GE introduces line of Internet-enabled ranges
The new Profile series of freestanding ranges from GE will allow homeowners to turn the oven on in between games of Candy Crush, among other things.
The Wi-Fi-enabled series of gas and electric ranges can be controlled remotely by the GE Brillion smartphone app.
“We’re expanding our line of connected appliances to make life easier while you’re on the go,” GE Product Manager Jonathan Sprigler said. “Consumers expect more things to be accessible through their phones, and GE is enabling them to have the control they want.”
This is the second series of appliances that GE has introduced with Wi-Fi capabilities after it rolled out its internet-enabled wall oven in 2013.
In addition to the hi-tech capabilities, the ranges also feature notification lighting that lets owners know when the oven has preheated, as well as tri-ring electric burners, a warming drawer and a built-in temperature gauge for meat. The ranges will retail for $1,599 and $2,099.
Royal Building Products unveils new Altitude Window series
Royal Building Products introduced a new series of windows this week. The Altitude commercial window series meet the classification to be used in commercial, mid-rise apartment and institutional products. For door and window makers, this means the potential to expand into that market.
“Window and door manufacturers are looking for innovative technology to meet strict industry standards … code requirements,” Chris Bitsakis, Royal Building Products’ VP and GM of window and door profiles, said. “Our Altitude Window meets these requirements as well as commercial market needs for installation flexibility, performance and architectural design.”
The Woodbridge, Ontario-based company’s Altitude windows can be mulled, and comes in styles like hopper, casement and awning. The window’s core insulation connects to the extruded aluminum that covers its exposed surface. They meet Energy Star Zone D requirements and are LEED certified for use in homes.
Existing-home sales continue rise
July saw the highest level of existing-home sales for the entire year of 2014 so far, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.
This is up 2.4% from June’s downwardly revised rate of 5.03 million. However, sales are still 4.3% below last July’s 5.38 million-unit level (also that year’s peak).
In terms of single-family homes, sales were up 2.7% on a monthly basis to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.55 million. This is still 4.2% below last year’s pace.
The NAR pointed to a significant decline in distressed sales and a strengthening economy, riding on the back of job growth and improving inventory. However, affordability may take a hit in the near future, as median family incomes are not rising as quickly as prices.
“The number of houses for sale is higher than a year ago and tamer price increases are giving prospective buyers less hesitation about entering the market,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “More people are buying homes compared to earlier in the year and this trend should continue with interest rates remaining low and apartment rents on the rise.”
The median existing-home price was up 4.9% year-over-year to $222,900; for single-family homes, that number was $223,900 (up 5.1%).
Total housing inventory was up 3.5% to 2.37 million existing homes for sale, representing a 5.5-month supply.
Distressed homes were finally below the double-digit mark, accounting for 9% of July sales (compared to 15% last year).
“To put it in perspective, distressed sales represented an average of 36% of sales during all of 2009,” said Yun. “Fast-forward to today and rising home values are helping owners recover equity and strong job creation are assisting those who may have fallen behind on their mortgage due to unemployment or underemployment.”