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Toll Brothers partners with EchoFirst

BY Brae Canlen

Luxury home builder Toll Brothers has partnered with EchoFirst, a solar energy provider, to build new communities in Arizona that provide a complete solar energy system for water, heating and cooling. EchoFirst supplements conventional solar electric PV panels with solar thermal technology that generates electricity for hot water, as well as thermal energy for heating and cooling the home. This enables Toll Brothers to offer homes that use 70% to 80% less energy than a standard code-built home, according to the announcement.

“We’re focused on delivering superior energy monitoring and applications, and Echo was the clear choice in the Arizona market,” said Mark Bailey, VP of Toll Brothers. “We’re thrilled that buyers of Toll Brothers homes in new communities in Arizona –Stratland Estates in Gilbert and Wingate Ranch in Scottsdale — can realize the tremendous benefits of Echo’s game-changing technology.”

Based in Fremont, Calif., Toll Brothers serves move-up, empty-nester, active-adult, and second-home buyers and operates in 19 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

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Existing-home sales decline in September

BY HBSDealer Staff

Total existing-home sales in September decreased 3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.91 million from an upwardly revised 5.06 million in August, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The September figure is 11.3% above the 4.41 million-unit pace in September 2010.

This drop in existing-home sales comes just a day after the release of September housing starts, which showed 15% growth. 

“Existing-home sales have bounced around this year, staying relatively close to the current level in most months,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The irony is affordability conditions have improved to historic highs and more creditworthy borrowers are trying to purchase homes, but the share of contract failures is double the level of September 2010. Even so, the volume of successful buyers is higher than a year ago and is remaining fairly stable — this speaks to an unfulfilled demand.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $165,400 in September, down 3.5% from September 2010. Distressed homes accounted for 30% of sales in September (18% were foreclosures, and 12% were short sales), down from 31% in August and 35% in September 2010.

Total housing inventory decreased 2% to 3.48 million existing homes available for sale, which represents an 8.5-month supply, compared with an 8.4-month supply in August. 

Single-family home sales fell 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million in September from 4.49 million in August, but are 12.2% above the 3.86 million-unit level in September 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $165,600 in September, down 3.9% from a year ago. 

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 2.6% to an annual level of 790,000 in September and are 6.8% above a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 0.9% in September to a pace of 1.09 million but are 17.2% higher than September 2010. In the South, existing-home sales declined 2.6% to an annual level of 1.89 million in September but are 10.5% above a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West fell 8.8% to an annual pace of 1.14 million in September but are 10.7% higher than September 2010.

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Parr Lumber donates truck to Habitat for Humanity

BY HBSDealer Staff

Parr Lumber recently replaced a truck stolen from a Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East job site.

On Sept. 29, Habitat construction staff and volunteers found that the truck, power tools and construction materials had been taken from the Victoria Cottages job site – which will be home to eight local, hardworking families — near SE 204th and SE Stark in Gresham, Ore.

Expressing appreciation for the donation, Steve Messinetti, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, said: "Most of our trucks are getting very old. Having this opportunity to replace a vehicle that is on its last life is so valuable for this organization."

The stolen truck was recovered, but was damaged and missing the lumber rack. The Gresham Police Department is investigating.

Parr Lumber is a longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity.

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