New-home sales slip 7.3%
Sales of new single-family homes in December slipped 7.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000, according to data released Friday morning by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The month-to-month decline follows by one week a buoyant report that showed a double-digit percent increase in residential construction. Compared with a year ago, new home sales increased 8.8%.
The median sales price of new houses sold in December 2012 was $248,900, up from $245,600 in November. The average sales price was $304,000, up from $289,900 in November.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of December was 151,000. This represents a supply of 4.9 months at the current sales rate.
An estimated 367,000 new homes were sold in 2012. This is 19.9% above the 2011 figure of 306,000.
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Product evolution continues at National Hardware Show
The National Hardware Show slated for May 7-9 in Las Vegas will showcase pet products, expand into farm and ranch, and turn its attention to building materials, according to show organizers.
Joining pet products with a dedicated area on the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s central hall will be Farm & Ranch. And throughout the exhibit floor, products in the building materials category will be marked with signage.
The changes are part of a continuing evolution of the show, according to organizers.
"We had a huge home run with pet last year," said Sonya Ruff Jarvis, VP attendee programs for the National Hardware Show. "And we’ve added a new dedicated area on the show floor for farm and ranch, and we’re seeing a lot excitement for it."
Companies including Olympia Tools, Gorilla Rack GRK Fasteners and TW Evans Cordage are among those in the new farm and ranch section.
Overall, the show is looking to continue its sell-out streak while bringing in 600 to 800 new exhibitors, Jarvis said.
Rich Russo, VP of the National Hardware Show, said: "Each year we listen to what attendees tell us, and we strive to make the show bigger and better than the year before."
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Smoke detectors, by the numbers
Consumer data show smoke-detector sales rising steadily over the past two years, with a double-digit increase on top of a double-digit increase. The category — inclusive of carbon monoxide detectors — plays out largely in the big boxes, with 54.1% of sales from September through August occurring in the warehouse home centers, according to the data from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group.
Products that combine the function of smoke detection and carbon monoxide detection have been a popular choice in the category for a few years, according to NPD Group. The latest data show the combo-package at 37.9% penetration. Hardwired detectors are growing, but not nearly as common as battery-powered varieties.
Males are more likely than females to purchase a smoke or carbon-monoxide detector. Purchase patterns also skew toward younger and lower-income consumers.
Price ranks first among factors that lead a consumer to a certain retailer. Second consideration is proximity to home, which is growing in importance. When it comes to the smoke detector itself, brand stands out as the most important consideration.
Methodology: NPD data are based on monthly tracking of more than 30 home improvement-related categories and 30,000 opt-in consumers.
*2012 data reflects the period September 2011 through August 2012.
**Key: WHC: warehouse home center; MM: mass merchant; DS: department store; SS: specialty store; HS: hardware store
*** More than one answer accepted
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