Strong showing, but slightly fewer improving markets
A total of 247 metropolitan areas across 49 states and the District of Columbia qualified for inclusion on the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) for August. This number is down from 255 metros in July, but it is about three times the number of metros that qualified for the list in August 2012.
“In all, 244 metros that were listed as improving in July retained that status in August, and this is an encouraging sign of the continuing housing recovery,” noted NAHB chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “That said, we know that the pace of improvement is being hampered somewhat by challenges that builders and buyers are experiencing with regard to the availability of credit, materials, lots for development and labor.”
The IMI identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Three new markets were added to the list and 11 dropped from it in August. Newly added metros this month include Kankakee, Ill., Atlantic City and Ocean City, N.J.
“While the number of improving housing markets this August remains well ahead of the same month last year, the index is affected by seasonal softening in home prices just as we saw happen in 2012. The metros that fell off the list this month originally qualified with very small home price improvements that have since slipped back,” explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As house prices return to more normal levels in fully recovered markets, further IMI advancements will be more modest.”
A complete list of all 247 metros currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in August, is available at nahb.org/imi.
Scotts posts strong Q3
Scotts Miracle-Gro reported third-quarter net sales of $1.15 billion, up 9% from $1.05 billion a year ago.
Adjusted income from continuing operations for the third quarter ended June 29 was $153.9 million, up 53% from $100.8 million in the same period from last year.
"The level of consumer engagement we’ve seen since April has erased the deficit we had after a slow break to the season in March," said chairman and CEO Jim Hagedorn. "In each area of the business, our team has done an outstanding job executing our plan this year. With less than two months remaining in our fiscal year, we now feel comfortable projecting that our full-year earnings should be at the mid-point of our guidance of $2.50 to $2.75 per share."
The company expects fiscal 2013 net sales ranging from a 1% decrease to an increase of 1% compared with a year ago.
Fishcat Farm rolls out new organic fertilizer
Fishcat Farm, a catfish production raceway based in Arkansas, has developed a new organic fertilizer product called Fishnure, which is made from solid fish manure captured from the raceways.
The manure, which is based off a high-protein diet and is decomposed with oat straw to create a putty-like substance, is also combined with a carbon source, Mississippi Delta clay and inoculants to attain a proper carbon to nitrogen ratio.
According to the company, Fishnure can be used as a solid or a liquid, and can be applied to crops, lawn or garden via pouring or spraying methods. The process does not require brewers or additional microbe activators.
"Unlike regular compost, the organic matter that is bound to the microscopic clay particles in Fishnure will not decompose further and will remain in the soil and increase the total organic matter," stated the company. "Increased organic matter in the soil will increase fertility, water retention, water absorption, microbial life and all the other benefits of good fertile soil."
The company touts the economical value of the product, which can cover 7,000 sq. ft. using 1 pound of product when mixed in water and applied with a hose end sprayer.