New-home sales decline in December
Sales of new single-family homes declined 7.0% in December, down from November’s revised rate of 445,000 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000.
The annual story, however, is one of double-digit gains, according to the data released Monday by the Commerce Department. An estimated 428,000 new homes were sold in 2013. That marks a 16.4% increase over the 2012 figure of 368,000.
The news comes shortly after the National Association of Retailers’ existing-home sales report, which showed a slight month-to-month increase in December.
The Northeast produced the slowest sales activity, showing declines of 36.4% compared with the prior month, and declines of 27.6% compared with the prior year. The Midwest experienced the strongest growth trends — up 17.6% for the month, and up 25.0% for the year.
According to Monday’s data, the median sales price of new houses sold in December was $270,200, while the average sales price was $311,400.
HBC acquires Faucet Queen
Cranbury, N.J.-based HBC Home & Hardware Products, the home products distributor formerly known as Howard Berger Co., has acquired the assets of Faucet Queen.
Faucet Queen’s Helping Hand brand of convenience-oriented home hardware is the market leader in serving the food and drug retail trade, the company said. The Faucet Queen business will continue to operate out of the current Vernon Hills, Ill., facility.
“Faucet Queen’s strong market position and record of innovation and service for their customers is a perfect fit with HBC,” stated Donald C. Devine, CEO of HBC Home & Hardware products. “We have watched how their Helping Hand brand has successfully appealed to women in categories that have traditionally been focused on men, and that focus has earned shelf space with the leading companies in food and drug retailing.”
HBC is a division of Hardware Holdings, a Littlejohn & Co. portfolio company. The distributor operates four major DCs in the United States and China. Core categories include home environment products, security and builder’s hardware, plumbing products and paint applicators.
Faucet Queen was founded in 1935. “Combining forces with HBC will add efficiencies in global sourcing and supply chain management that Faucet Queen could not achieve on its own, and the business is now poised to grow,” added Mike Linn CEO of Faucet Queen.
HBC develops, sources and distributes its goods to leading retailers, discount stores, home centers, wholesalers, drug and food chains, catalog companies, municipalities and hardware stores worldwide.