IKEA to enter Denver
IKEA will open its first store in Colorado this summer with a Denver area location in Centennial, Colo. The grand opening is set for July 27, much earlier than originally planned due to the fast pace of construction and “timely reviews by local authorities,” according to the home furnishings retailer.
The 415,000 sq. ft. store is being built on 13.5 acres. In addition to solar panels on the roof, the Denver location will be IKEA’s first store to integrate a geothermal component as part of its heating/cooling system.
Case Shiller reports home prices decline, again
The S&P/Case Shiller Index, a bellwether for the new housing market, has reported that home prices for the month of February 2011 continue to fall from their year-ago levels but remain slightly above the April 2009 bottom point.
The 10-City and 20-City composites fell 2.6% and 3.3% respectively from their February 2010 levels. Washington D.C. was the only market to post a year-over-year gain with an annual growth rate of 2.7%.
Ten of the 11 cities that made new lows in January 2011 saw new lows again in February 2011. Detroit avoided another new low, managing a 1.0% increase in February over January, the only city with a positive monthly change.
In month-over-month comparisons, February’s 10-City and 20-City composites were both down 1.1% from their January 2011 levels. Nineteen of the 20 MSAs and both the 10-City and 20-City composite fell in February versus January. Of these, 14 MSAs and both composites posted negative monthly returns for more than six consecutive months. With the February 2011 report, 11 of the 20 MSAs and both composites are down by more than 1% compared to their January levels.
“There is very little, if any, good news about housing,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s. “Prices continue to weaken, while trends in sales and construction are disappointing. ”He described the 20-City Composite as “within a hair’s breadth of a double dip.”
Atlanta, Cleveland and Las Vegas join Detroit as cities with home prices below their 2000 levels, according to Blitzer, and Phoenix is barely above its January 2000 level after a new index low. The one positive is Washington D.C. with a positive annual growth rate of 2.7%, and home prices more than 80% over its January 2000 level.
Confidence rises slightly, says Conference Board
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased slightly to 65.4 in April, up from 63.8 in March, and up from 57.7 in April 2010.
"Consumers’ short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing. Inflation expectations, which had spiked, retreated somewhat in April," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Although confidence remains weak, consumers’ assessment of current conditions gained ground for the seventh straight month, a sign that the economic recovery continues.”
The Present Situation Index increased to 39.6, up from 37.5.
While those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months declined to 18.8% from 20.8%, those anticipating business conditions to worsen decreased to 14.2% from 15.5%.