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International home buyers on the rise in Texas

BY HBSDealer Staff

International home buyers are making their mark in the Texas market — and increasingly so.

According to the 2014 Texas International Homebuyers Report by the Texas Association of Realtors, international homebuyers added $11.06 billion to the Texas economy between March 2013 and March 2014 — their highest level in five years.

To put that number in perspective, Texas accounted for 12% of the total $92.2 billion contributed by this demographic to the nationwide economy. That makes Texas the No. 3 state for international home sales.

Additionally, naturalized citizens in Texas are about 12% more likely to own a home than U.S. natives. This makes Texas unique from the rest of the country, where there’s virtually no different in homeownership rates between naturalized and native citizens.

“The Texas housing market is not only strong in sales volume, but in its diversity," said Texas Association of Realtors chairman Dan Hatfield. "The demand for Texas homes stretches around the world. International home buyers increasingly view Texas homes as a good investment, and as our economy has grown, so has the number of international home buyers in our state.”

The majority of international home buyers in Texas hail from Latin America or the Caribbean. Texas is home to more than 65% of U.S. homes purchased by Mexican home buyers.

Overall, international home buyers made up 7% of total U.S. home sales over the 12-month period.

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Mixed results from manufacturers survey

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Asked about current sales levels compared with a year ago, fewer American Hardware Manufacturers Association members said sales were up, according to the latest member survey from the AHMA.

While an impressive 71% of respondents said sales were higher in August versus year-ago levels, that’s down from 77% who said the same in July.

“While the confidence index has declined for two consecutive months, we remain encouraged by the fact that 71% of our responding members report sales in August above year-ago levels,” said Timothy S. Farrell, president and CEO of the AHMA. “With recent reports showing a decline in new-home sales and a reduction in consumer spending, it is understandable that hardware manufacturers have a cautious outlook regarding the prospects for overall economic growth and sales going forward.” 

For August, 24% reported sales were even, and 6% said sales were below year-ago levels.

Looking forward one year, 59% of respondents project sales will be higher, down from 82% who felt that way in July. Thirty-five percent of August respondents project sales will be even one year from now, and 6% project sales will be below current levels.

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Levolor expands its Accordia shade options

BY HBSDealer Staff

Atlanta, Georgia-based Levolor is adding to its Accordia Custom Cellular Shade product offerings, which hit Lowe’s shelves exclusively on Aug. 28 and are due in other nationwide home improvement retail stores Oct. 1.

The Accordia portfolio, which currently spans more than 200 styles, will be expanded further with new color and fabric swatches.

New to the crop are the Heathered and Tree Bark collections, which feature hues such as buttercream, light fog, cherry blossom, marine, amethyst and bayleaf.

"Our wide range of new woven fabrics and colors are perfect for fall or winter home redecorating," said Anne Marie Lisko, director of marketing for Levolor.

Accordia shades are made with a honeycomb design and topped off with Levolor’s Energy Shield technology, which helps decrease energy bills by up to 17%.

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