New home sales jump 17.5% in December
Sales of new single-family houses in December 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 329,000, up 17.5% from the November pace of 280,000.
The December estimate, released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is the highest since April 2010. That month saw a relative frenzy of buying as the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers expired April 30.
The December new home sales figure is also 7.6% below the December 2009 estimate of 356,000.
According to the government report, which was issued Wednesday, the median sales price of new houses sold in December 2010 was $241,500; the average sales price was $291,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 190,000. This represents a supply of 6.9 months at the current sales rate.
On a regional basis, the strongest gains appeared in the West, where sales increased 71.9% compared to last month, and increased 32.5% compared to December 2009. The Northeast was less fortunate: down 5.0% compared to last month, and down 50.0% compared to the same month last year.
Royal announces promotions in building products division
Royal Group, a manufacturer of decking, trim, pipe and other building materials, has announced three new promotions in its building products division.
Adrien Pilon was named general manager of distribution, where he assumes responsibility for Royal’s Boncor and residential divisions. Prior to joining Royal Group, he was VP and general manager with Emco Corp.
Peter Orebaugh was named business director of Royal Outdoor Products. Before joining Royal Group, Orebaugh was with First Florida Cos., a private equity firm where he was a VP. Prior to that, Orebaugh was divisional VP operations-fabricated products and president of outdoor technologies with Jancor, a manufacturer of vinyl fence, deck and railing products.
Doug Kissick was named marketing director for building products and outdoor products, a job he assumed in November 2010. He has served in senior marketing roles at Owens Corning, BPB Gypsum (Saint-Gobain), and USG.
Based in Woodbridge, Ontario, Royal Group is a subsidiary of Georgia Gulf Corp., which makes a variety of remodeling and new construction products, including siding, deck, fence and rail, trim and moldings, pipe and fittings, and window and door profiles.
USG narrows loss in fourth quarter
Building products giant USG Corp. posted sales of $696 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $720 million in the same quarter last year.
USG narrowed its loss in the fourth quarter, posting a net loss of $121 million for the three months, compared to a loss of $598 million in the same period last year.
“While 2011 is likely to be another difficult year, we think the worst may be behind us,” said James S. Metcalf, president and CEO. “There is still a high degree of uncertainty about the shape and timing of the recovery, but we know that our operating strategies are working and that the fundamentals underlying our core businesses are solid.”
The company recorded full year 2010 net sales of $2.94 billion, down from $3.24 billion in 2009. The loss for the year was $405 million, compared to a 2009 loss of $787 million.
Metcalf explained adjusted operating results improved in a declining U.S. market. He added a note of optimism.
“We remain optimistic about the long-term," he said. "Basic demographics, the aging domestic housing stock, and a general economic recovery in the U.S. will ultimately stimulate demand for our products. The company is poised to capture the significant operating leverage in our business when market demand rebounds from the historic lows experienced recently.”