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Existing-home sales down in September

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), September existing-home sales fell 8 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million units, compared with a downwardly revised 5.48 million-unit pace in August.

The monthly figures are 19.1 percent below the 6.23 million-unit pace recorded in September 2006.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $211,700 in September, down 4.2 percent from September 2006 when the median was $220,900.

Lawrence Yun, NAR senior economist, said the decline was due to a variety of factors, notably mortgage availability problems.

“Because there were fewer transactions at the upper end of the market, there is a downward distortion reflected in a lower national median home price,” Yun said. “Home prices continue to trend up in the Northeast and in the condo sector. In other areas not dependent on jumbo loans, such as much of the Midwest, prices are rising.”

Single-family home sales dropped 8.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.38 million in September from a pace of 4.79 million in August, and are 19.8 percent below the 5.46 million-unit pace in September 2006. The median existing single-family home price was $210,200 in September, down 4.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 660,000 units in September from 690,000 in August, and are 14.7 percent below the 774,000-unit level in September 2006. The median existing condo price was $221,700 in September, up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the South declined 6 percent in September to an annual pace of 2.05 million, and are 18.7 percent below a year ago. The median price in the South was $174,400, down 5.5 percent from September 2006.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales dropped 7 percent to a rate of 1.19 million in September, and are 16.2 percent below September 2006. The median price in the Midwest was $170,700, up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 9.9 percent in September to a level of 910,000, and are 27.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $308,900, which is 8.8 percent lower than September 2006.

In the Northeast, existing-home sales dropped 10 percent to a pace of 900,000, and are 13.5 percent lower than September 2006. The median price in the Northeast was $261,700, up 0.5 percent from a year ago.

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Sears builds Craftsman ‘skeleton’ for Halloween promotion

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears has unveiled a 22-story skeleton, made entirely of Craftsman tools, in New York City’s Times Square yesterday in a Halloween themed promotion for its Craftsman tool line.

Richard Gerstein, senior vp and chief marketing officer for Sears, said that the company intended to capitalize on the Halloween season and provide a “tongue in cheek” reference to the Craftsman core brand message, “There’s a Craftsman in All of Us.”

The campaign will launch Oct. 27 and will include 15-second spots on several cable channels and Web sites. T-shirts depicting the print ads are also on sale at sears.com.

Gerstein said that this is the kickoff to their holiday season for Craftsman, and the company is trying to boost consumer awareness of Craftsman tools as gift items.

Gerstein said that this is the kickoff to their holiday season for Craftsman, and the company is trying to boost consumer awareness to Craftsman tools as gift items.

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Sherwin-Williams sales, earnings up in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

On a series of acquisitions, Sherwin-Williams saw across-the-board increases in third-quarter sales and earnings.

Sherwin-Williams recorded total net earnings of $200.3 million, up 11.8 percent from $179.1 million last year. The paint and coatings giant had sales of $2.2 billion in the quarter, up 4.8 percent from $2.1 billion last year.

Net earnings in the company’s paint stores group rose 9.6 percent to $248.4 million compared with $226.7 million last year. Sales rose 3.9 percent to $1.4 billion compared with $1.35 billion in the same period last year. The company attributed those gains in part to acquisitions, including the assets of Columbia Paint & Coatings, purchased at the end of the first quarter. Other acquisitions included the earlier purchase of M.A. Bruder & Sons — combined with Columbia, the two acquisitions added 172 stores to the group’s operations.

“We are encouraged by the positive sales results generated by the paint stores group as they more than offset the reduction in architectural paint to other customers,” said Christopher Conner, chairman and CEO of Sherwin-Williams. “Despite the sluggish new residential and housing turnover markets, we continued to invest in our U.S. controlled distribution network.”

Consumer group earnings rose 6.4 percent to $64.15 million from $60.28 million last year. Sales were down 1.7 percent to $349 million from $355 million last year.

Global group earnings saw a 12.5 percent gain, up to $48.02 million from $42.7 million last year. Sales increased 8 percent to $445 million from $412.1 million last year.

For the fourth quarter, the company raised its estimated net income-per-share predictions, based on both expected segment profit growth and continued strength in the consumer group. The company expects a full-year sales increase of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

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