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September existing-home sales declined

BY HBSDealer Staff

September existing-home sales declined modestly, according to the National Association of Realtors. Inventory continued to tighten and the national median home price recorded its seventh back-to-back monthly increase from a year earlier.  

Total existing-home sales fell 1.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.75 million in September from an upwardly revised 4.83 million in August, but are 11.0% above the 4.28 million-unit pace in September 2011.

Total existing-home sales are defined as completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

"Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we’re experiencing a genuine recovery," said Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist. "More people are attempting to buy homes than are able to qualify for mortgages, and recent price increases are not deterring buyer interest. Rather, inventory shortages are limiting sales, notably in parts of the West."

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.47% in September from 3.60% in August; the rate was 4.11% in September 2011.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $183,900 in September, up 11.3% from a year ago.

Single-family home sales declined 1.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.21 million in September from 4.29 million in August, but are 10.8% higher than the 3.80 million-unit level in September 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $184,300 in September, up 11.4% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 540,000 in September, but are 12.5 percent above the 480,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in September, which is 10.0 percent higher than September 2011.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 6.3% to an annual level of 590,000 in September but are 7.3% above September 2011. Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 0.9% in September to a pace of 1.10 million but are 19.6% higher than a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales increased 0.5% to an annual level of 1.93 million in September and are 14.2% above September 2011. Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.4% to an annual pace of 1.13 million in September but are 0.9% above a year ago. 

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Sears Holdings expands relationship with Teradata

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings has added the Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse Platform 6690 to its existing Teradata analytic environment.

Sears has also added the new Teradata ADW Private Cloud with Elastic Performance on Demand for on-demand business analytics. By having flexible data-crunching capacity on the Teradata Private Cloud, users can efficiently and economically address surges in business activity, driven by such events as the holiday shopping seasons, launch of marketing campaigns, unexpected high demand or seasonal demand swings, the ompany said.

"The new Teradata multi-petabyte big data platform will help Sears lead customer based innovation through integrated retail and support our membership program, Shop Your Way Rewards," said Oliver Ratzesberger, VP information analytics and innovation at Sears Holdings. "By combining previously separated databases and data marts onto a single virtualized big data platform we eliminate the need to maintain multiple copies and data feeds, thereby reducing time to market as well as TCO."

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Housing report lifts mood at HIRI conference

BY Ken Clark

Chicago – The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Fall Conference kicked off just a few minutes after the Commerce Department released data showing a 15% increase in September housing starts

It was comforting news to the industry in general. It was also a particular relief to presenter Joshua Rosenbaum of UBS. “It means I don’t have to redo my presentation,” said Rosenbaum, managing director of UBS’s Global Industrial Group, about the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000.

Rosenbaum described a relatively clear path to the million starts level, and pointed out that 2013 housing starts forecasts from 10 different firms range from 1.1 million on the high end to 0.8 million on the low end.  The average forecast for 2013 was 924,000.

Returning to the historical average pace of about 1.5 million starts would require a significant improvement in the nation’s employment situation, he cautioned. 

Rosenbaum’s presentation here, "The U.S. Economic Backdrop for Home Improvement," pointed to renewed interest in the home improvement sector by Wall Street. “Investors are very excited about the home improvement sector,” he said. “It’s happening.” He established the point by showing significant growth in the last year of price-per-earnings ratios for building product retailers and building product manufacturers. Respectively, the median P/E ratios increased from 11.6 to 20.3; and from 12.1 to 22.6.

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