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NAR: home prices should recover in 2008

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has released predictions for the coming year of existing home sales, voicing expectations prices will recover in 2008.

The NAR forecast existing home sales will total 6.11 million in 2007, followed by higher sales of 6.37 million in 2008. Those figures both are lower than the 6.48 million existing home sales recorded last year.

New home sales are projected at 865,000 for 2007 and 878,000 in 2008, also a drop from the 1.05 million new home sales recorded last year. Housing starts are expected to remain relatively flat at 1.43 million in 2007 and 1.44 million in 2008, compared with 1.8 million last year.

Existing home prices were forecast to rise 1.8 percent to a median of $222,700 in 2008 compared with $218,800 this year. As for new homes, prices are expected to rise 2.2 percent to $245,400 in 2008 from $240,100 in 2007.

“Buyers now have an overwhelming advantage given the wide selection of homes available in many markets,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.  “But with profit margins coming under pressure, home builders will limit new construction well into 2008.  This should help the overall inventory level to move steadily into a more balanced state.”

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Fastenal net earnings up in Q2

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fastenal, the chain of industrial and construction supply stores, saw net earnings rise 17 percent to $60.3 million from $51.5 million in last year’s second quarter.

Net sales totaled $519.7 million, an increase of 13.3 percent over $458.8 million last year.

The company reiterated its intention to focus less on growing stores, which it called the “primary growth driver” in previous years, and more on adding outside sales personnel into existing stores.

Additionally, Fastenal said rising fuel costs in the second quarter partially cut into profit.

Winona, Minn.-based Fastenal owns and operates 2,000 stores in 50 states.

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Executive appointment at Tim-Br Marts

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian buying group Tim-Br Marts has hired Jacques Deschnes to the new position of building products category manager.

Deschnes will oversee a number of key building material programs, including siding, roofing, insulation and drywall.

Prior to Tim-Br Marts, Deschnes worked as a purchasing agent in the manufacturing and modular home building industries. Fluent in French, he will serve as a liaison with Tim-Br Marts dealers and suppliers in Quebec.

The buying group includes independent retailers, commercial dealers and manufacturers in the Canadian home-improvement industry. Tim-Br Marts represents more than 600 member locations across Canada, with $2 billion in annual purchases and more than $3.4 billion in retail sales.

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