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FYI

BRIEFLY.....

With romantic ambiance in the air and Valentine's Day right around the corner, fireplaces and hearth products provide an atmosphere many consumers desire. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, nearly half of all U.S. homes have at least one fireplace or freestanding stove.

With hearth fast becoming a staple of American homes, there's no wonder new home buyers rank hearth among the top three features desired in their new home, that's after outdoor porches and upgraded kitchens, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

So whether celebrating Valentine's Day or simply seeking warmth on a chilly day, hearth and hearth products are something that consumers can warm up to in these winter months.

Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3r Sept.r Oct.r Nov.p
2006 2007
r = revised; p = preliminary
Covers most short- and intermediate-term credit extended to individuals, excluding loans secured by real estate.
Nonrevolving credit includes automobile loans and all other loans not included in revolving credit, such as loans for mobile homes, education, boats, trailers or vacations. These loans may be secured or unsecured.
Source: Federal Reserve
Total 4.5% 4.7% 5.3% 6.5% 2.6% 1.0% 7.4%
Revolving 7.8 5.4 6.8 8.8 6.0 8.5 11.3
Nonrevolving 2.6 4.4 4.5 5.2 0.6 -3.5 5.1


Permits United States Northeast Midwest South West
November '07 numbers are preliminary
Source: Bureau of the Census and National Assn. of Realtors
November '07 1,152 128 189 576 259
Change from Nov. '06 -24.6% -11.7% -18.2% -28.0% -26.2%
Starts
November '07 1,187 128 202 601 256
Change from Nov. '06 -24.2% -16.3% -11.0% -27.4% -28.3%
New home sales
November '07 647 46 92 352 157
Change from Nov. '06 -34.4% -28.1% -38.7% -34.3% -33.8%
Existing home sales
November '07 5,000 870 1,180 1,990 960
Change from Nov. '06 -20.0% -19.4% -16.9% -19.4% -25.0%


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