S&P/Case-Shiller Index shows housing recovery
A widely watched measure of U.S. home prices showed average home prices increased significantly.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday morning shows a 7.3% increase for the 10-City Composite and an 8.1% increase for the 20-City Composite in the 12 months ended in January 2013.
Phoenix appears to be leading the charge, with a 23.2% year-over-year increase.
All 20 cities posted year-over-year gains, according to the index, the best showing in years.
“The two headline composites posted their highest year-over-year increases since summer 2006,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst.
Nineteen of the 20 cities showed acceleration in their year-over-year returns. Despite posting a positive double-digit annual return, Detroit was the only city to show a deceleration. After 28 months of negative annual returns, New York came into positive territory in January.
The positive data comes as housing starts and existing-home sales are tracking well ahead of last year’s pace. See the HCN Industry Dashboard here.
Mississippi endorses a more inclusive approach to forest certification approach
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed legislation Wednesday specifying that rating systems used in green building projects funded by the state government "shall not exclude certificate credits for forest products certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council or the American Tree Farm System."
The move was hailed by the Sustainable Forestry Initiaitive (SFI).
"The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) currently recognizes only the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating tool,” said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. “As such, LEED as currently worded does not meet the criteria of Mississippi’s new law. For more than a decade, the overwhelming majority of responsibly managed certified forests have not been eligible for the LEED forest certification credits, undermining communities, conservation and working forests."
More than 100 elected officials, including 14 governors and 89 members of Congress, have already urged the USGBC to support all credible forest certification standards, including the SFI Standard.
"Mississippi has 3.5 million acres certified to the SFI or ATFS standards. LEED’s exclusion of SFI and ATFS is unfounded and unfair to thousands of Mississippians whose livelihoods depend on the forest products sector," said J. Tedrick Ratcliff Jr., executive VP of Mississippi Forestry Association. "We applaud Representative Reynolds (D-Water Valley) for initiating this effort and the state’s decision to take a stand for the use of local sustainably harvested wood products in state green building projects."
Hunter Douglas looks for boost from tax credit
From the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 comes a three-way opportunity, according to Hunter Douglas.
Pearl River, N.Y.-based window covering company Hunter Douglas says its Duette Architella honeycomb shades are the only window shades without add-on insulation systems that qualify for the reinstated Federal Tax Credit of up to $500.
The Federal Tax Credit opportunity is largely the same as in 2011, when consumers were eligible for a credit of 10% of the cost of qualifying Duette Architella shades, up to a maximum of $500, provided the expense meets the tax guidelines. The shades must be purchased and installed between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. Anyone who received a rebate of $500 or more from the similar tax credit that was in effect during 2010 and 2011 is not eligible for the credit for 2012-2013. For anyone who received a credit of less than $500 during these prior years, that amount will be deducted from the $500 credit for the 2012-2013 years. The 2012-2013 tax credit is subject to a lifetime limitation of $500.
With this new development, aligned Hunter Douglas dealers are in a unique position to offer an extremely compelling three-way savings opportunity to their customers on Duette Architella honeycomb shades:
- Up to $500 U.S. Federal Tax Credit;
- Seasonal manufacturer’s rebates, including $25 per unit savings with the Energy Smart Style promotion rebate offer in effect through April 2, 2013; and $100 with the purchase of four Duette Architella shades (plus $25 per additional unit) with The Lighter Side of Living Savings Event, in effect from April 13, 2013, to June 14, 2013; and
- Reduced energy loss through windows by up to 40%, which can help lower heating and cooling costs.
“As experience has proven, we are confident that the Federal Tax Credit will be a powerful incentive for consumers to buy and for dealers to build incremental sales volume,” said Jim Mathews, Hunter Douglas senior VP marketing. “It’s especially important to get the word out quickly, as the tax credit is cumulative, and also applies to other energy-efficient products, though none as beautiful as Duette Architella shades with their array of color and design choices.”