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Material honors for Perennial Wood

BY Ken Clark

Perennial Wood received honorable mention for a MEDIUM Award for Material of the Year from Material ConneXion.

The award recognizes materials that demonstrate outstanding technological innovation and the potential to make a significant contribution to the advancement of design, industry, society and the economy.

Perennial Wood, described as real wood modified to endure nature’s harshest elements, received the award at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.

“We are honored to be selected among the best new materials by Material ConneXion, experts in material science and specifications,” said Deborah Baum Crain, director of innovation projects for Perennial Wood. “Now more than ever, manufacturers are looking to incorporate longer-lasting, high-quality and sustainable materials into their products. For outdoor applications, whether furniture, windows, doors, siding or trim, Perennial Wood offers manufacturers a practical alternative to composite, plastic and tropical hardwood materials.”

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Freddie Mac: Housing market showing recovery

BY Brae Canlen

First-quarter economic data from the office of the chief economist at Freddie Mac showed a 2.2% growth rate, slower than the previous quarter, but better than three of the past four quarters. The slower growth primarily reflected less housing inventory accumulation and a dip in nonresidential construction. Personal consumption expenditures grew at a 15.3% annual rate, reflecting continuing strength in consumer durables (such as cars and kitchen appliances). Also, residential fixed investment (RFI) added 0.4 percentage points to the quarter’s economic growth.

RFI, which primarily reflects new housing construction and remodeling expenses, has been a net positive contributor to growth for four straight quarters, with the latest quarter providing the biggest boost in nearly two years. Multi-family rental-apartment starts and existing-home remodeling have triggered the RFI growth. Housing starts were up in April, and have brought the monthly average over the first four months of 2012 to 713,500, up 24 from the same period a year ago. Nonetheless, RFI remains weak for this stage of the economic recovery compared with previous business cycles.

The Freddie Mac House Price Index (FMHPI) for the first three months of this year suggested that home values may be at or near their bottom in many markets. Comparing March 2012 with December 2011 results at the state level, the index was up at least 0.5% in 13 states, and about flat (plus or minus 0.5% in nine states, but down at least 0.5% in 28 states. With the lowest fixed-rate mortgage rates in more than 60 years, the extraordinary home-buyer affordability in many areas should translate into a sales pickup in 2012 relative to last year.

Despite some signs that the housing market may have bottomed, homeownership rates have continued to move lower through the first quarter. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the national ownership rate dropped 0.5 percentage points to 65.5% (seasonally adjusted) during the quarter, down from a peak of 69.4% in the second quarter of 2004 and back to a level last seen in 1997. Some additional slippage in the homeowner rate is likely as more than 2 million homes remain in foreclosure proceedings nationwide. 

In the same release, Census also reported that vacancy rates for both for-rent and for-sale homes declined further in the first quarter — signs that the rental market continues to tighten and that excess vacant homes are being absorbed by household formations. Homeowner vacancy rates in one-family houses dipped to their lowest rate in six years, and rental vacancy rates for one-family houses fell to their lowest in almost nine years.

Another important first-quarter metric concerned the refinance boom. Although this may not be good news for home improvement retailers, homeowners who refinance are typically not using the opportunity to embark on home renovation projects. Freddie Mac’s first-quarter refinance activity reports found that about four of five borrowers who refinanced their mortgages either paid down their balance or kept it about the same. Further, more than 95% of refinancers in the conforming market chose fixed-rate loans, and about one in three shortened their term from 30 years to 20 or 15 years on their new loan.

“Taken together,” the report concluded, “the first-quarter data releases provide an encouraging sign for both the macroeconomy and the housing recovery. While not uniformly positive, for the most part, the data trend in the right direction.” 

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E.grant says:
May-25-2012 11:54 am

This is not going on across
This is not going on across the country. You are just like the white house spreading the wrong message. The housing industry still has thousands of homes upside down, so why lie to the general public???

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Armed with iPads, BMC rolls out BMC 2 Go

BY Ken Clark

Boise, Idaho-based BMC is rolling out a suite of enterprise mobile apps called “BMC 2 Go” that will transform sales and operations business processes, making employees more mobile, productive and effective through high-value Apple iPhone and iPad applications.

Boston-based tech firm Apperian partnered with BMC to provide its Enterprise App Services Environment (EASE) as the iOS app management platform to deploy and manage mobile applications for its nationwide network of sales and operations personnel.

The mobile strategy is described as “groundbreaking” by Malini Balakrishnan, BMC’s chief information officer and VP process optimization.

“BMC 2 Go will empower our people in the field,” Balakrishnan said. “As employees visit job sites, they will be able to access data and documents — on demand — that live behind our firewall. This will allow them to share valuable, proprietary content like videos and PDFs of different styles and brands of building products, which will enable customers to make important buying decisions in real time.” 

BMC 2 Go will give builders and their buyers access to content that will help them visualize the finished project before or during construction.

“Our groundbreaking interactive tool is an industry first, and further distinguishes BMC’s products and services on the competitive landscape by making the buying process that much more seamless for our customers,” Balakrishnan said.

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