Housing Starts End Year Up Nearly 11%

Daily Real Estate News | The new-home market ended 2015 on a positive note, zooming ahead 10.8 year-over-year and setting the stage for a brighter sector in 2016. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that housing starts nationwide rose to 1.11 million units last year, with single-family starts posting a yearly gain of 10.4 percent to 715,000 units.

“These numbers are in line with what our members are telling us that housing markets are improving, but lot and labor shortages continue to be a problem for many builders,” says Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

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Pre-Recession Gains from home renovations

Houzz.com | More than two-thirds of home renovation firms are reporting that 2015 year-to-date revenues and profits are at or above pre-recession levels. What’s more, one in five firms are reporting revenues and profits are significantly higher, according to the second quarter Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks confidence in the home renovation market among 5,000 industry professionals.

Landscape and outdoor specialty firms are notably the most positive about year-over-year gains, according to the barometer. Also, architects in the West and South are most confident in year-over-year improvements in the home renovation industry.

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These stores announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving this year

When it comes to holiday shopping, some stores open earlier and earlier every year in a phenomenon known as “Black Friday creep.” Other stores, though, have already promised they’ll stay closed this Thanksgiving. Here are the stores that have announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving:

GameStop
P.C. Richard & Son
Staples
Half Price Books
Mattress Firm

Last year, several stores welcomed shoppers on Thanksgiving Day, including Macy’s, which opened its doors at 6 p.m.

Retailers that have opted to give customers a head start on their Black Friday shopping are responding to a “customer-driven trend,” as Macy’s calls it. A 2013 survey found that 38 percent of people would likely shop on Thanksgiving via ABC7NEWS