LUMBERYARDS

Outlook positive for multi-family sector

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A survey of multi-family builders and property managers by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) indicates an improvement in housing starts and a decline in vacancies compared with the previous quarter, both of which spell positive news for apartment and condo builders across the United States.

The NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) increased to a value of 35.6 for the third quarter of 2010, up from the 26.6 level reported for the second quarter. This is the highest the MPI has been since 2007.

The MPI is a weighted average of components based on respondents’ ratings of starts currently versus the previous quarter. All three MPI components increased in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) registered a decline (fewer vacant apartments) for the fifth quarter in a row — down to 39.2. The MVI has been declining steadily since reaching a peak of 70.2 in the second quarter of 2009.

"Since 1985, [the] NAHB has been producing the Housing Market Index, which gives an indication of what the coming months will bring in the single-family market," said David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. "We are confident that the MPI and MVI will provide equally useful information for the multi-family sector."

"It is important to remember that, although both the MPI and the Census Bureau’s measures of multi-family production are increasing, they are rising from historically very low levels, with multi-family starts remaining well below a rate that would be sustainable under more normal market conditions,” Crowe added. “Further improvement in multi-family production depends upon resolving the formidable problems that currently exist in accessing credit to develop and build economically viable multi-family projects."

For more data tables, visit nahb.org/mmi.

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Myers & Son’s new site helps upselling

BY HBSDEALER Staff

York, Pa.-based building supplies dealer John H. Myers & Son, launched a fully redesigned and enhanced Web presence at jhmson.com.

The company said it developed the site to provide new tools to its customer base of builders and remodelers. The redesign also offers improved navigation and hundreds of new product and project images.

“When we talked to our contractor customers, they told us they wanted tools to help them communicate with – and sell to – homeowners,” said Bob Myers, III, president of John H. Myers & Son. “When we redeveloped the site, we incorporated tools that enable homeowners to visualize what they want and make informed product choices.”

The new site also includes a Design Gallery that features hundreds of room scenes ? a virtual concept factory that enables homeowners to identify appealing styles and colors and to select materials for specific projects.  “We’ve received a very positive response from our contractor customers on our Design Gallery,” stated Bob. “It’s doing exactly what we designed it to do—assist the contractor with the sales process.  Homeowners are contacting contractors and referencing photo from the Gallery. It’s also proving to be a great up-selling tool.”

The site was developed by York-based Jarvis Green Design & Marketing.

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NLBMDA issues alert on tax relief

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association issued an alert for the wide-ranging Tax Relief, Unemployment, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act.

For the full alert, click here.

Among other things, the bill addresses the estate tax by instituting a $5 million exemption (indexed beginning in 2012) and 35% rate on estates for 2011 and 2012. While not permanent, this is based on the Lincoln-Kyl compromise previously endorsed by NLBMDA.

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