NAHB weighs in on starts statistics
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) believes residential construction would be stronger if not for tight lending conditions and distressed property sales.
While the rate of February building permits were at their highest rate since October 2008, the total housing starts figure released yesterday was down 1.1% from January.
“Builders are reporting increased buyer interest and are expecting demand for new homes to improve in the coming months, but continue to exercise caution regarding new projects until that interest translates into more signed sales contracts,” noted Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “This process is certainly being slowed by today’s overly tight lending conditions, the difficulty of obtaining accurate appraisals on new construction and competition from distressed properties that can make it tough for prospective new-home buyers to sell an existing home.”
“NAHB’s most recent builder surveys have shown steady improvement in builder expectations for the next six months, and today’s report reflects that optimism in the permit numbers, which are up across the board and are typically the most statistically reliable data,” noted NAHB chief economist David Crowe. “At the same time, we believe that January’s exceptionally good weather was a factor in pulling some single-family starts activity forward that might otherwise have occurred in February.”
Following four consecutive months of gains, single-family starts declined 9.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 457,000 units in February. Meanwhile, multi-family starts, which tend to display greater volatility from month to month, gained 21.1% to a 241,000-unit rate — their fastest pace since November 2011.
Obit: President of Pacific Wood Preserving Companies
Dick Jackson, president and CEO of Pacific Wood Preserving Companies, died after a long battle with cancer, according to the Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) newsletter.
The Pacific Wood Preserving Companies are one of the largest capacity wood products companies in the country, with treating plants in Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona, as well as a manufacturing facility in Texas. Major products include treated wood utility poles, railroad ties, crane mats, fire-retardant treated wood and preservative-treated wood for construction.
ALSC upgrades standards for another wood grade
Following its decision last January to implement new design values for visually graded No.2 and lower grades of 2×4 Southern Pine, the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) has approved new standards for No.2, 2×4 Dense and NonDense grades. The new size category includes material that is 2 ins. to 4 ins. thick and 2 ins. to 4 ins. wide. The effective date is June 1, 2012.
As a point of clarification, the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) released the following statement: “The new design values for No.2 Dense and No.2 NonDense apply only to Southern Pine lumber,” said Cathy Kaake, senior director of engineered and framing markets for SFPA. “Mixed Southern Pine does not have published Dense and NonDense grades.”