NAHB on starts: ‘A degree of optimism’
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) described the 3.9% increase in nationwide housing starts as consistent with low inventory of unsold new homes.
"Builders are very cautiously adding to their diminished inventories in preparation for the spring buying season and an anticipated modest revival in buyer demand when the economy shows more signs of improvement," said Bob Jones, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "That said, we are still looking at a very low level of housing production, due largely to builders’ inability to obtain construction financing."
On Thursday morning, the Commerce Department reported November starts at a pace of 555,000, and single-family starts at a pace of 465,000.
"The modest increase in single-family starts and permits in November is consistent with a very low inventory of unsold new homes, and our member surveys that have shown a degree of optimism among builders with regard to sales expectations in the next six months," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "However, builders continue to find it extremely difficult to obtain credit for acquisition, development and construction activities, and this is weighing on their ability to initiate viable new projects that could generate much-needed job growth."
The 3.9% gain in overall housing starts this November was due entirely to a 6.9% increase to a 465,000 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate of new-home production on the single-family side. Meanwhile, multi-family housing starts declined 9.1% to a 90,000-unit rate.
Owens Corning appoints new executives
Owens Corning has named two new executives to lead its building materials and composites divisions, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Chuck Dana has been appointed group president, building materials, and Arnaud Genis has been appointed group president, composites, succeeding Dana. These changes are effective immediately.
Karel Czanderna, currently the group president of the building materials group, has resigned and will leave the company following a transition period.
Dana, 55, joined Owens Corning in 1996. He has led the company’s global composites business since 2002, and completed the acquisition of the Saint-Gobain reinforcements and composite fabrics business in 2007.
Genis, 46, comes to the role of composites group president from his previous position of VP and managing director, composites Europe. Genis has been in his current role since the acquisition of the Saint-Gobain reinforcements and composite fabrics business in 2007. Prior to the acquisition, he was president of the global reinforcements and textile solutions business.
Housing starts are up, but not much
After a disturbingly disappointing residential construction tally for October, the Department of Commerce’s housing start report for November saw an uptick in activity, but not nearly enough to celebrate.
November housing starts, expressed as a seasonally adjusted annual rate, increased to 555,000 in November. That’s up 3.9% from 534,000 in October, but November’s rate is down 5.8% from November 2009, which was until today the lowest November number on record.
The story for single-family starts was similar — ahead of last month, but below last year’s pace. The government data released Thursday morning showed single-family housing starts in November were at a rate of 465,000 — 6.9% above October’s revised figure, but below November 2009’s pace of 504,000.
Building permits declined 4.0% compared to October, and declined 14.7% compared to the November 2009 estimate.
On a regional basis, the Northeast led the nation in positive numbers. Compared with last year, total starts and single-family starts increased 19.7% and 19.1%, respectively. On a month to month basis, Northeastern starts declined slightly.
In the Midwest, total and single-family starts increased 15.8% and 15.1%, respectively, compared with October.
On the negative end of the regional spectrum, single-family starts in the West declined 23.6% compared with November 2009.