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Housing affordability climbs to highest level in four years

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Decreasing home prices and low-level interest rates have produced the highest number of potential home buyers nationwide who can afford to buy new and existing homes in more than four years, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In the third quarter, 56.1 percent of new and existing homes that were sold were affordable to families earning the national median income of $61,500, according to the HOI. This compares to 40.4 percent of families who could afford homes at the peak of the housing boom.

“If there is a silver lining to this crisis, it would be that some housing markets have become more affordable with a larger inventory to choose from,” said NAHB chairman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. “But this is undeniably a crisis, and Congress needs to act on housing stimulus to get the market moving again.”

The two most affordable housing markets in the country during the third quarter were Indianapolis and Youngstown, Ohio. In both markets, 91.0 percent of homes sold were affordable to families earning the areas’ median household incomes of $65,100 in Indianapolis and $52,000 in Youngstown.

Also near the top Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.; Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.

Springfield, Ohio, a smaller metro market, outranked all others — 92.9 percent of all homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning that area’s median household income of $54,500.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., was the least affordable housing market for the second consecutive quarter. In New York, 10.6 percent of new and existing homes sold during the third quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median family income of $63,000.

Other metro areas at the bottom of the list included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; and Miami-Miami Beach- Kendall, Fla.

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Do it Best names education services coordinator

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Dave Heffley was recently named education services coordinator for Do it Best, the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op announced.

In this position, Heffley will coordinate promotional materials and special events for the co-op’s buying markets and will be responsible for the coordination of educational classes and materials to increase the awareness of and participation in Do it Best retail solutions.

Heffley joined Do it Best in 1994 as an account specialist and installer for the Retail Data Processing support department. Prior to that, he was a sales representative with John Hancock Insurance and with Monroe Systems.

In addition, Heffley has been actively involved with Do it Best’s employee board, organizing special events and activities for corporate office employees.

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Ainsworth reports Q3 loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Vancouver, B.C.-based forest products company Ainsworth Lumber reported a net loss of C$42.7 million (US$34.6 million) for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to a net loss of C$37.2 million (US$30.2 million) for the same period last year.

Sales for the quarter stood at C$115.3 million (US$93.5 million), down 24 percent from C$150.8 million (US$122.2 million) in the year-ago period. According to the company, reduced shipment volumes due to production curtailments led to the decrease in sales.

Year to date, the company reported a net loss of C$165.1 million (US$133.7 million), a C$133.1 million increase in losses from the same period in 2007.

In July, Ainsworth completed a financial recapitalization, resulting in the “realignment of equity and non-equity interests, significant de-leveraging of the balance sheet and a strengthened liquidity position.” Following the recapitalization, the company’s management team moved to lower overhead costs with a decrease in staff, office space and administrative costs.

Third-quarter OSB shipments were 481,354 msf , down 25 percent from the same period last year, due to decreased customer demand and plant closures. The company permanently closed its Grand Rapids, Minn., OSB mill and indefinitely curtailed production at two other northern Minnesota-based OSB mills in Cook and Bemidji.

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