Existing-home sales slip to 4.48 million
Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a decline in total existing-home sales for the month of March.
Sales of existing-homes declined 2.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million in March.
Still, economists from the NAR see signs of a stabilizing market in the figures.
“The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Existing-home sales are moving up and down in a fairly narrow range that is well above the level of activity during the first half of last year. With job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy, the pent-up demand is coming to market and we expect housing to be notably better this year.”
Existing home sales are 5.2% ahead of last year’s pace.
Yun said the recovery is in the process of settling into a higher level of home sales. Total housing inventory at the end of March declined 1.3% to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.3-month supply at the current sales pace, the same as in February. Listed inventory is 21.8% below a year ago and well below the record of 4.04 million in July 2007.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $163,800 in March, up 2.5% from March 2011.
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Shoplifter tip leads to arrest
A tip to police about a planned shoplifting crime ended in an arrest outside a Lowe’s store in Monroe, La., according to an article in the News Star.
Monroe police were told that a man driving a white extended cab Chevrolet truck was going to Lowe’s to shoplift. Officers at the scene observed an individual, later identified as James Clark, 41, drive the described vehicle into the store’s parking lot.
The suspect entered and exited the store with an empty shopping cart. Police questioned Clark, who allegedly admitted to stealing some tools. The suspect was searched and officers found two Kobalt wrench sets with an estimated value of $199.94, according to the arrest report.
A criminal records check revealed Clark was on probation for unauthorized use of an access card, and his driver’s license had been suspended, according to the newspaper. Clark was also reportedly arrested for failure to pay child support in November.
His bond was set at $10,000 for shoplifting and $250 for driving without a valid license.
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Stanley Black & Decker posts mixed Q1 results
Sales were up but net earnings were down for Stanley Black & Decker, the maker of construction and DIY tools, security and industrial products.
New Britain, Conn.-based Stanley Black & Decker first quarter sales increased to $2.65 billion, up 12% from $2.36 billion in the same quarter last year.
The company said the sales growth was attributable to volume (+2%), price (+1%), currency (-1%) and acquisitions (+10%). Last year, Stanley announced it would acquire Niscayah Group AB, a Swedish commercial security company.
Stanley Black & Decker posted net earnings of $121.8 million for the first quarter, down from $158.7 million in the same quarter last year.
March 12 marked the two year anniversary of the Stanley Black & Decker combination and we remain pleased with how the integration has progressed,” said CEO John Lundgren. “Our plans to achieve $300 million to $400 million in revenue synergies by 2013 remain on track and we feel confident these projects will drive profitable organic growth as they did in 2011.”
For the entire construction and DIY segment, net sales increased 1% compared to the same quarter last year. In the CDIY segment, a 3% increase in unit volumes was partially offset by a 2% decline in currency. Excluding M&A charges, overall segment profit was flat versus the same quarter last year as cost synergies, productivity projects and volume leverage were offset by inflation, the company said.
“Our CDIY segment continues to benefit from successful new products, such as the DeWalt 20 Volt MAX lithium ion line and the new launch of the corresponding brushless line,” said executive VP and COO James Lorree.
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