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Fluidmaster has it covered

Fluidmaster offers two kits to fix the most common toilet problems.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Fluidmaster, the toilet repair brand, says it can help fix the most common toilet problems with easy, DIY solutions using three of its featured repair kits.

Whether it’s a constantly running, noisy, slow, or leaking toilet, Fluidmaster’s PerforMax Toilet Fill Valve & 2” Flapper kit includes a fill valve and flapper with built-in adjustability, so water levels can be fine-tuned for a stronger flush. The solid frame flapper offers reliability and promises a secure seal every time.

Fluidmaster’s PerforMax Toilet Fill Valve & 3” Flapper kit includes a fill valve and flapper with silicone seal that lasts up to 10-times longer than standard flappers, the company said.

Established in 1957 and with customers around the world, Fluidmaster remains a family-owned and operated company with global headquarters located in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

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Housing affordability hits 10-year low

Syracuse, N.Y. continues to be most affordable, California dominates least affordable markets.

BY HBSDealer Staff

A combination of rising interest rates and escalating home prices have delivered housing affordability to a 10-year low in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In total, 56.4% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. This is down from the 57.1% of homes sold in the second quarter that were affordable to median-income earners and the lowest reading since mid-2008.

“Continuing home price appreciation and rising interest rates coupled with persistent labor shortages are contributing to housing affordability concerns,” said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel, a custom home builder from LaPlace, La. “Builders are increasingly focusing on managing home construction costs so that they do not outpace wage gains.

The national median home price edged up from $265,000 in the second quarter of 2018 to $268,000 in the third quarter. This is the highest quarterly median price in the history of the HOI series. At the same time, average mortgage rates rose by a nominal 5 basis points in the third quarter to 4.72% from 4.67% in the second quarter.

“Ongoing job and economic growth provide a solid backdrop for housing demand amid recent declines in affordability,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, housing affordability will need to stabilize to keep forward momentum from diminishing as we move into the new year.”

For the second straight quarter, Syracuse, N.Y., remained as the nation’s most affordable major housing market where 88.2% of all new and existing homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $74,100.

Kokomo, Ind., was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 93.2% of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $64,100.

Rounding out the top five affordable major housing markets in order are Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; and Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Smaller markets joining Kokomo at the top of the list included Elmira, N.Y.; Fairbanks, Alaska; Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; and Springfield, Ohio.

San Francisco, for the 4th straight quarter, was the nation’s least affordable major market. Just 6.4% of the homes sold in the third quarter of 2018 were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $116,400.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart were located in California. In descending order, they included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara; and San Diego-Carlsbad.

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Building Products — James Hardie Aspyre Collection
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James Hardie Q2 sales up 23%

James Hardie will discontinue its window business and multiple contour trim line.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Building products manufacturer James Hardie posted group net sales of $644.6 million for its second quarter 2019, up 23% from the second quarter of 2018.

The company also posted sales of nearly $1.3 billion for the first half of 2019, a 25% increase. James Hardie said North American fiber cement segment volume increased 5% for both the quarter and first half of 2019.

James Hardie reported a net operating profit of $80.9 million for the quarter, up 7%, and $160.8 million for the half year, up 17%, compared to the corresponding prior period.

“EBIT margin excluding product line discontinuation expenses of 22.8% and 23.8% for the quarter and half year, respectively, remain within our target range, but continue to be pressured by the increasing market costs of raw materials and freight,” said James Hardie CEO Louis Gries.

Gries also noted that the company had conducted a detailed review of its product portfolio and business segments and will discontinue its windows business and the Multiple Contour Trim product line, while simplifying its core ColorPlus product offering.

Looking ahead, James Hardie said it expects modest growth in the US housing market to continue in fiscal year 2019. The Company forecasts new U.S. construction starts between approximately 1.2 and 1.3 million.

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