Existing-home sales increase in Q1
Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.14 million in the first quarter, up 8.3% from 4.75 million in the fourth quarter, and down 0.8% from a 5.18-million pace during the same period in 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Existing-home sales showed gains in 49 states and the District of Columbia, while 22% of the available metropolitan areas saw prices rise from a year ago.
Median existing single-family home price in the first quarter increased in 34 out of 153 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from the first quarter of 2010; four had double-digit increases, one was unchanged, and 118 areas showed declines.
“The reading of quarterly price data can be volatile because they are based on the types of homes that are sold during the quarter. When buyers principally purchase distressed properties in a given market, the recorded prices will be very low, which is what we’re seeing now in much of the country,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist,. “Annual price data provides a better guide about the direction of the market in those areas.”
The national median existing single-family home price was $158,700 in the first quarter, down 4.6% from $166,400 in the first quarter of 2010.
Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 0.8% in the first quarter to 800,000 but are 7.3% below the first quarter of 2010. In the Midwest existing-home sales increased 7.9% to a pace of 1.09 million but are 55 below a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales increased 8.5% to an annual rate of 1.96 million and are 2.8% higher than the first quarter of 2010. Existing-home sales in the West rose 13.5% in the first quarter to 1.29 million and are 2.1% above a year ago.
PulteGroup names executive VP, CFO
Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based PulteGroup has appointed Robert "Bob" O’Shaughnessy as executive VP and chief financial officer, effective May 31. He will be responsible for the corporate accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations, audit, information technology and asset management functions, including the mortgage and title company. O’Shaughnessy will report directly to Richard J. Dugas Jr., chairman, president and CEO.
O’Shaughnessy joined PulteGroup from Penske Automotive Group, where he was executive VP and chief financial officer since 2007. He held various financial roles at the firm since 1997, including senior VP and controller.
"Bob is a proven leader who has demonstrated operational expertise," Dugas said. "With nearly 25 years of finance experience and a solid grounding in public accounting, Bob brings a broad range of expertise to PulteGroup, from which our entire operation will benefit.
O’Shaughnessy is replacing Roger Cregg as CFO. Cregg will retire from PulteGroup effective May 27.
LP posts 12% rise in sales
Louisiana-Pacific (LP), one of the industry’s leading producers of oriented strand board (OSB), siding and engineered wood products, reported net sales of $332 million for the first quarter of 2011, a 12% increase over sales of $297 million in the same period of 2010.
The company reported a loss from continuing operations of $23 million for the quarter, which ended March 31, reflecting no change from the $23 million loss in the first quarter of 2010.
LP’s OSB segment, which operates eight facilities, reported net sales for the first quarter of $132 million, up 12% compared with $118 million of net sales in last year’s first quarter. For the quarter, the OSB segment reported an operating loss of $9 million compared with an operating loss of $5 million in the first quarter of 2010. Sales volumes were up 18%, with sales price decreasing by 5%.
LP’s Siding segment reported net sales of $106 million in the first quarter of 2011, up 18% from $90 million in the year-ago first quarter. For the quarter, the Siding segment reported operating income of $13 million compared with operating income of $9 million in the year-ago quarter.
The Engineered Wood Product (EWP), comprised of I-Joist (IJ), Laminated Veneer Lumber and Laminated Strand Lumber (LVL and LSL), reported sales in the first quarter of $48 million, about flat compared with the year-ago quarter. Operating losses decreased 17% to $6 million for the quarter from $7 million in the first quarter of 2010.
"At the beginning of the year, we felt some optimism in the market, but it waned as we finished the quarter," said CEO Rick Frost in a prepared statement. "LP took advantage of what the market did offer, and our operations were able to generate positive adjusted EBITDA of $10 million despite lower housing starts."
In terms of outlook, Frost said: “While the economy has begun to recover and we are seeing some job growth, which we believe is key to stimulating demand for new home construction, this uptick in employment has not yet translated into increased housing activity. In response to market uncertainty, we continue to focus on our costs and enhanced relationships with customers so that we are poised to win as housing recovers.”