Existing-home sales rise
Existing-home sales made a comeback in September after experiencing a slight decline in August. At their highest level in 2014 so far, sales clocked in at an adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.
As for whether rising home prices are helping or hurting the housing market — it depends on how you look at it.
“Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
For Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza, increases in median home price present a troubling picture for future demand, as prices are growing faster than wage growth.
"Particularly among the youngest generations, strapped with debt and minimal savings, first-time homebuyers are becoming an increasingly smaller portion of the market, a trend not going unnoticed by Washington," she commented in a September home sales report. "Already regulators are talking about new programs that will allow more homebuyers to get loans at lower rates and with much smaller down payments."
September’s rate represents a 2.4% increase from August’s figure of 5.05 million. However, they’re down 1.7% from last September’s 5.26 million-unit-level.
Single-family home sales were up 2.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.56 million, though they were also down on a year-ago basis (1.9%).
Gains were experienced across all regions with the exception of the Midwest, where they declined 5.6%.
As for home prices, the median for all housing types was $209,700, which is 5.6% above last year’s rate. Median prices have now gone up on a year-over-year basis for 31 consecutive months. For single-family homes, that number came in at $210,300.
Meanwhile, total housing inventory was down 1.3% to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale, representing a 5.3-month supply.
Klein Tools releases Combination-Tip Drivers
Klein Tools has introduced a new line of Combination-Tip Drivers for use in electrical applications.
The drivers are designed to fit the combination head screws typically found on electrical devices and fittings, and they’re heat-treated to withstand the torque required to fasten them.
“The most critical element in a screwdriver tip design is how it fits into the screw,” said Jon Ginsberg, product manager at Klein Tools. “Klein has developed the best geometry for combo head screws. The design engages tightly with both the square and slot elements of the screw to provide the tightest fit and longest-wearing combo tip in the industry.”
The Combination-Tip Drivers are available as Fixed-Blade Screwdrivers, Impact Rated Power Drivers and the 11-in-1 Screwdriver.
Each is Made in the USA with quality steel and a Cushion-Grip handle.
Huttig names New Jersey manager
St. Louis-based Huttig Building Products hired Bob Kern Sr. as the new territory manager to cover southern New Jersey from the Huttig Wilkes-Barre branch in Pennsylvania.
Kern has more than 20 years of experience in the building materials industry. He started his career with Peter Lumber Company in Pleasantville, New Jersey, where he was the operations manager for many years. Most recently, Kern was territory manager with Milliken Millwork.
“We are pleased to have Bob with us here at Huttig," said Scott Wisser, general manager at the Huttig Wilkes-Barre facility. "We feel very fortunate to find such a high caliber person like Bob to fill this role with his great business acumen and wealth of knowledge of the industry. I am confident that Bob will provide the leadership and oversight to ensure the highest level of service for our vendors and customers."
“It’s great to be here with Huttig. They are a class outfit with a full arsenal of products," Kern said. "I believe I have a lot to offer our customers and suppliers, and I will work hard to prove myself to them."