Housing starts plummet in April
Housing starts fell back below a million. In fact, they’re well below a million.
Data released Thursday morning by the Commerce Department shows total housing starts for April at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000, down 16.5% from the March figure.
Analysts expected a decline — but not that much. Expectations were for an SAAR of about 970,000.
Things weren’t that much better in the single-family metric, which showed April starts at a rate of 610,000, down 2.1% from the March rate.
Compared to a year ago, total housing starts were up 13.1%.
Building permits showed improvement — up 14.3% to a rate of 1.02 million.
Alliance Lumber acquires truss company
Phoenix-based Alliance Lumber of Arizona completed the acquisition of Central Arizona Truss (CAT). CAT, also based in Phoenix, designs and manufactures trusses for custom homes, remodels and additions in the Arizona and Southern California areas.
“The transaction was appealing to us because of the longstanding relationships we have with the Alliance team,” said Jeff Popour, former co-owner of CAT. “I know them and I trust them. I have maintained a relationship with several members of the management team for over 20 years. I have tremendous respect for what they have done in the market and the industry.”
Popour and his partners, Thomas Irvin and Richard Flores, bought CAT from Popour’s father and uncle in 2003, and the three of them operated the business until the recent transaction. CAT and Alliance Truss will now both market under Alliance Central Arizona Truss with Popour serving as President and Flores overseeing operations.
Terms of the deal were not released.
“Momentum is critical in this business and CAT positions us well to support the component growth coming. Jeff and his team have a great reputation in the market and have performed throughout the downturn. Ultimately we both felt we would be most successful playing for the same team.” said True Carr, Managing Partner of Alliance. “This strategic investment provides great opportunity for us and has further affirmed that CORNERSTONE Building Alliance was an ideal partner for us.”
In September, 2012 Cornerstone Building Alliance, based in Raleigh, N.C., acquired a majority interest in Alliance. Cornerstone CEO Steve Short added, “As a leading distributor in one of the top housing markets in the nation, Alliance is an excellent platform company for us in Arizona. Central Arizona Truss is a business that nicely complements Alliance and further enhances our component capabilities.”
Eagle Materials reports big gains for the fiscal year
Dallas-based building materials manufacturer and distributor Eagle Materials reported big sales and earnings gains for the fiscal year ended March 31.
The maker and distributor of cement, gypsum wallboard and other materials reported full year revenues of $642.6 million, an increase of 30%. Net earnings for the year were $57.7 million, up from $18.7 million a year ago.
Fiscal 2013 operating earnings from gypsum wallboard and paperboard were $94.9 million, an increase of 308% compared to fiscal 2012, the company said. Revenues from gypsum wallboard and paperboard were $382.1 million for fiscal 2013, 29% higher than last year’s revenues.
Eagle operates 40 facilities across the U.S.
Fourth quarter revenues increased 36% to $159.1 million. Net income for the quarter declined 13% to $7.8 million.
Fourth quarter sales volumes improved across all businesses, reflecting improving construction fundamentals in the US and the addition of recent acquisitions, the company said.
The compay also saw prices improve in all businesses other than paperboard. Gypsum Wallboard experienced the most significant improvement, with an increase in average net sales prices of 23% as compared with the prior year’s fourth quarter.