Palm Harbor Seeking Capital Funding
According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Palm Harbor Homes is experiencing liquidity issues and is currently in discussion with potential lenders and is looking restructure its balance sheet and acquire additional capital funding. Palm Harbor spokesperson Colleen Rogers confirmed the company is looking for a “well-backed financial partner” and that more information will be in a second filing due November 16 as required by law. According to the filing, the company is also reviewing and preparing for available alternatives, including debtor-in-possession financing, a possible sale of assets and a proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to facilitate such a transaction. The filing also indicated the company is in default under its floor plan financing facility with Textron Financial Corporation. Palm Harbor has been in daily discussion with Textron about obtaining a waiver of the defaults. Palm Harbor earlier reported net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 totaled $74.8 million compared with $110.7 million in the year-earlier period. Palm Harbor reported an operating loss of $6.6 million for the second quarter compared with an operating loss of $4.4 million in the same period last year. On November 11, Zack’s Investment Research reported that shares of Palm Harbor Homes traded at a new 52-week low of $0.64 the day before. Approximately 653,000 shares have traded hands November 10 vs. average 30-day volume of 27,000 shares. Palm Harbor Homes closed at $0.68, approximately 52.2 percent below its 50-day moving average of $1.42. Look for a full report and future updates at http://mhmsm.com/c/13.
Home Sales Fall 25 Percent in Third Quarter
Fully half of metropolitan areas tracked in the third quarter continued to show modest home price increases from a year ago, despite a sharp decline in home sales after the deadline for the home buyer tax credit, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors. In the third quarter, 77 out of 155 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had higher median existing single-family home prices in comparison with the third quarter of 2009, including 11 with double-digit increases; two were unchanged and 76 metros showed price declines. In the third quarter of 2009, only 30 MSAs experienced annual price gains. The national median existing single-family price was little changed at $177,900 in the third quarter, down 0.2 percent from $178,200 in the third quarter of 2009. As expected, total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, fell 25.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.16 million in the third quarter from a surge of 5.57 million in the second quarter driven by the home buyer tax credit; they were 21.2 percent below the 5.28 million-unit pace in the third quarter of 2009. Year-to-date, there were 3.79 million existing-home sales, essentially unchanged from 3.77 million at this point in 2009.
Mortgage Rates at New Lows
Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey Thursday, which found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and the 15-year set new records for all-time lows. The 5-year Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) also reached another new low in the survey while the 1-year ARM remained at its nadir. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.17 percent with an average 0.8 point for the week ending November 11, 2010, down from last week when it averaged 4.24 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.91 percent. The 15-year this week averaged 3.57 percent with an average 0.8 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.63 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year averaged 4.36 percent. Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac said despite historically low mortgage rates, however, the housing recovery continues to be slow owing in part to household job uncertainty and tight credit conditions.
Foreclosure Activity Decreases Four Percent in October, Brace for November
RealtyTrac released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report™ for October, 2010 Thursday which shows foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 332,172 properties in October, a four percent decrease from the previous month and almost exactly the same total reported in October, 2009. One in every 389 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month. “October marks the 20th consecutive month where more than 300,000 U.S. homeowners received a foreclosure notice,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer at RealtyTrac. “The numbers probably would have been higher except for the fallout from the recent ‘robo-signing’ controversy—which is the most likely reason for the 9 percent monthly drop in REOs we saw from September to October and which may result in further decreases in November.”
Modular Home Becomes Community Resource Center
An energy-efficient modular home built by Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College students has been transformed by the City of Asheville, NC into a community police resource center. Students in Construction Management Technology oversaw the construction of a NC Healthy Built modular home by Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Welding and CAD Technology students. The building was designed and constructed at a manufacturing facility adjacent to the College’s Enka site. “Building modular units involves utilizing technologies on the cutting edge of the housing industry,” said Ken Czarnomski, Construction Management Technology Chair. “I wanted to use the skills of as many departments as we could. Total student involvement was what we set out to accomplish.” The A-B Tech house utilizes super-insulated box-beam headers, closed-cell foam insulation, natural clay plaster, spacing for more room for insulation, as well as a flex design to fit the needs of the police department. “In late February 2009, conversation and negotiations began with the assistant manager and chief of police for the City of Asheville to purchase the home,” said Max Queen, Vice President of Administrative Services at the College. A year later, the Asheville Police Department opened its 2,500-square-foot Oakley Police Resource Center that serves 43 patrol officers who work in the community. The building replaces a 100-year-old structure in need of significant repair and renovation.
Modular Masterpiece Rising at Temple University
The web site InHabitat says a housing project at Temple University in Philadelphia could serve as the poster child for modular housing. The Modules at TempleTown by Interface Studio Architects, is a five-story apartment building constructed from modular boxes and was finished off with a green roof, rain garden, bike garage and is expected to earn LEED Silver certification. The report says the building is expected to be the largest modular LEED-certified building in the country. From start to finish, the entire project was constructed within nine months and design took about three months, bringing the total project timeline to one year.
Markets started the day sharply lower Thursday, recovered somewhat mid-day then continued the plunge, ending down 72 points. Bad news from Cisco lead techs stocks lower and a disappointing report from Disney added another sour note to the day. The subject of our lead story, Palm Harbor Homes, declined more than 20 percent during the trading day to close at 55 cents a share. The Manufactured Housing Composite Value was down just under one percent. Barnes Group, Nobility Homes and Skyline Corp closed the trading day with modest gains.