Texas tops the list in improving housing markets
An index by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) designed to track improving housing markets across the country has added nine more metro regions while dropping two cities. The November additions — Cheyenne, Wyo.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Davenport, Iowa; Fort Collins, Colo.; Hinesville, Ga.; Lima, Ohio; Monroe, La.; Tyler, Texas; and Williamsport, Pa. — raise the number from 23 to 30 metro areas.
The two cities dropped from the NAHB’s First American Improving Markets Index (IMI) in November were Iowa City and Wichita Falls. These areas experienced declines in their employment and permit data, respectively.
"Texas continues to dominate the list of improving housing markets in November, increasing its net number of entries to eight and continuing a trend in which energy-producing metros seem to be doing better than the average," said NAHB chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nev. "Meanwhile, the geographic diversity of metros also continued to expand this month, with the states of Colorado, Georgia and Ohio all represented for the first time. This is further evidence that all housing markets are uniquely dependent upon local conditions, and some are leading the way toward an eventual, broader recovery."
"The November IMI remains heavily weighted by smaller cities, with Pittsburgh and New Orleans as the only major metros represented," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe. "This is indicative of the tough conditions that continue to prevail across much of the country, particularly in larger markets that have been hit hardest by job losses and foreclosures during the recession and that will take more time to heal. However, momentum is building in pockets of the country where energy and agriculture are the dominant industries and where consistent, measurable improvements in economic conditions are now becoming apparent."
Overall, the index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement for at least six months in housing permits, employment and housing prices. The following metros were listed in November:
• Alexandria, La.;
• Amarillo, Texas;
• Anchorage, Alaska;
• Bismarck, N.D.;
• Casper, Wy.;
• Cheyenne, Wy.;
• Corpus Christi, Texas;
• Davenport, Iowa;
• Fairbanks, Ark.;
• Fayetteville, N.C.;
• Fort Collins, Colo.;
• Hinesville, Ga.;
• Houma, La.;
• Jonesboro, Ark.;
• Kankakee, Ill.;
• Lima, Ohio;
• McAllen, Texas;
• Midland, Texas;
• Monroe, La.;
• New Orleans;
• Odessa, Texas;
• Pine Bluff, Ark.; and
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Boise Cascade Q3 loss narrows
Boise, Idaho-based Boise Cascade Holdings has posted a $3.7 million net loss for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $5.6 million in the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter totaled $627.98 million, up 5.8% from $593.50 million in the third quarter of 2010.
“New single-family residential construction remained weak during the third quarter; however, we believe we are continuing to gain market share,” said CEO Tom Carlile. “We remain cautious with regard to the overall new residential construction environment and the timing of an eventual recovery in housing starts. We have good liquidity and continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities that add value, add to our market position or help lower our costs. “
Building Materials Distribution (BMD) segment sales were $501.5 million in the third quarter, up 7% from the same quarter a year ago.
Wood Products segment sales in the third quarter were $194.8 million, up 6% from the year-ago quarter.
Boise Cascade expects “below-normal demand for the products we distribute and manufacture until there is a meaningful reduction in the overhang of distressed homes for sale,” according to a company press release.
In other company news, Boise Cascade has announced its intent to purchase the assets of the Stimson Lumber Mill in Arden, Wash. The Stimson Lumber Mill processes pine and cedar into lumber and decking products. The facility will become part of Boise Cascade’s Inland Region.
The details of the transaction were not disclosed, and the company expects the purchase to close around Dec. 31.
“It is Boise Cascade’s intent to operate both the Kettle Falls Lumber operation and the Stimson Lumber Mill, although the operating configuration has yet to be finalized,” said Tom Insko, Inland Region manager. “The combination of the two mills will increase efficiencies and enhance the product mix capabilities of the Inland Region lumber operations.”
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Mortgage banking exec to head HBI
The Home Builders Institute (HBI) has named John Courson, the former president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), as its new president and CEO. Courson is a nationally recognized housing industry spokesperson and government affairs expert who served as MBA’s president and CEO from 2008 to 2011. His initial priorities at HBI will be to identify new revenue streams and create new programs for the non-profit organization.
HBI is the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). It provides training, mentoring, curriculum development and job placement services in support of residential construction careers for both youth and adults.
In addition to serving as the head of the national MBA, Courson was the MBA’s elected chairman in 2003 and has served as a past president of the California, Dallas and Michigan Mortgage Bankers Associations. He has also served at the head of three different mortgage companies, Central Pacific Mortgage Company in Folsom, Calif., Fundamental Mortgage Corp. and Westwood Mortgage Corp. (formerly Fort Wayne Mortgage Co.), both in Texas. From 2004 to 2008, he was chairman of the California Housing Finance Agency, a position to which he was appointed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Courson also has a participated in international housing initiatives led by the White House and the U.S. Treasury Department.