New-home sales continue to grow
Sales of new single-family houses in July 2012 rose 3.6% over the previous month, with a seasonally adjusted estimate of 372,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This compares with a July 2011 estimate of 297,000, a jump of 25.3%.
The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2012 was $224,200; the average sales price was $263,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of July was 142,000, a record low. This represents a supply of 4.6 months at the current sales rate.
Sales were up in the Northeast and Midwest by 76.5% and 7.7%, respectively. In the South, new-home sales dropped 1.6% in month-over-month figures. In the West, the sales decline was 0.9%.
Quikrete announces ‘What America’s Made Of’ winners
Quikrete, a manufacturer of packaged concrete products for the building and home improvement markets, has announced the six winners of the Quikrete “What America’s Made Of” sweepstakes. The winners, who entered the contest at DannyLipford.com, each received a copy of the "Quikrete Guide to Concrete" book and up to $599 in Quikrete products to help build a patio, BBQ fire pit, walkway or outdoor kitchen.
The winners are:
• Wendy Langhoff, Kimball, Mich.
• Gregory Williams, Cincinnati
• Ronni Fox, Buffalo, N.Y.
• Mike Perkins, Phoenix
• Joy Bennett, Harlingen, Texas
• Patio — Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix, Cure & Seal and Liquid Color
• BBQ Fire Pit Kit — Pavestone blocks, caps, insert ring, grate, sand and construction adhesive
• Walkway — WalkMaker Form, Crack-Resistant Concrete Mix, Liquid Color, PowerLoc and Jointing Sand
• Outdoor Kitchen — Mason Mix, QuikWall, Countertop Mix, Liquid Color, Cure & Seal and Guide to Concrete book
Rail shipments of lumber on the increase
Union Pacific Corp. is pulling rail cars from storage for the first time in four years to haul lumber for home builders, according to a Bloomberg report.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that North American rail carloads of lumber and wood products have risen 10% through the end of July when compared with the same period in 2011.
In its latest weekly rail traffic report, dated Aug. 16, the AAR reported that 10 of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with lumber and wood products up 19.8%, outpaced only by petroleum products at a 44.4% increase.
The previous week’s report, on Aug. 9, showed a 29% rise for lumber and wood products compared with the previous year. Petroleum products rose 56.3%.
Warren Buffet’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe hauled 10.7% more lumber and wood products in the first half of this year than a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. The housing-market trend that’s boosted Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC)’s lumber business by 6% is “encouraging,” Donald Seale, chief marketing officer of the Norfolk, Va., company, said in a July 24 conference call with analysts. Clarence Gooden, CSX executive VP sales and marketing, projected a “continued recovery” in building materials on a July 18 earnings call, Bloomberg reported.
Economists speculate that builders may be stockpiling lumber, given the volumes shipped versus the number of housing starts. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas president Richard Fisher told reporters on June 28 that the “numbers would tell you we’d have some 700,000-plus homes built this year.” He observed that the recovery process is a slow one, adding: “I do think the housing market has bottomed out.”