LUMBERYARDS

Little change in ‘Improved housing markets’ list

BY Brae Canlen

The list of housing markets that show improvement, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), expanded from 98 to 99 metro regions between February and March 2012.

The NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. The 99 markets on the March index represent a net gain of one from February, with 31 metros being added and 30 markets slipping from the list, due primarily to incremental softening in house prices. Notable new entrants in March include Orlando, Fla.; Rochester, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Austin and San Antonio, Texas. Meanwhile, Anchorage; Iowa City; Washington, D.C.; and Jackson, Miss., all returned to the list as a result of recent revisions in their employment data.

Texas led the pack with 12 entries. Currently 33 states (including the District of Columbia) are represented by at least one market.

"After five consecutive months of solid gains, the March [index] held virtually flat this month at just under 100 metros, while showing a significant amount of transition in terms of markets represented on the list," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "This is consistent with NAHB’s projections for a gradual but patchy recovery in which some month-to-month softening is likely, particularly in places where the measurable gains have been very small. The bottom line is that roughly one quarter of all U.S. metropolitan areas are showing signs that their housing markets have turned the corner, which is a very positive development."

 

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84 Lumber exec honored

BY Brae Canlen

Judy Dinelle, an 84 Lumber contractor sales representative in Asheville, N.C., has been named the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building (PWB) Council “National Member of the Year.”

“Individual members who join our national council directly face some special challenges,” said national PWB chair Alicia Huey. “Without a local council, they are often the voice of women in the industry within their home-builder association. Judy has the respect and recognition to make that voice heard nationally.”

Dinelle earned the award for the tireless leadership she has demonstrated in her profession and local council and community. She is a member of the North Carolina State Home Builders Association, as well as the Asheville, Hendersonville and Haywood County, North Carolina Home Builders Associations.

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Two home builders honored in J.D. Power survey

BY Brae Canlen

David Weekley Homes and Shea Homes were among the 50 companies named as the J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions, based on customer feedback attesting to their service excellence. Brands that receive J.D. Power Customer Service Champion designation are among the top 5% of more than 800 evaluated brands in 20 industries, based on their performance in five key areas: people, presentation, price, process and product.

Among retailers, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops and Kohl’s were honored. No home improvement companies were included on the list.

“Consumer expectations have heightened since the onset of the recession,” said Gina Pingitore, chief research officer at J.D. Power and Associates. “While value is important, consumers want more than simply the lowest price or a product that is just good enough. They expect a superior product that is delivered in a compelling presentation, through fast and easy-to-understand processes that are supported by responsive and concerned people. In addition, the price must be perceived as fair and competitive.”

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