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NLBMDA calls for housing stimulus

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is calling on Congress to take bold action before the end of the year to boost the housing market.

Specifically, the NLBMDA seeks an extension of the Home Buyer Tax Credit for primary residences purchased between April 2008 and December 2009, to up to 10 percent of the home price up to a maximum of $22,000, depending on geography. In addition, buyers should have access to discounted 30-year fixed-rate mortgage financing that would encourage eligible home buyers to enter the market.

The organization pointed to the success of a similar credit plan in the 1970s.

“In 1975, Congress passed a short-term home buyer tax credit for all new homes, coupled with subsidized mortgage rates,” said NLBMDA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “This stimulus jump-started the depressed housing market then, and the effects continued long after the measure expired. We believe Congress must once again take bold action to restore consumer confidence in the market.”

The NLBMDA is also urging Congress to extend bonus depreciation and increased Section 179 expensing provisions for at least one year. The move would promote investment during the current economic downturn, according to the group. The Economic Stimulus Act signed into law in February temporarily created a 50 percent depreciation bonus and increased the amount that small businesses can expense under Section 179 to $250,000, but those provisions are due to expire at the end of 2008. Additionally, the NLBMDA is asking Congress to extend net operating loss (NOL) carryback provisions from two years to five to allow building material dealers to discount current losses against past profits.

“Taken together these proposals will go a long way toward reviving the housing economy, which is key to overcoming our current economic crisis,” said O’Brien. “We are calling on all our members to contact their members of Congress to urge quick action.”

The NLBMDA believes that its housing stimulus proposal will create much-needed jobs. Almost 85,000 jobs have been lost in the past two months in the construction industry alone, mostly in specialty trades related to home building, according to the industry group.

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Foreclosure filings up in October

BY HBSDEALER Staff

U.S. foreclosure filings increased 5 percent from September to 279,561 properties this month — one in every 452 households. That is up 25 percent from October 2007, according to research firm RealtyTrac.

“We’ve seen sharp declines in new foreclosure filings after legislation mandating delays to the foreclosure process was signed into law in several states — most notably in California, where overall foreclosure activity was down by double-digit percentage points for the second straight month in October,” said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac. “Despite this, October marks the 34th consecutive month where U.S. foreclosure activity has increased compared to the prior year.”

Nevada reported the highest state foreclosure rate for the 22nd consecutive month in October. Foreclosure filings in Nevada stood at 14,483 properties this month, up 11 percent from the previous month.

Arizona posted the second highest state foreclosure rate, with 17,507 filings, up nearly 35 percent from September.

Florida registered the third highest state foreclosure rate, with 54,324 filings, an increase of 13 percent from the previous month.

Other states among the top 10 were California, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio.

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Two nonprofits receive $10,000 checks from Ace

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware awarded two nonprofit organizations with $10,000 checks recently as part of its 2008 New Faces for Helpful Places program.

Chattanooga Rescue Mission in Chattanooga, Tenn., one of 10 organizations chosen from 2,600 entries nationwide, received a visit from the Ace crew Nov. 11. The mission, which has provided help for homeless men and women for 30 years, will be remodeled by a crew from Ace and some local volunteers.

Springtides, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based nonprofit group that works with children with developmental and behavioral issues, received a $10,000 check from Ace on Nov. 12. The organization, founded in 2000, hopes the award will result in a new waiting area for families, according to local news station KCRG.

In total, Ace has donated $200,000 to local “Helpful Places” across the country.

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