Existing-home sales rise sharply
Existing-home sales rose sharply in December, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Completed transactions of single-family houses, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops rose 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December. Despite the surge, the figure is 2.9% below the 5.44 million-pace in December 2009.
"December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery. The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue, as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”
The NAR’s report followed by one day a disappointing housing-start report from the Department of Commerce.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,800 in December, which is 1.0% below December 2009. Distressed homes rose to a 36% market share in December from 33% in November, and 32% in December 2009.
Andersen’s exterior trim system snaps on, saves time
Bayport, Minn.-based Andersen introduced a trim system that can be installed in about six minutes.
The Andersen Exterior Trim System works with Andersen A-Series, 400 Series and 200 Series product lines.
The design eliminates measuring, cutting mitering, nailing and filling nail holes, according to Mark Pominville, marketing manager. "Our revolutionary snap-on feature lets you trim out an average house in about half a day, compared to two days using traditional trim."
The Andersen Trim System works completely independent of the water management system of a window or patio door.
Andersen trim is made of Fibrex material, a composite combining the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl. Fibrex material has twice the stiffness of vinyl, withstands temperature changes better than vinyl, according to Andersen.
Builder confidence doesn’t budge in January
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes stayed at the same level in January as the two previous months, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo House Market Index (HMI).
The seasonally adjusted index, which remains flat at 16, is based on a survey of 420 builders across the country. Numbers above 50 generally indicate that builders are optimistic about market conditions.
"Unfortunately, a severe lack of construction financing, and widespread difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisal values, continue to limit builders’ ability to prepare for anticipated improvements in buyer demand in 2011," said 2011 NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev.
HMI scores rose by one point in the Midwest and four points in the West in January, to 14 and 15, respectively. Meanwhile, HMI scores fell two points in the Northeast and one point in the South, to 20 and 17, respectively.