Industry Watch

INDUSTRY WATCH

October 31, 2004

Garwyn Oaks center to hold a workshop on buying houses

The Garwyn Oaks Housing Resource Center will sponsor a free home-buying workshop next month.

Real estate professionals will offer information about selecting, qualifying for and purchasing a home.

The workshop is to begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 11 at 2508 Garrison Blvd.

Information and registration: 410-947-0084.

Pulte Homes chief expects prices to continue rising

Pulte Homes Inc., the third-largest U.S. homebuilder by stock market value, expects a continued increase in the average selling price for homes, Chief Executive Officer Richard Dugas Jr. said.

"I think from here it will go up for awhile," Dugas said during an interview last week.

Pulte's average selling price for a home rose 11 percent in the third quarter to $290,000, the company said Monday.

Realtors to create index of home-resale contracts

The National Association of Realtors will release a new indicator next year that tallies contracts for sales of existing homes, which the group says will give a more timely look at the housing market.

The gauge, the pending home sales index, will be issued March 7 and reflect contracts signed the month before, spokesman Walter Molony said.

The Washington-based group's current report on resales follows closings, which may lag behind contract signings by more than a month.

Sales of new homes, measured by the Commerce Department, are tallied after a contract is signed.

The new indicator from the real estate group will speed up estimates of combined sales.

The new gauge is a result of a meeting between the association and the Federal Reserve "a couple of years ago" to find a way to get more current information on home sales, Molony said. "We think this will be a very important indicator eventually," Molony said.

Existing-home sales make up 85 percent of the housing market.

Bullock wins lawsuit against homebuilder

Actress Sandra Bullock won her lawsuit against her homebuilder. After deliberating for five days, a jury in Travis County, Texas, awarded her about $6.5 million in damages and about $1.4 million in attorneys' fees for what it agreed was shoddy construction on a 10,000-square-foot house there.

Bullock and the builder sued one another over the house, on which construction began in 1998. It was never occupied.

Bullock claims the house is unlivable because, among other things, the roof is leaky and the framing of the roof is unstable.

The builder claims that Bullock owes him money. He also said he would appeal the decision.

From staff, Bloomberg News and Chicago Tribune reports. The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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