New-home sales show signs of strength in May
Sales of new homes in May rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The May figure is up 7.6% over April and marks an increase of 19.8% above May 2011.
The May figure was the highest in two years (since April 2010) and was aided by factors including low interest rates, housing affordability and warm weather. Most analysts had expected the May rate to fall short of 350,000.
The median sales price of new houses sold in May 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $273,900. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of May was 145,000. This represents a supply of 4.7 months at the current sales rate, according to the Commerce Department.
Bursting toilet tanks lead to product recall
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and its Canadian equivalent, Health Canada, have announced a voluntary recall of Flushmate III Pressure-Assist Flushing System Units, made by Flushmate of New Hudson, Mich., a division of Sloan Valve Co.
Installed inside toilet tanks, the flushing system can burst at or near the vessel weld seam, releasing stored pressure. This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact or laceration hazards to consumers and property damage. So far, Flushmate has received 304 reports of the product bursting, resulting in property damage and 14 impact or laceration injuries.
The recalled systems were manufactured from October 1997 to February 200 and sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s, distributors and plumbing contractors nationwide for about $108. Toilet manufacturers including American Standard, Crane, Eljer, Gerber, Kohler, Mansfield and St. Thomas also used the flushing units, which are rectangular, black, two-piece vessels made of injection molded plastic.
It is estimated that about 2,330,600 of the products were sold in the United States and 9,400 in Canada.
USGBC points to growth for LEED homes
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) said its LEED for Homes program crossed the 20,000-home milestone.
More than 20,000 homes across the United States have earned certification through the national voluntary certification system that provides guidance and verification that homes are designed and built to be energy- and resource-efficient and healthy for occupants.
“There are green homes, and then there are LEED homes,’ said Nate Kredich, VP residential market development, USGBC. “This milestone is evidence that the residential market is increasingly recognizing this fact. LEED for Homes is moving the residential market further and faster toward high-performing, healthy homes that save residents money.”
According to the USGBC, the collection of LEED-certified homes is as varied as the whole of the residential market — from multi- to single-family, from market rate to affordable housing. There are nearly 79,000 additional units in the pipeline, according to the council.