increases, the National Association of Realtors reported a 9.6% drop in completed transactions for February. 

The NAR’s existing-home sales figure fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million, compared to 5.40 million in January. The February pace is 2.8% below the February 2010 pace of 5.03 million.

“Housing affordability conditions have been at record levels and the economy has been improving, but home sales are being constrained by the twin problems of unnecessarily tight credit, and a measurable level of contract cancellations from some appraisals not supporting prices negotiated between buyers and sellers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “This tug and pull is causing a gradual but uneven recovery.  Existing-home sales remain 26.4% above the cyclical low last July.”

The NAR also reported that the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $156,100 in February, down 5.2% from February 2010. 

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Australian home builder entering U.S. market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Backed by Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Forestry Group, one of Australia’s largest home builders, Henley, has announced its intention to enter the U.S. market. Henley/Sumitomo began purchasing land in the Seattle area in advance of construction this summer.

Backed by more than $100 million in investment, the company owns property in King, Pierce and Sammamish Counties and continues to aggressively acquire land throughout the Puget Sound region. Henley/Sumitomo plans initial construction of 500 homes in 2011/2012 within the region. Seattle’s low unemployment rate, large population of highly paid workers and presence of major companies made it an attractive target for the international builder, according to the announcement.

Henley/Sumitomo has home-building operations in Asia. Construction in Washington State marks its first activity in the U.S. market. The group has taken over the existing Sumitomo operations of Bennett Homes, an established Seattle home-building company.

"Seattle is the ideal place for a U.S. market entry. The region is projected to grow by half a million people over the next 10 years, and our global experience will give us an edge over local home builders competing to build new homes," said Henley managing director Peter Hayes. "Washington State weathered the housing collapse better than other major U.S. cities, and Henley is making a bet the region is poised for recovery. Our business model is based on innovative design and upgraded inclusions with efficiencies gained from the Japanese and Australian operations, enabling highly competitive pricing to the home buyer."

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