New-home sales rose 5.7% in September
Sales of newly built, single-family homes increased 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 units in September, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. This marks the fastest pace of new-home sales in the past five months.
"Today’s report highlights the gradual improvement in housing market conditions that is becoming evident in certain pockets of the country, as consumers who can surmount very restrictive lending standards to qualify for a favorable mortgage rate seize on this opportunity to buy," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev.
"The latest numbers also reveal that first-time buyers are driving the new-homes market right now, as evidenced by the volume of lower-priced, entry-level homes under contract,” he added. “It’s worth noting that these consumers are very dependent upon federal policies and programs that support homeownership, such as the mortgage interest deduction and low-downpayment mortgage options that have been threatened by recent government proposals."
Regionally, new-home sales registered gains of 11.2% and 9.7% in the South and West, respectively, and declines of 4.2% and 12.2% in the Northeast and Midwest, respectively.
The inventory of new homes for sale held at an all-time record low of 163,000 units in September, which represents a 6.2-month supply at the current sales pace.
"The improved rate of new-home sales in September is on par with NAHB’s forecast for the overall number of sales this year and in keeping with the spotty improvements that our latest builder surveys have highlighted in select markets," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "While 313,000 is still an exceptionally low rate of new-home sales by historic standards, it is an encouraging sign of an anticipated broader recovery over the course of next year, and builders have helped the situation by keeping their inventories of homes for sale very lean in areas where there is an oversupply of existing units."
Tim-Br Marts names new CFO
Tim-Br Marts has appointed John Steen as CFO. A senior financial executive, Steen has operational experience across a range of sectors, primarily in agribusiness/retail, manufacturing, oil and gas, and energy.
Steen, who will be based out of the company’s Calgary, AB office, will report directly to president and CEO Tim Urquhart.
He has held executive roles at a number of organizations, including UFA Co-operative Limited, Ontario Power Authority, and in South Africa at Teves Group.
Born and educated in South Africa, Steen holds a CMA (UK) and CFA (SA) and is a member of Financial Executives International (FEI), Canada, Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK) and the Institute of Administration & Commerce of South Africa (Chartered Company Secretary Branch).
Calgary, Alberta-based Tim-Br Marts is one of Canada’s largest independent lumber, building material and hardware buying groups.
Owens Corning posts record Q3 results
Owens Corning reported third-quarter net earnings of $124 million, compared with net earnings of $58 million in the third quarter of 2010.
Net sales increased 22% to $1.5 billion in the third quarter of 2011, compared with $1.2 billion in the same period last year.
Net earnings for the first nine months were $226 million, compared with $1 billion in the nine-month period of 2010. Net sales for this period totaled $4.1 billion, up 7.9% from $3.8 billion in the year-ago period.
"Owens Corning delivered record earnings performance in the third quarter," said chairman and CEO Mike Thaman. "We continue to benefit from strong execution in an uncertain economy and a resilient portfolio of market-leading businesses.
"The company’s current-year estimate for EBIT is now in the range of $460 million to $490 million, reflecting our expectation that some portion of the storm-related demand for our roofing products will materialize in 2012, as well as a moderated view of growth in the composites market in 2011," Thaman added. "At the midpoint of this EBIT range, we anticipate delivering a second consecutive year of Adjusted EPS growth of nearly 40%."