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Ohio-based builder takes further land charges

BY HBSDEALER Staff

M/I Homes, a Columbus, Ohio-based home builder with operations in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic region and Florida, said it will take an $82 million hit in the fourth quarter on land impairment charges.

The home builder took charges on the sale of 3,700 lots, approximately 22 percent of its total lots owned at the end of the quarter. The builder also sold all its lots in West Palm Beach, Fla., saying it will exit that market entirely.

“This sale represents a meaningful and important reduction in our land holdings,” said M/I Homes CEO and president Robert Schottenstein. “Our West Palm operation has been our smallest for more than 10 years, and we believe that disposing of our West Palm assets during these challenging times is the right decision for M/I Homes.”

M/I Homes has operations in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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New home sales plunge in November

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New home sales fell 9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 — the lowest annual rate in 12 years — according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Economists had forecast November sales at an annual rate of 715,000, which would have represented a 1.8 percent drop. The actual rate of 647,000 was the lowest since 621,000, recorded in April 1995.

Year over year, new home sales were 34.4 percent lower than in November 2006, representing the largest year-to-year decline since January 1991.

New home sales in the Midwest region were particularly weak, falling 27.6 percent to the slowest pace since July 1991. Sales also decreased in the South (6.4 percent) and Northeast (19.3 percent), but rose in the West (4 percent).

In addition, the median price for a new home decreased by 0.4 percent to $239,100. The ratio of new houses for sale to houses sold rose during November to 9.3, from 8.8 in October.

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Lampert Yards receives FSC certification

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lampert Yards, the St. Paul, Minn.-based chain of lumberyards, has earned the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification through the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program. The 34-unit pro dealer, with locations in five upper Midwest states, received its certification at the end of August but made the announcement on Dec. 20.

Jon Wigen, the company’s lumber buyer, told HCN that the certification process took approximately 90 days for all of Lampert’s locations. The effort was well worth it, Wigen said.

“I’m amazed at the number of sales we’ve gotten since we got our certification number,” he said. Lampert’s salespeople can now bid on commercial projects seeking a LEED designation, and knowledge of green building materials is a selling point with many customers.

“It’s been a great calling card for us, [especially] with new builders we haven’t done business with before,” Wigen said.

Lampert Yards currently has FSC-certified wood products in stock at four locations, with the ability to transfer the materials to any of its lumberyards.

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