News Releases

American Wood Council and Canadian Wood Council announce medium density fiberboard and particleboard EPDs

 

 

 

LEESBURG, Va. – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of new environmental product declarations (EPD) for medium density fiberboard (MDF) and particleboard, bringing the available EPDs for North American wood products to nine.

 

All of the EPDs and accompanying transparency briefs are available free on the AWC website.

 

EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories and an independent certifier of products and their sustainable attributes.

 

"We are pleased to partner with the Canadian Wood Council to make these EPDs available. With the growing interest by the design community to select products for which EPDs are available, we are confident the MDF and particleboard EPDs will be popular," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski.

 

“The composite panel industry is based on the recovery of forestry residuals to fabricate high-value construction and consumer products, and our EPDs yet again showcase the unmatched environmental performance of renewable wood,” said Composite Panel Association (CPA) President Tom Julia. “CPA members are proud to have supported the development of the Life Cycle Inventory and Life Cycle Assessment reports upon which these EPDs are based.  Specifiers, designers and fabricators now have an important new tool to objectively compare wood products with those made of plastic, metal or other materials.”

 

Based on international standards (ISO 14025 and ISO 21930), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as use of resources, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

 

For more information and to download currently available EPDs and transparency briefs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.php.

 


1/30/2014 4:14:05 PM


The aging housing stock

 

 

 

NAHB Eye on Housing

 

The American housing stock continues to age; a trend that represents an opportunity for remodelers and over the long term may signal a future increased demand for new home construction.
 
According to the latest data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of an owner-occupied home in the United States was 35 years old as of the 2011 survey. The median age reported in the 1985 AHS was only 23 years old.

 

http://goo.gl/xPhEdr

 


1/23/2014 1:16:09 PM


Flakeboard and SierraPine announce asset purchase

January 14, 2014

Markham, Canada — Today, Flakeboard America Limited, a US subsidiary of Arauco, has agreed to buy the western US panel assets of SierraPine, a California limited partnership, consisting of two particleboard plants located in California and Oregon, and an MDF plant in Oregon.

Upon completion of the acquisition, the Arauco plants in North Amercia will have an installed panel capacity of 2 billion feet sq. ft. (3/4" basis) or 3.5 million cubic meters, adding to the capacity of the composite panel plants that Arauco holds in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

According to Flakeboard President Kelly Shotbolt, "We are extremely excited about our proposed purchase of SierraPine, and specifically the benefits that addtional western facilities add in terms of product offering, manufacutring locations, and employee experience. Combined with existing Flakeboard mills, the transaction will bring new opportunities for our customers, our combined employees, and the communities in which we operate."

The two companies are targeting a closing during the first quarter of 2014. The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including regulatory approvals.

 

 


1/14/2014 11:47:20 AM


House prices rise again, but the pace could slow

New York Times


It was a great year for the stock market. And it was also a pretty good year for many people’s biggest investment: their homes.
 
In 2013’s last glimpse at the housing market, figures released on Tuesday showed that home prices in major metro areas kept rising in October. Year-over-year, prices were up 13.6 percent, the biggest gain in more than seven years.

http://goo.gl/iYJOmq

 

 


1/3/2014 2:10:20 PM


New home sales, durable goods, Richmond Fed Mfg Survey and more

 

Calculated Risk

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 05:36 PM PST

China remains a risk, from the WSJ: China Cash Crunch Shows Central Bank's Difficulties

A cash crunch among China's banks intensified, highlighting the difficulties faced by the central bank in managing an increasingly stressed financial system.
...
The current squeeze is driven by several factors, analysts said. One is a little-noticed drop in China's year-end government spending. ... Banks are becoming more cautious and are hoarding more cash for future needs in case the cash squeeze worsens. Some of them are also boosting provisions for potential loan defaults.
...
"To prevent systemic risks, and reduce the impact on liquidity, the supervision of the interbank market will continue to be strengthened," analysts at Bank of China Ltd. said in a report Monday, adding that interbank lending was "accentuating hidden dangers" in the financial system. The rise in rates came despite the Chinese central bank's announcement late Friday that it had injected more than 300 billion yuan into the financial system over a three-day period following the increase in interbank rates last week.

Tuesday: All US markets will close early

• At 7:00 AM ET, Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

• At 8:30 AM, Durable Goods Orders for November from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for a 1.5% increase in durable goods orders.

• At 9:00 AM, the FHFA House Price Index for October 2013. This was original a GSE only repeat sales, however there is also an expanded index. The consensus is for a 0.4% increase.

• At 10:00 AM, New Home Sales for November from the Census Bureau. The consensus is for an increase in sales to 450 thousand Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) in November from 444 thousand in October.

• Also at 10:00 AM, Richmond Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for December. The consensus is a reading of 10, down from 13 in November (above zero is expansion).

 


12/26/2013 4:14:09 PM


Comments: Housing Starts and Mortgage Index

 

By Bill McBride, Calculated Risk

Posted: 18 Dec 2013 08:46 AM PST

A few comments:

The MBA purchase index is down about 10% year-over-year, and this has led to some articles like this from CNBC: Mortgage applications plummet amid uncertainty

Purchase applications though are down 10 percent, mirroring a slowdown in home sales in many previously hot markets.

The slowdown in existing home sales is mostly due to less investor buying and fewer distressed sales (fewer cash buyers). Declining distressed sales, but increasing conventional sales - even if total sales decline - is a good sign!

And an important note on the Purchase Index: the index is probably understating purchase activity due to a change in the mix of lenders. There are more small lenders that focus on purchase loans (and sell to Fannie and Freddie), and these lenders are underrepresented in the purchase index. I discussed this two weeks ago with the MBA's Mike Fratantoni, and he told me:

[I]n the last couple of years ... independent mortgage bankers have accounted for a fast growing share of the purchase market ... We have actively recruited independents and smaller banks to get better coverage of the purchase market. ... It is likely that many of the lenders not in the survey have a higher purchase share and lower refi share.

The MBA index is useful, but housing starts and new home sales provide better information.

• Overall the housing starts report was encouraging with total starts at a 1.09 million rate on a seasonally adjusted annual rate basis (SAAR) in November. This was well above the consensus forecast of 952 thousand SAAR.  

• And the increase wasn't just in the volatile multi-family sector; single family starts were at the highest level since early 2008.

Also housing starts are up significantly from the same period last year. Over the first eleven months of 2013, total starts are up over 19% compared to the same period in 2012.  The increases in starts slowed in the 2nd half of 2013, but this has been a solid year for residential investment growth.

• Even with another significant year-over-year increase, housing starts are still very low. Starts averaged 1.5 million per year from 1959 through 2000, and demographics and household formation suggests starts will return to close to that level over the next few years. This suggests significantly more growth in housing starts over the next few years.

Here is an update to the graph comparing multi-family starts and completions. Since it usually takes over a year on average to complete a multi-family project, there is a lag between multi-family starts and completions. Completions are important because that is new supply added to the market, and starts are important because that is future new supply (units under construction is also important for employment).

These graphs use a 12 month rolling total for NSA starts and completions.

Multifamily Starts and completions
Click on graph for larger image.

The blue line is for multifamily starts and the red line is for multifamily completions.

The rolling 12 month total for starts (blue line) has been increasing steadily, and completions (red line) are lagging behind. It is interesting that completions have lagged so far behind starts, and this suggests completions will increase significantly in 2014 (completions lag starts by about 12 months).

However the level of multi-family starts over the last 12 months - close to the level in late '90s and early 00's - suggests that future growth in starts will mostly come from single family starts.

Single family Starts and completionsThe second graph shows single family starts and completions. It usually only takes about 6 months between starting a single family home and completion - so the lines are much closer. The blue line is for single family starts and the red line is for single family completions.

Starts are moving up and completions are following.  Usually single family starts bounce back quickly after a recession, but not this time because of the large overhang of existing housing units. 

Note the low level of single family starts and completions.  The "wide bottom" was what I was forecasting several years ago, and now I expect several years of increasing single family starts and completions.

 

 

To view the entire Calculated Risk Finance & Economics website: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/12/comments-housing-starts-and-mortgage.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CalculatedRisk+%28Calculated+Risk%29

 


12/18/2013 12:02:41 PM


Are we already back in a housing bubble?

Business Week

By Karen Weise

Home prices keep rising—and not just in some markets. For the first time since 2005, each of the country’s 50 most populous cities are seeing higher prices. While that could be a good sign for the economy, the market is showing signs of overheating and the current pace is not sustainable, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings.

The report regards home prices across the country as overvalued by about 17 percent. Conditions are worrisome in several markets, most of them in coastal California, where homes are more than 20 percent overvalued. San Francisco and San Jose will set new home price records in the next six months, according to Fitch. While Bay Area tech companies are booming, the region’s economy isn’t growing nearly as fast as the “unprecedented” home price gains, making the market nearly 30 percent overvalued. Current conditions in the heart of Silicon Valley are akin to “the environment in 2003,” the report notes ominously, “three years into the formation of the previous home price bubble.”

Prices are being driven by investor interest in flipping homes, another familiar phenomenon. Fitch estimates that half of all homes in the Bay Area are now bought with cash, Fitch says, and that’s “often indicative of investor behavior.”

The danger is that overvalued markets could stall if interest rates rise as the economy rebounds: “When an expectation of rising rates is coupled with rising price levels,” the report notes, “there could be increased pressure on the housing market that could reverse recent gains.” That echoes an argument that Zillow’s (Z)chief economist, Stan Humphries, made in April, when he said that low rates were acting like a “carnival funhouse mirror” that distorts reality. Cheap mortgages, he said, made home appear affordable when in fact, they were overvalued relative to what people are earning.

Rents are not climbing nearly as fast as purchase prices. It may be time to revisit a trusty ol’ rent vs. own calculator to see whether renting or owning makes more sense.

Weise is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York. Follow her on Twitter @kyweise.


11/12/2013 5:12:56 PM


Join the forest certification movement to meet your sustainability goals

 

Triple Pundit

 

By: Kathy Abusow, President & CEO of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 

http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/10/join-forest-certification-movement-meet-sustainability-goals/

 

Most people treasure healthy forests and want to ensure that they are around for future generations. One of the best ways to do that is to promote responsible management of working forests through a powerful tool called forest certification: providing landowners with a rigorous, science-based standard of responsible forest management and verifying compliance through independent, third-party audits.

 

Since the mid-90s, the idea of forest certification has grown from a curiosity to the mainstream of North American conservation. Its value can be seen in hundreds of millions of acres of sustainably managed forests that support local communities while protecting wildlife habitat, clean water and soil, and other elements essential to our environment.

 

In North America, the key certification programs are the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Overseas, forestlands are certified to the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification and various FSC standards for specific countries and regions.

 

But despite all this good work, today only 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified, which represents about a quarter of global round wood production. It’s vitally important for all of us to increase the percentage of timberland that is certified to a credible standard, while also promoting responsible forestry on uncertified lands.

 

Here’s how business leaders can support this movement.

 

Getting More Forests Certified

 

Major purchasers of forest products can support sustainable forestry by joining forces to promote responsible practices across the supply chain. For example, in 2012 we launched the SFI Forest Partners Program with founding partners Time Inc., National Geographic Society, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson – four leaders in publishing that committed to promoting sustainability by encouraging more landowners, manufacturers, distributors, customers, conservation groups and government agencies across the supply-chain to become certified. The program’s goal is to certify 10 million acres of forests to the SFI standard by 2017, starting in the U.S. South.

 

To give an example of how this program can work, look to South Carolina, where the Forestry Commission was interested in having five state forests certified but struggled in a tight budget environment for funding to demonstrate compliance and complete an independent third-party audit of sustainable practices. The Forest Partners stepped up to help, and last month, South Carolina was able to announce that 103,000 acres of land owned by the Forestry Commission and Clemson University were certified to the SFI and American Tree Farm System standards.

 

Promoting Responsible Forestry on Uncertified Forests

 

No matter how hard we all try, some forest land will remain uncertified. One reason is that 60 percent of private forest lands are owned by family forest owners; many harvest timber from their land, but it’s not their primary activity. But it’s essential to encourage them to keep their land forested and to practice responsible forestry.

 

Businesses that purchase wood, paper and packaging can play a role by seeking out certification standards that include fiber-sourcing requirements, which guide the procurement of raw material from uncertified lands. At SFI, for example, we require program participants who own or manage forest lands and those who buy raw materials to show that the fiber in their supply-chain comes from legal and responsible sources, utilizing loggers who are trained in best management practices for water quality; and that they conduct landowner outreach to promote prompt reforestation and measures to address invasive species and other basics associated with responsible forestry.

 

The future of our forests depends on the actions we take today. Everyone has a role to play in promoting responsible forestry. If you’re truly interested responsible procurement and meeting corporate sustainability goals, choose certified wood, paper, and packaging materials. And for a more proactive role in growing our certified supply, join Time Inc., National Geographic, Macmillan Publishers and Pearson in SFI’s Forest Partners Program. Contact me (Kathy.Abusow@sfiprogram.org) to learn how you can make a difference now.

 


10/16/2013 3:18:50 PM


Prolinged shutdown could hamper housing recovery
The Hill The housing market's recovery could hit a snag if Congress prolongs the federal government's shutdown. Meanwhile, in a broad ranging outlook on Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said recovery is expected to gain momentum next year even as several challenges remain. "The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and particularly in 2015," said David Crowe, NAHB chief economist. http://goo.gl/0Ck73b
10/7/2013 12:09:20 PM


Upcoming U.S. - Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013

 


Exclusive 1-on-1 Meetings to be held from September 30th to October 4th for U.S. and leading South Korean companies that are interested in international trade opportunities.

Led by KITA(Korea International Trade Association)‘s Chairman Duck-soo Han, South Korea’s former Prime Minister and Ambassador to the U.S., KITA will be continuing with their international trade partnership event series—The U.S-Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013, which will start off in Seattle on September 30th, continuing in Portland on October 1st, and concluding in San Francisco on October 2nd to the 4th, 2013.

 

“The U.S-Korea Business & Trade Connections 2013 event is perhaps the most ambitious event to date and I am extremely excited about the new opportunities that will result from this event for U.S. and Korean companies alike.” stated Mr. Jungseok Choi, President of KITA New York.

 

Participating at this event are 10 of the leading Korean companies in the leather garment / textiles, frozen seafood, meats & fruits, heavy equipment parts, semiconductor, as well real estate development. KITA events in the past have allowed new import, export and investment opportunities between the U.S. and South Korean markets by providing the unique opportunity to conduct 1-on-1 meetings.

“With the recent implementation of the FTA between the U.S. and South Korea, and the depending relationship between the two countries, the timing has never been more optimal for new business and trade opportunities,” stated Choi, “We are grateful to host this event and to the participating companies from both nations.”

The event details for the three cities are as follows:

 

Seattle, Washington

  • Date/Time: Monday, Sep 30th, 2013, 9AM-8PM
  • Location: The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St, Seattle, WA 98101

Portland, Oregon 

  • Date/Time: Tuesday, Oct 1st, 2013, 2PM-8PM
  • Location: Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, 921 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

San Francisco, California

  • Date/Time: Wednesday, Oct 2nd, 2013, 2PM ~ Friday, Oct 4th, 2013, 5PM
  • Location: Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Buyers, importers, exporters, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, and investors are invited to register for this complimentary event, and for further details on the participating companies, and opportunities or to register to attend, visit http://tradekorea.org

9/18/2013 1:46:21 PM


MMPA Limited Millwork Event in Sacramento
The MMPA's Industry Wide "Limited' Millwork Event kicks off on Sunday, September 8, 2013, in Sacramento, CA with a golf outing followed by an informal gathering at Scott's Seafood Grill & Bar. The event will be held at the Westin Sacramento located on the Sacramento River just south of the downtown and Old Sacramento area. On Monday, September 9, the program begins with a tabletop event riverside followed by keynote speaker, Peter Butzelaar of International Wood Markets Group, delivering a state of the millwork industry presentation. This session will be backed up with a raw material supply panel discussion covering wood, MDF and poly mouldings and millwork.

Tuesday will bring the first day of plant tours. Attendees will visit Setzer Forest Products, Pacific MDF Products and Sierra Pacific Industries Lincoln site. Late Tuesday day afternoon a distribution talk will follow another tabletop session back at the Westin Sacramento. Wednesday has the attendees touring Sunset Moulding Company - Live Oak, Sunset Moulding Company - Chico, and Yuba River Moulding & Millwork. On Thursday, attendees invited to the Sierra Pacific Industries Open House will depart Sacramento to Anderson, CA.

The MMPA office will be closed September 6-13th.

9/6/2013 12:24:02 PM


U.S. home sales hit 5.4M in July, highest since 2009
By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since 2009, previously occupied U.S. homes are selling at a pace associated with a healthy market.

Sales jumped 6.5 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.4 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Over the past 12 months, sales have surged 17.2 percent. The trend shows that housing remains a driving force for the economy even as mortgage rates have risen from record lows.

Buyers have been purchasing previously occupied homes at an annual pace above 5 million for three straight months. The last time that happened was in 2007. Sales are far above the 3.45 million pace of July 2010, the low point after the housing bubble burst. Analysts generally think a healthy sales pace is roughly between 5 and 5.5 million. Full story: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-home-sales-hit-539m-july-highest-09


8/22/2013 2:41:27 PM


Everything you need to know about Obama's latest housing plan

The Washington Post

Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered the third in a series of big economic speeches, this one about housing. Despite a remarkable market recovery, things still need fixing: Millions are stuck in underwater mortgages, parts of the country still have vast tracts of blighted and abandoned land, and several cities have supply crunches so severe that only the wealthy can afford to live there. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still around, under conservatorship, in a state of suspended animation.

Obama’s overall plan is a mix of ideas he’s proposed before and failed to get from Congress, things Congress is working on, things he’s already doing through agencies and executive action, and a few new ideas. Here are the main pieces, which are laid out in most detail here.

Click here for full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/07/obamas-got-a-not-entirely-new-housing-plan-heres-whats-in-it/


8/7/2013 6:42:56 PM


FOMC Preview: Economic Slowdown

By Calculated Risk

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 07:19 AM PDT

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the FOMC statement expected to be released at 2:00 PM ET on Wednesday.

Expectations are the FOMC will take no action at this meeting (the FOMC will probably not adjust the size of their purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities).

Jon Hilsenrath at the WSJ wrote on Thursday: Up for Debate at Fed: A Sharper Easy-Money Message

The Federal Reserve is on track to keep its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program in place at its policy meeting next week, but officials will debate changes to the way the central bank describes its plans for the program and for short-term interest rates.

At their July 30-31 meeting, Fed officials are likely to discuss whether to refine or revise "forward guidance," the words they use to describe their intentions for the next few years.

Any discussion on forward guidance will probably show up in the FOMC minutes, and not in the statement. It is possible that they could lower the unemployment rate threshold, although my guess is the guidance in the statement will remain as follows (Statement from June 19):

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee expects that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the Committee decided to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and currently anticipates that this exceptionally low range for the federal funds rate will be appropriate at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6-1/2 percent, inflation between one and two years ahead is projected to be no more than a half percentage point above the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored.

A key question for the meeting this week is how the FOMC will recognize the weaker incoming data.  Q2 GDP will be released Wednesday morning before the FOMC statement is released, and expectations are for a weak reading (consensus is for 1.1% annualized growth rate in Q2).  For growth, there will probably be some change to the first sentence in the June statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in May suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement in recent months, on balance, but the unemployment rate remains elevated.

Perhaps something like the following, maybe without the "considerably" (from the August 2011 statement):

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that economic growth so far this year has been considerably slower than the Committee had expected.

A key will be to watch the comments on inflation. At the last meeting, James Bullard dissented because he "believed that the Committee should signal more strongly its willingness to defend its inflation goal in light of recent low inflation readings".  From the June meeting:

Partly reflecting transitory influences, inflation has been running below the Committee's longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Since then, it appears inflation has fallen even more.  The recent decline in inflation is probably a growing concern for some FOMC participants.

As a reminder, here are the quarterly projections from the June meeting. If Q2 is close to consensus, GDP would have to be in the 3.3% to 3.9% range in the 2nd half to reach the FOMC projections (a sharp pickup in activity):

GDP projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents

Change in Real GDP1

2013

2014

2015

June 2013 Meeting Projections

2.3 to 2.6

3.0 to 3.5

2.9 to 3.6

1 Projections of change in real GDP and in inflation are from the fourth quarter of the previous year to the fourth quarter of the year indicated.

The unemployment rate was at 7.6% in June, and the outlook for Q4 unemployment probably hasn't changed much (the July unemployment rate will be released on Friday).

Unemployment projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents

Unemployment Rate2

2013

2014

2015

June 2013 Meeting Projections

7.2 to 7.3

6.5 to 6.8

5.8 to 6.2

2 Projections for the unemployment rate are for the average civilian unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of the year indicated.

For inflation, PCE inflation was up 1.0% year-over-year in May, and only increased at a 0.4% annualized rate during the first five months of 2013.  This is below the FOMC projected range.

Inflation projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents

PCE Inflation1

2013

2014

2015

June 2013 Meeting Projections

0.8 to 1.2

1.4 to 2.0

1.6 to 2.0


For core inflation, core PCE inflation was up 1.1% year-over-year in May, and only increased at a 1.1% annualized rate during the first five months of 2013.  To reach the FOMC projections, inflation will have to pickup in the 2nd half of 2013.

Core Inflation projections of Federal Reserve Governors and Reserve Bank presidents

Core Inflation1

2013

2014

2015

June 2013 Meeting Projections

1.2 to 1.3

1.5 to 1.8

1.7 to 2.0


So a key for this statement is how the FOMC addresses the weaker incoming data.

For more information on Calculated Risk and their blog, visit: http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

7/29/2013 2:09:47 PM


Has Fed killed housing, and with it, the economy?

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Has the Federal Reserve strangled the recovery by hinting that it would soon ease back on the throttle?

Will higher mortgage rates stop the housing market in its tracks?

Or is the economy now steady enough that the Fed can take off the training wheels by tapering its bond purchases?

How the economy — and particularly the housing market — handles the spike in interest rates will be a key factor in the timing and pace of the reduction in bond buying by the Fed, which could begin as early as September.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that one of the biggest risks facing the economy right now is that higher interest rates could stop the housing recovery in its tracks. Housing is now the brightest sector of the economy, and if it stumbles badly you can expect the Fed to reverse the taper and buy more bonds. http://goo.gl/YV16F


7/12/2013 1:13:50 PM


Sunset Moulding Company News
Sunset Moulding Company, a manufacturer of solid, FJ, MDF Mouldings & Millwork, and Agricultural Products headquartered in Yuba City, CA, announces the retirement of long time sales veteran Jerry Foote. Jerry has bee in the industry 31 years, over 17 of those in sales with Sunset, We wish him the best in his retirement.

Sunset Moulding is pleased to announce the addition of Chase Morrison to its sales team. Chase has been with the company in a variety of roles for over a year, most recently sale trainee. He is responsible for sales out of Sunset's manufacturing locations; Live Oak & Chico, California and Idabel, Oklahoma. He will be working out of the corporate office and can be reached at 530-790-2787 or
chase@sunsetmoulding.com

6/3/2013 3:49:24 PM


The 5 biggest threats to the housing recovery

It is increasingly clear that the ongoing housing recovery is the real deal. But that doesn't mean that homeowners, and the rest of the U.S. economy, is in the clear.

Despite large gains in home prices, foreclosures drying up and millions of homeowners recovering the equity they'd lost during the subprime crash, a few lingering risks are worth keeping an eye one. And the question with some of these threats isn't if, but when, they will actually occur, and what the reaction will be. STORY: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_162-57584624/the-5-biggest-threats-to-the-housing-recovery/


5/17/2013 12:27:24 PM


AMD receives approval for code change regarding new side-hinged door standard

On Sunday, April 28, 2013, the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) received a unanimous vote of approval from the International Residential Code (IRC) Committee for their ANSI/AMD 100, Structural Performance Ratings of Side-Hinged Exterior Door Systems and Procedures for Component Substitution at the International Code Council Code Development Hearings in Dallas, Texas.  

AMD 100, a new structural performance standard for side-hinged exterior doors (SHEDs) was approved as a code change proposal for the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC).  Jessica Ferris, AMD’s Director of Codes and Standards spoke in support of the proposal stating, “the AMD 100 was developed by consensus as required by the ICC and is ANSI-approved.  It was development by AMD door pre-hanger and manufacturer members in tune with the needs of the building industry and code environment.”

Rosalie Leone, AMD Chief Executive Officer, commented, “today, we have reached a milestone. Our mission behind developing the AMD 100 was to allow for the interchange, or substitution of components, while maintaining a structurally rated system. AMD 100 eases the hardship for the millwork pre-hangers and component manufacturers of having to test each door configuration assembled.   It is rewarding to see our efforts will make a positive difference in the millwork industry”.

The AMD 100 is available on the AMD website, www.AMDweb.com


5/3/2013 12:54:47 PM


Stiles to host Manufacturing Solutions Seminar on June 5

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Stiles Machinery has announced they will conduct a Manufacturing Solutions Seminar in High Point, NC on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The Manufacturing Solutions Seminar promises attendees they will learn how to accelerate their production velocity with the latest technologies, such as CNC machining, sawing, banding, material handling, assembly, and software.

 

“We know it’s important for our customers to see first-hand how intelligent manufacturing helps their business succeed,” stated Bill Pitt, Vice President for Stiles. “With over 60 fully-operational machines in our recently expanded High Point, North Carolina showroom, we offer the ideal environment for our Manufacturing Solution Seminars. “

 

Highlights of the June 5 event will include three unique work cells, each designed to meet specific production needs such as the IntelliStore inventory panel management system for space and labor efficiencies as well as new ideas to help companies be more competitive and profitable given today’s demands for short lead times and short run quantities. Attendees will see in action simple, space saving material handling solutions, parts identification utilizing bar code labels generated in real time as parts are produced and product labels incorporating RFID chips for tracking products through shipping and on to the jobsite.

 

“Our manufacturing seminars are just one of the ways we work hard to provide solutions that will keep our customers’ businesses lean and competitive, and most importantly, successful,” asserted Mr. Pitt. “Because, helping businesses succeed is all we do.”

 

Although there is no cost to attend the free event, advance registration is required. Registration also includes one free night hotel accommodations for guests who will be traveling from out of town. For more information and to register, visitwww.stilesmachinery.com/events.

 

About Stiles Machinery Inc.

For over 45 years, Stiles has been helping manufacturers succeed.  More than the largest supplier of quality machinery, Stiles provides a Total Production Solutions approach by also offering equipment integration, financial services, education, service and parts. By having a wealth of solutions whether defined as people, products or services, Stiles merges the best thinking and the best ideas in a solution that works best for their customers. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stiles has regional offices and service centers in Toms River, New Jersey; High Point, North Carolina; Coppell, Texas; and Rancho Cucamonga, California. For more information, contact Steve Waltman, Vice President of Marketing & Communications.


5/1/2013 2:14:49 PM


Can we afford another housing boom?

Wall Street Journal

Fannie Mae FNMA -3.33% put an exclamation point on the housing rally with last week's announcement of its largest-ever annual profit. The news comes soon after Fannie's cousin, Freddie Mac, FMCC -4.40% announced its own record high. These results may seem like cause for celebration after years of losses at the two taxpayer-backed mortgage giants. But they also underscore the urgent need for reform to ensure that the next real estate boom doesn't end as badly as the last one.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324789504578384682292475750.html


4/14/2013 4:25:52 PM


Home builder stocks soar as housing battles back

CNBC

Housing demand is suddenly roaring back, and the nation's home builders are rushing just to keep up. New orders are soaring, as supplies of existing homes continue to plummet.
 
Stocks of the big builders, which surged even before real recovery began, continue to rise, up nearly 54 percent from a year ago. With room to grow, and after a decade lull, more builders are now going public.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100627586


4/10/2013 3:08:01 PM


Moulding and millwork companies report business is up

DWM / Shelter Magazine

March 11th, 2013 | Category: Featured Content

The Friday agenda at the Moulding and Millwork Producers Association (MMPA) annual meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., took on the heavy issues facing MMPA members. The Thursday sessions painted a (mostly) rosy picture of the overall economy, noting the bright statistics and forecasts for residential construction. Friday’s agenda aimed squarely at addressing how those trends are impacting the moulding and millwork market.

Follow this link for entire story: http://www.dwmmag.com/index.php/moulding-and-millwork-companies-report-business-is-up/#.UT5BH6Ksh8E


3/11/2013 3:41:33 PM


Boxer introduces bill to curb climate change

KQED

President Obama this week urged Congress to act on climate change. Thursday, California Senator Barbara Boxer answered that call, with a new bill to curb carbon pollution.
 
Senator Boxer’s bill would charge a fee for carbon emissions, starting at $20 a ton, and rising over the next decade.
 
"The science is telling us that we can’t waste any more time, and the weather is showing us that we can’t waste any more time," Boxer said.

http://www.kqed.org/news/story/2013/02/14/116384/boxer_introduces_bill_to_curb_climate_change?category=science


2/16/2013 3:09:12 PM


Stiles Machinery to be in Las Vegas Summer 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Stiles Machinery is pleased to announce they will be exhibiting at the 2013 AWFS Fair in Las Vegas. 

 

The 2013 AWFS Fair will be held July 24-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Stiles is excited to support the industry at this year’s event. The company will showcase the newest technology in their 7,000 square foot booth that will be staffed with experts who will be available to discuss solutions to help their customers work smarter, faster, and better.

 

“The woodworking industry is changing and becoming more competitive,” explained Stephan Waltman, Vice President of Stiles. “Many of our customers are discussing the merits and challenges of adding equipment to their shops while others are wondering whether if it’s right for them.” 

 

Stiles is encouraging their customers to attend AWFS to discover and discuss the new, affordable technology available today and how it could impact their business.


2/12/2013 12:20:29 PM


Jobs still lag, but homebuilding may soon help

NPR

Here in the depths of winter, U.S. economic numbers aren't looking so hot. This week, new reports showed growth started to freeze up last fall, and the unemployment rate rose a bit in January, to 7.9 percent.
 
But most economists say you shouldn't let those cold facts fool you: This spring's data could look much brighter if the housing market continues to heat up.

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/01/170764114/jobs-still-lag-but-homebuilding-may-soon-help


2/8/2013 4:07:39 PM


U.S. payrolls rose in January after jumping at end of 2012

Bloomberg

Hiring increased in January after accelerating more than previously estimated at the end of 2012, evidence the U.S. labor market was making progress even as lawmakers quarreled over the federal budget.
 
Payrolls rose 157,000 following a revised 196,000 advance in the prior month and a 247,000 surge in November, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The revisions added a total of 127,000 jobs to the employment count in November and December. The jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-01/payrolls-in-u-dot-s-dot-rose-in-january-after-jumping-at-end-of-2012


2/1/2013 2:03:14 PM


Housing offers hope of strength in the economy

New York Times

A funny thing is happening to the United States housing market. It is getting better at an accelerating rate.
 
And therein could lie hope for a surprisingly strong economy this year.
 
It has been a long time, as the economy worked off the excesses of the boom and cleared out the inventory of homes that should never have been built or were “sold” to people who could not hope to afford the payments. But now the inventory of houses for sale — both new and used — is as low as it has been in decades. Home prices are rising in most markets. Sales have picked up, though they are still low by historical standards.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/business/signs-of-a-housing-recovery-point-to-a-stronger-economy.html?_r=0

1/30/2013 2:28:30 PM


Housing Recovery is more complicated than you think

Forbes

When you stand back and look at the U.S. housing marketplace at the start of 2013, what do you see?

  •  A moderate to strong rebound underway in home prices in many areas, fast turnaround times from listing to sale, and multiple-offer competitions increasing as local home inventories plunge?

Or maybe:

  •  A surprising and sobering stagnation in prices in large swaths of the country, with some areas experiencing lengthy times from listing to sale, despite inventory declines. The softening in these local markets could be significant enough to slow down the overall pace of national price gains this year.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realtorcom/2013/01/22/housing-recovery-is-more-complicated-than-you-think/


1/25/2013 1:03:23 PM


Fiscal cliff deal won't help labor market, economists say

Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers may have avoided another recession by coming to a last-minute deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, but they did little to boost the lackluster labor market, indicating job seekers may have a tough time finding work in the first half of 2013, economists say.
 
Congress did not postpone a scheduled increase in payroll taxes, which means that employed Americans will see less take home pay than they did last year. That means they'll spend less initially while they readjust their budgets to the new reality. Slowing consumer spending will create less demand for goods and services, so "businesses will see less of a need to hire,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist for JPMorgan Chase.
 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release job numbers for December on Friday, and economists expect those numbers to be decent, with businesses and government adding about 150,000 jobs. But that report may be the best for months as businesses pull back in January and in the first quarter of the year because of that reduced demand.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-mn-fiscal-cliff-deal-wont-help-labor-market-economists-say-20130102,0,5152445.story

1/2/2013 4:45:34 PM


California law tests company responses to carbon costs

New York Times

The Morning Star Company’s three plants in California emit roughly 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year — about the same amount as the Pacific Island nation of Palau — as they turn tomatoes into ketchup, spaghetti sauce and juice used by millions of consumers around the world.
 
Beginning Jan. 1, under the terms of a groundbreaking California environmental law known as AB 32, Morning Star and 350 other companies statewide will begin paying for those emissions, which trap heat and contribute to global warming.
 
Companies are trying to figure out how this will affect their bottom lines and have lobbied state regulators to minimize the costs. In the meantime they are weighing their options. Should they stay and adapt or move operations elsewhere? Should they retrofit and innovate to reduce emissions? Should they swallow the regulatory costs or pass them on to customers?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/25/business/energy-environment/california-manufacturers-weigh-costs-of-new-greenhouse-gas-rules.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0


12/26/2012 6:26:08 PM


US housing starts down in November, blame Supestorm Sandy

___________________

Southern California Public Radio

U.S. builders broke ground on fewer houses in November after starting work in October at the fastest pace in four years. Superstorm Sandy likely slowed starts in the Northeast.
 
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that builders began construction of homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That was 3 percent less than October's annual rate of 888,000, the fastest since July 2008.
 
Housing starts fell 5.2 percent in the Northeast in November compared with October. And compared with a year earlier, starts are down nearly 26 percent in the Northeast, the only region to record a drop in the past year.

http://www.scpr.org/blogs/news/2012/12/19/11632/us-housing-starts-down-november-blame-superstorm-s/


12/19/2012 4:35:04 PM


Low housing inventory good news for jobs

U.S. News & World Report

It was only a few years ago when the glut of homes for sale was a critical problem for the economy—excess supply and low housing demand sank home values, resulting in a severe home equity hit for homeowners across the nation and plunging millions into underwater mortgages. This contributed to a vicious cycle of foreclosure, which further bloated housing supply and drove real estate values even lower.
 
The good news is that although foreclosures remain elevated, the housing inventory problem is in the past for most of the nation as an improving labor market and low mortgage rates have revived housing demand. That in turn has positive implications for the job market as another cycle materializes: more jobs in the broader economy fuels more housing demand, and with more housing demand comes more jobs in the housing sector, especially in construction, an industry still languishing in the wake of the bust.

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/home-front/2012/12/07/low-housing-inventory-good-news-for-jobs


12/7/2012 5:41:11 PM


Mapping the material world