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Pending home sales make unexpected jump

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The index of pending home sales, an indicator measuring the number of contracts signed in June, rose 5.3 percent to a reading of 89, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That compared with a downwardly-revised reading of 84.5 in May, and the index still is 12.3 percent below the June 2007 reading of 101.4.

“The vacillation of data from one month to the next indicates a housing market in transition,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The rise in pending home sales was broad-based with all four regions showing gains. This is welcome news because a rise in contract activity is necessary for an overall housing recovery.”

The pending home sales index in the South jumped 9.3 percent to 92.4 in June but is 16.6 percent below June 2007. In the West, the index rose 4.6 percent to 101.0 in June but remains 1.7 percent below a year ago. The index in the Northeast increased 3.4 percent to 79.6 but is 15.4 percent below June 2007. In the Midwest, the index rose 1.3 percent in June to 79.6 but is 13.3 percent below a year ago.

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Hackett’s opens 10th location

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ogdensburg, N.Y.-based Hackett’s, a chain of department stores with full service hardware departments, opened its 10th location on Aug. 2 in Sackets Harbor, N.Y.

Hackett’s is one of the nation’s oldest retailers with roots dating back to 1830. Each store contains a full service True Value hardware department with traditional hardware, tools, plumbing, paint and electrical departments.

Other departments in the stores include men’s, women’s and children’s brand name apparel, athletic, casual and work footwear, home decor, gifts, seasonal merchandise and sporting goods.

The official grand opening, which includes door prize giveaways and other special promotions, is scheduled for Aug. 6 and will continue through the weekend.

“We were very pleased with the opening of the new location, and we received positive feedback from the customers that visited the store,” said Norm Garrelts, president of Hackett’s.

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Third-quarter losses narrower at D.R. Horton

BY HBSDEALER Staff

D.R. Horton recorded narrower — but still significant — losses in the third quarter. The home builder, one of the largest in the United States, lost $399.3 million in the period, compared with $823.8 million in losses in the same period last year.

The company took a $500 million charge for write-offs and folded land options contracts. In all, revenue from home and lot sales totaled $1.43 billion, down 43.9 percent from $2.55 billion in the same period.

“Although market conditions in the home-building industry remain challenging, we continue to focus on reducing our inventory and generating cash flow from operations,” said Donald R. Horton, chairman of the company’s board of directors, in a statement.

The company’s sales backlog of homes under contract as of June 30 was 8,281 homes, worth an estimated $1.9 billion. That’s significantly lower than the 15,801, worth around $4.4 billion, at the same time last year.

D.R. Horton has operations in 80 markets in 27 states.

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