Overview June 2012

Associations

NARI Elects New Officers

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based National Association of the Remodeling Industry named immediate past president Michael Hydeck, MCR, CKBR, of Hydeck Design Build, Telford, Pa., as its chairman of the board and elevated Dean Herriges, MCR, CKBR, of Urban Herriges and Sons Inc., Mukwonago, Wis., to the office of president.

Additional officers for 2012-13 include: president-elect, Fred Spaulding, CKBR, UDCP, of Quality Home Improvements Inc., Kingwood, Texas; treasurer, Art Donnelly, MCR, CKBR, of Legacy Builders and Remodelers Corp., Holbrook, N.Y.; and secretary, Kevin Anundson, CR, CKBR, of Owner Assisted Remodeling, Elm Grove, Wis.

Housing Markets

Improving List Virtually Unchanged

The list of housing markets showing measurable and sustained improvement held virtually unchanged in May at 100, down from 101 in April, according to the Washington, D.C-based National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index. The number of states represented on the list also held firm at 35 from the previous month.

Real Estate

Affordability at Record High

The Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Realtors’ composite quarterly Housing Affordability Index rose to a record high of 205.9 in the first quarter, based on the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. This is the first time the quarterly index broke the 200 mark since recordkeeping began in 1970.

New Homes

Builder Confidence Up Five Points

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes showed its strongest reading in May since the same month of 2007, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Each of the index's components rebounded from declines in the previous month. The component gauging current sales conditions and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers each rose five points in May to 30 and 23, respectively, with the traffic component hitting its highest level since April 2007. The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 34.

Home Prices

Index Shows Slight Increase

Santa Ana, Calif.-based CoreLogic’s March Home Price Index report shows national home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.6 percent in March 2012 compared to February 2012, the first month-over-month increase since July 2011. On a year-over-year basis, prices declined by 0.6 percent in March 2012 compared to March 2011. 

New Home Sales

Sales Drop but Are Above Previous Year

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2012 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 328,000, according to estimates released jointly by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 7.1 percent below the revised February rate of 353,000 but is 7.5 percent above the March 2011 estimate of 305,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in March 2012 was $234,500; the average sales price was $291,200. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of March was 144,000.

Energy

Smart Meters Making Progress

Electric utilities are making steady progress in upgrading their customers’ analog electric meters with digital smart meters, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Electric Efficiency.  As of May 2012, IEE found almost one-in-three households now have a smart meter, up from about one-in-four households in September 2011.  By mid-decade, IEE projects more than half the households in the country will have a smart meter.

Appliances

Efficient Washers Will Save Cash

Energy- and water-efficiency standards released by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Department of Energy will deliver clothes washers that use as much as 35 percent less energy and water and dishwashers that use about 14 percent less energy and 23 percent less water. Buyers of new clothes washers can expect to save between $400 and $600 in lower energy and water bills, according to an analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Boston-based Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Buyers of new dishwashers will save about $100.

Statistics

Kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects were up 17 percent from two years ago with bathroom remodels cited as a common job by 78 percent of remodelers and kitchen remodels at 69 percent. Source: National Association of Home Builders

More than 60 percent of remodelers reported increased demand for repairs and replacements of old components in the past two years. Source: National Association of Home Builders

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