New home sales see slight increase
The United States Commerce Department reported new home sales for October at 728,000 units, up 1.7 percent from September’s sales of 716,000 but down 23.5 percent from the October 2006 figure of 952,000.
“The progressive tightening of mortgage lending conditions during 2007 has been the major factor behind the setback in home sales this year,” said David Seiders, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “NAHB expects home sales to begin a gradual recovery in the early part of 2008.”
The Commerce Department also reported the median sales price for new homes in October was $217,800, while the average sales price was $305,800.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of October was 516,000, an 8.5 month supply at the current sales rate.
The regional patterns of new home sales in October were mixed. New home sales increased 1.8 percent in the Northeast, 14.2 percent in the Midwest and 6.8 percent in the South. Sales were down by 15.7 percent in the West. All regions but the Northeast were down substantially on a year-over-year basis, according to the NAHB.
Palfinger names eastern sales manager
Palfinger North America has named a new eastern sales manager for Crayler truck-mounted forklifts, the Niagara Falls, Ontario-based company announced Nov. 29.
Tom Zwickle brings to the company more than 10 years experience in the area of truck-mounted forklifts and equipment. He joins Palfinger’s expanding North American sales force and will provide eastern markets with the support and service needed to continue to grow in this expanding market, the company said.
Zwickle will be based in Wilton, N.Y.
Indianapolis remains most affordable housing market
Indianapolis remained the most affordable major U.S. housing market for the ninth consecutive time in the third quarter of 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released Nov. 27.
Meanwhile, nationwide housing affordability rose on a year-over-year basis but was down slightly for the quarter due to higher mortgage rates.
“Today’s HOI reading indicates that 42 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold during the third quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $59,000,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde, a home builder from El Segundo, Calif. “This reflects a slight improvement in affordability from a year ago, when only 40.4 percent of homes were within reach of median income-earners, but is just below the 43.1 percent of homes that were affordable to median income-earners in this year’s second quarter.”
The HOI indicates that the national weighted interest rate on fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages — a key component in calculating the HOI — was 6.73 percent in the third quarter, compared to 6.44 percent in the second quarter.
In the nation’s most affordable major housing market of Indianapolis, 87.5 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $63,800. Also near the top of the list for affordable major metros this quarter were Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
On the flip side, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., was the nation’s least-affordable major housing market for the 12th consecutive quarter. Just 3.7 percent of new and existing homes in that area sold during the third quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median family income of $61,700.
Other major metros at the bottom of the housing affordability chart included Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.; and Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.