GAF sponsors Made-in-America Home project
Last fall, Montana builder Anders Lewendal began work on “The All-American Home,” gaining national recognition in the media and building industry. An economist-turned-builder, Lewendal estimated that if every builder used just 5% more American-made products, they would create more than 200,000 jobs — a number that ABC News reported as being confirmed by The Boston Consulting Group.
Now, T.E. Jones of Vintage Homes, a home-building company in Chesapeake, Va., has taken this concept a step further. He intends to create a home constructed entirely of American-made products — everything from the roof to the furniture. “It’s our way of trying to keep this movement alive and create jobs,” Jones said. “A lot of people think it can’t be done. We’re proving that it can.”
Jones’ home site in Chesapeake’s Culpepper Landing community will host a Tidewater Builders Association (TBA) membership forum on Friday, May 4 at noon to promote the “Buy American” message, and Lewendal will be a featured speaker.
The event is sponsored by New Jersey-based GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. “As an American-owned company with 26 plants across the country, we are so pleased to be participating in this event,” said Paul Bromfield, GAF’s senior VP marketing.
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Mill Creek to expand in Wichita
Tulsa, Okla.-based Mill Creek has plans to open a showroom, door shop and truss manufacturing plant in northern Wichita, Kan., according to an article in the Wichita Eagle.
Jeff Dunn, Mill Creek’s president, told the newspaper he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the city and wants to position the company for the inevitable upturn in new-home building.
“In the markets we’re in, we’re seeing modest growth over the last couple of years, and that’s a lot better than where we’ve come from,” Dunn said.
Mill Creek Lumber & Supply has leased 37,000 sq. ft. of a larger facility and plans to open on July 1, the report said. The expansion includes the transfer of about 16 employees from Mill Creek’s Belle Plaine truss shop, which will be closed. Additional personnel will also be hired.
Mill Creek operates 36 locations in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The company sells lumber and building materials, flooring, kitchen and bath, and other home improvements products.
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Case-Shiller index hits new lows
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, a leading indicator of U.S. housing prices, showed annual declines of 3.6% and 3.5% for the 10- and 20-city composites, respectively, for February 2012. This is a new low for February, which has not seen such levels since 2002. But the decline was less steep than in previous months, when it recorded a 3.9% drop in January and a 4.1% drop in December in year-over-year figures.
In addition to the two composites, 15 of the 20 MSAs posted better annual returns in February compared with January. Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit fared worse in February, and Washington, D.C.’s rate remained unchanged.
Nine MSAs and both the 15 and 20-city composites posted new lows as of February 2012. This was the fifth consecutive month of double-digit negative returns for Atlanta and the lowest annual return in its 20-year history. Five of the 20 MSAs saw positive annual returns — Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. Phoenix, which is one of the cities that fared the worst during the crisis, has now posted two consecutive months of positive annual returns and five consecutive positive monthly returns. However, it is still down 54.2% from its peak.
“While there might be pieces of good news in this report, such as some improvement in many annual rates of return, February 2012 data confirm that, broadly speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices. “Nine MSAs — Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, New York, Portland, Seattle and Tampa — and both composites hit new post-crisis lows. Atlanta continued its downward spiral, posting its lowest annual rate of decline in the 20-year history of the index at -17.3%. The 10-city composite declined 3.6%, and the 20-city was down 3.5% compared with February 2011.”
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