Confidence in condo market falls
The Multifamily Condo Market Index ended 2007 on a low note, according to the National Association of Home Builders, with the component of the index tracking builder confidence in current conditions standing at 18.8, down nearly 11 points from the same time a year ago.
The index is derived from a quarterly survey of multi-family builders and developers, in which responses are rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with a rating of 50 generally indicating that the number of positive responses is about the same as the number of negative responses.
“Given that the condo market became so overheated during the peak of the housing boom, it is not surprising that the market now continues to struggle,” said David Seiders, NAHB chief economist. “It is going to take time for the extra inventory to be absorbed.”
The component of the index that gauges current conditions in the condo market has not risen above 25 during any quarter of 2007, the NAHB noted.
Builder expectations for the next six months are more optimistic, however. The component tracking expectations stood at 29.2 in the fourth quarter of 2007. In the fourth quarter of 2006, this component of the index stood at 49.1.
About two-thirds of builders reported lowering prices to bolster sales. The average price reduction was 11 percent. When asked about other marketing strategies being used to shore up sales, more than 70 percent of the respondents reported including optional items at no costs, paying closing costs or fees or absorbing financial points for their buyers.
Wolseley makes acquisitions in U.S., abroad
Stock Building Supply, the industry’s second largest pro dealer, has purchased Precision Doors & Hardware, a company specializing in the sales, installation, service and repair of commercial and industrial doors, frames, door hardware, washroom accessories and control systems. Precision Doors & Hardware operates from five locations in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2006, the most recent year made available, the company posted revenues of $43.3 million.
Ferguson Enterprises, Stock’s sister company, has acquired assets of two companies: C.B. Group, which does business as JC Plumbing Supply in San Francisco. JC Plumbing is a distributor operating from two facilities. Revenues in 2006 were $4.4 million. The other acquisition was Mastercraft Cabinets, a cabinet distributor operating from a single facility in Naples, Fla. In 2006, Mastercraft had revenues of $5.1 million.
Since the beginning of its fiscal year on Aug. 1, 2007, U.K.-based Wolseley, the parent company of Stock and Ferguson, has spent $66.2 million to acquire a total of 15 bolt-on acquisitions in Europe and North America. These 15 acquisitions are expected to add approximately $527.6 million in revenues annually.
Death penalty sought in store manager shooting
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has charged Jason Russell Richardson, a man accused of shooting and killing a Home Depot store manager, with one count of murder during the commission of a robbery, a special circumstances charge that carries the death penalty in California.
Richardson is being held without bail. According to the Tustin Police Department, the 37-year-old parolee has been previously convicted of rape, sexual assault on a minor, residential burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property and narcotics charges.
The victim, assistant store manager Tom Egan, was shot and killed after he came to the assistance of a cashier being robbed at a Home Depot store in Tustin, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2007. The robber came into the store disguised in painter’s coveralls, dust mask and hard hat. Based on DNA evidence left at the scene, police arrested Richardson two weeks later.
Aformer U.S. Marine, Egan is survived by his wife and twin daughters, aged 4. He was an employee of Home Depot for 13 years.