NAHB ranks affordable housing markets
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index has again listed the Indianapolis and Carmel, Ind., area as the most affordable major housing market in the United States.
On a nationwide basis, housing affordability remained well below the levels recorded prior to the price acceleration that accompanied the 2004-2005 housing boom, according to the NAHB.
“The latest HOI indicates that 43.1 percent of new and existing homes that were sold in the United States during this year’s second quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income,” said NAHB President Brian Catalde. “This reflects a marginal decline from the 43.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to such buyers in the first quarter.”
“The data shows that housing affordability generally remains a serious issue even though national average house prices are down from their 2005 highs,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders. “Moreover, the abrupt tightening of lending standards in the subprime sector — a trend that is now bleeding into other sectors of the mortgage market — is having serious impacts on the ability of many families to purchase homes.”
In the nation’s most affordable major housing market of Indianapolis, approximately 87 percent of new and existing homes that were sold during the second quarter of this year were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $63,800. Also near the top of the list for affordable major housing markets were Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
Maintaining its spot at the bottom of the affordability scale for an eleventh consecutive quarter was Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., where just 3 percent of homes sold in the second three months of this year were affordable to families earning the median household income there of $61,700. As usual, Los Angeles shared the bottom of the affordability scale with other major California cities, including Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine as the second least affordable, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City as the third least affordable and Modesto as the fifth least affordable large housing markets in the nation. The fourth least affordable major metropolitan area was New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.
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Class action lawsuit to proceed against Lowe’s
A California state court of appeals has granted class action status to a group of current and former Lowe’s employees suing the retailer for unpaid overtime. The California Appellate Court 2nd District reversed a lower court’s decision, clearing the way for the case to proceed on behalf of hourly workers employed by Lowe’s since Oct. 29, 1997.
The original complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2001, claims that Lowe’s restricted or refused to pay overtime but required employees to work “off the clock” until their assignments were complete. The Los Angeles trial court ruled in 2003 that the case should be adjudicated on behalf of individual plaintiffs. It also denied a motion to compel Lowe’s to provide the names and addresses of all its hourly California employees.
The three-person appellate panel disagreed, granting class action status to that case. The potential number of plaintiffs could exceed 25,000 people, according to court documents.
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RONA spars with Greenpeace over forestry issues
Following a report from environmental group Greenpeace condemning 35 major retailers — including RONA — for buying wood logged from upper Canada’s Boreal Forest, RONA issued a statement saying “sustainable development” has long been a priority of the Canadian home improvement retailer.
“The company has a responsible purchasing policy that applies to all of its products,” RONA said in a statement. “With respect to forest products, the company does not buy any product derived from endangered species and favors the purchase of products that bear Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) as well as ISO 14001 certifications.”
RONA said it has planned to release a “sustainable development plan” in October. The company also said it has been in talks with forest protection groups, including Greenpeace, while developing the plan.
Greenpeace named several other companies, including Toys”R”Us and Best Buy, as being customers of logging and pulp companies that the organization said contribute to “destructive logging” in Canada’s Boreal Forest. The forest is one of the largest intact forest ecosystems in the world.
The Greenpeace report also blames the government of Ontario for protecting less than 9 percent of the forest, and the government of Quebec for protecting less than 5 percent from industrial development.
RONA is one of Canada’s largest distributors and retailers of home improvement products, with 671 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores.
It seems like no one has a
It seems like no one has a sure idea of who's to blame for the logging problem. What I do know is that North America is no longer the powerhouse for home improvement products manufacturing that it use to be. Ontario needs to fix this issue in a timely matter so that North America does not fall further behind. www.sabineshome.com