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Home builder confidence hits four-month low in November

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index remained static at 54 for November, compared with a downwardly revised October reading of the same level.

“Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson. “Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals.”

Meanwhile, the HMI Index regarding current sales conditions was slightly higher (though also static) at 58. Future sales expectations fell one point to 60, and the index for prospective buyer traffic was also down one point to 42.

Regionally, confidence in the Northeast was up one point, down three points in the Midwest, and unchanged in the South and West.

The Housing Market Index is a gauge of builder perceptions regarding single-family home sales, as well as expectations therein for the next six months. Readings above 50 on the scale indicate that a majority of respondents view market conditions as favorable.

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Gallup poll: Holiday spending expectations are puny for 2013

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The latest poll from Gallup suggests that retailers may not get the year-end revenue boost they were anticipating. Americans say they expect to spend an average of $704 this year, an 8.6% decline over last year’s planned spending of $770.

The disparity is even more marked when contrasting October data versus November’s: Just last month, respondents said they were planning on spending $786. This marks the first year shoppers tightened their belts since 2008.

Gallup trend modeling suggests that the new data points to an overall holiday spending increase of 1.7% to 2.4% over 2012.

If all goes as planned according to consumer expectations, only 15% will spend more than they did last year. The majority (57%) plan on spending the same amount, and 26% plan to spend less. However, the 11-point lead over those planning to spend more is the narrowest its been since the pre-recession years. The resulting difference alone suggests an uptick of 5%, says Gallup.

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SHOS gives back to first responders

BY HBSDEALER Staff

As part of its "Salute to Local Heroes" charity campaign, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores has teamed up with the National Volunteer Fire Council to help raise funds for fire departments across the country.

"Increasing budget cuts in fire departments nationwide are making it extremely difficult for firefighters to properly do their job, especially since seven in 10 firefighters are volunteers," said Heather Schafer, executive director of the National Volunteer Fire Council. "Campaigns like ‘Salute to Local Heroes’ are critical for volunteer firehouses to have the necessary resources to perform their jobs safely and effectively while protecting their local communities."

The effort will raise funds for one local fire department per Sears Hometown store, specifically to bolster training efforts, equipment needs, medical treatment, building maintenance and family assistance for first responders.

Customers and employees will be able to make donations at the register between Nov. 23 and Dec. 31, 100% of which will go to the local fire station. 

Craftsman has also signed on to be part of the effort: $2 from each Craftsman Bottle Cap Wrench will automatically go toward the donation.

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