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Pending home sales show surprising jump

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The index of pending home sales, an indicator measuring the number of contracts signed in August, showed surprising strength, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The index rose 7.4 percent to 93.4 from an upwardly revised reading of 87.0 in July, and is 8.8 percent higher than August 2007 when it stood at 85.8. The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it stood at 101.4.

“What we’re seeing is the momentum of people taking advantage of low home prices, with pending home sales up strongly in California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island and the Washington, D.C., region,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

The index in the West surged 18.4 percent to 109.5 in August and remains 37.8 percent above a year ago.

In the Northeast the index jumped 8.4 percent to 79.8 and is 2.0 percent higher than August 2007.

The index in the Midwest rose 3.6 percent to 84.5 in August and is 6.6 percent above a year ago.

In the South, the index increased 2.3 percent to 96.0 but is 2.1 percent below August 2007.

Yun notes the unusual timing of contract activity in August. “Home buyers in July were hampered by overly stringent lending criteria in the months before the government takeover of Fannie and Freddie,” he said. “August shows some unleashing of pent-up demand before the credit crisis accelerated in September.”

He cautioned that the sampling size for pending home sales is smaller than the track on existing-home sales, so there is more volatility in the forward-looking series. “We need to see just how much of this gain holds up,” Yun added.

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True Value store hosts successful “Ladies Night”

BY HBSDEALER Staff

K&B True Value in Annapolis, Md., hosted its first ever “Ladies Night,” on Oct. 3 with more than 110 women attending. In addition to several “How To” demonstrations, the store gave away gift bags loaded with products and coupons and raffled off prizes worth hundreds of dollars.

“With a Target opening next to one of the [area] Home Depots next week, I wanted to remind our customers about our strengths in housewares, customer service and expert advice,” said Jared Littmann, owner of the 10,000-square-foot store.

During the event, K&B True Value staff members demonstrated the following, replacing a toilet flapper and flush lever, installing dimmer light switches, comparing and selecting environmentally friendly cleaners, securely hanging pictures and mirrors, preparing surfaces for painting, replacing door knobs and locks, and planting grass seed and fertilizer.

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Hardware employee celebrates 50 years of service

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wally Lewis, an employee of Grover Beach Miner’s Ace Hardware, was honored recently for 50 years of service at the Grover Beach, Calif.-based store, according to the Times Press Recorder newspaper.

Lewis, who was honored Oct. 1, was the hardware storeOs first employee when brothers Lee and Glenn Miner opened the store in 1958. Prior to that, Lewis managed Brizzilera Hardware in Southern California.

There are now six Miner’s Ace Hardware stores in California. Lewis still works at Grover Beach Miner’s part-time.

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