LUMBERYARDS

Multi-family housing trend gains strength

BY Brae Canlen

Improvement in the multi-family housing market continues, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which compiles a quarterly Multifamily Production Index (MPI). The index recorded its third consecutive increase in the first three months of 2011, according to the NAHB, moving from 40.8 in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 41.7 in the first quarter of 2011.

The MPI tracks multi-family housing industry sentiment on a scale of 0 to 100.

The index is based on three key elements: construction of low-rent units, construction of market-rate-rent units and construction of "for sale" units. The index and all of its components are scaled so that any number over 50 indicates that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

"Multi-family continues to be one of the brighter spots in housing," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "Not only is the overall index on the rise, the market-rate rental component has improved dramatically. In the first quarter, the market-rate rental component was 60.5, the highest level in more than five years."

Although the increase is cause for optimism, the multi-family market still faces significant challenges, Crowe said. "There is considerable pent-up demand, but the ongoing crisis in funding for new construction means that developers are limited in their ability to meet that demand."

The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multi-family housing industry’s perception of vacancies, increased slightly from 33.3 in the fourth quarter of last year to 35.0 in the first quarter of 2011. With the MVI, lower numbers indicate fewer vacancies.

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Beazer appoints CEO, VP and CFO

BY HBSDealer Staff

Atlanta-based Beazer Homes has named Allan Merrill as president and CEO. He has also been elected to the board of directors. Robert (Bob) Salomon has been appointed executive VP and CFO.

Merrill succeeds Ian J. McCarthy, who is leaving the company and has resigned from the board of directors. He has more than 20 years of experience in the home-building and residential real estate industries in various executive positions. Merrill has been Beazer’s chief financial officer for the past four years. Prior to joining the home builder, he held leadership roles with Move Inc. Previously he worked for Dillon Read & Co. and its successors, including UBS.

Salomon has more than 25 years of financial management experience, including more than 19 years in the home-building industry. He joined Beazer Homes in 2008 as the chief accounting officer. Prior to joining Beazer, he was chief financial officer and treasurer of Ashton Woods Homes and served with MDC Holdings in various accounting and finance roles.

"We are pleased that Allan and Bob have accepted these appointments. Both possess many years of industry experience and have demonstrated a commitment to the success of our stakeholders,” said Brian Beazer, the company’s chairman.

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Floor tile manufacturer finds use for old drywall

BY Brae Canlen

Mannington Mills, a 96-year-old flooring company headquartered in Salem, N.J., has found a way to incorporate vinyl tile scraps and recycled drywall into its manufacturing process in an effort to generate less waste, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The family owned company, now operated by fourth-generation chairman Keith Campbell, uses 190 lbs. of recycled materials in their products for every 100 lbs. of waste generated through their manufacturing, according to the article.

The powered drywall comes from demolition and construction sites and replaces limestone at the base of tiles. Recycled paper is used on the backs of vinyl flooring. Vinyl scraps are also ground up and reused. The company has received several awards from local and state environmental groups.

Mannington has factories and warehouses in six cities across the United States, and produces resilient, laminate, hardwood, porcelain and ceramic tiles for the residential and commercial markets, as well as commercial carpet and rubber flooring.

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