June 9, 2010 in Business

In brief: Home sales increase in Spokane County

The Spokesman-Review
 

Home sales in Spokane County rose for the eighth consecutive month compared with 2009 levels, according to May statistics from the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The May total of 519 was up almost 33 percent compared with May 2009. Sales were also marginally ahead of the 505 in April, the last month in which first-time buyers could take advantage of an $8,000 income tax credit.

The average home price of $180,523 was a slight increase from April, and only $1,200 below the May 2009 average. The median price, at $160,747, was off less than 2 percent from April, and just 3.1 percent from May 2009.

“Prices are beginning to stabilize,” said Rob Higgins, association president. “Part of that is interest rates – the best interest rates since Elvis bought his house.”

For the first five months of 2010, home sales increased almost one-third. The average price has declined 7.8 percent, the median price by 5.9 percent.

Bert Caldwell

Fire hazard leads

to second GM recall

Washington – General Motors Co. said Tuesday it was recalling about 1.5 million vehicles worldwide to address a problem with a heated windshield wiper fluid system that could lead to a fire, its second recall over the issue in two years.

The recall affects several pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, crossovers and passenger car models from the 2006 to 2009 model years. GM conducted a similar recall in 2008 but came across new reports of fires in vehicles that had been fixed.

GM said it would disable the heated washer fluid system module that could lead to fires. The Detroit automaker will pay owners and those leasing vehicles $100 each since the feature is being disabled.

Associated Press

GM modifies plans to close dealerships

Detroit – About 900 General Motors dealerships that the company had planned to cut loose appear to be getting a reprieve.

GM North America President Mark Reuss has told the Associated Press that the automaker should wind up with about 5,000 dealers in July. That’s the end of a process that allows dealers to appeal GM’s decision.

The company originally planned to have only 4,100 dealers across the country.

The decision reflects a shift in strategy from GM’s previous regime and could save thousands of jobs.

GM wants to avoid the expense and time of the closures. Reuss and other new leaders at the company also feel shedding dealers isn’t critical for GM to achieve profitability.

Associated Press

Rules would stop ‘flash crashes’

Washington – Regulators are expected to put in place in the coming days new rules aimed at preventing a reoccurrence of last month’s stunning stock market “flash crash.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to approve the rules calling for U.S. stock exchanges to briefly halt trading of some stocks that mark big swings. The rules could take effect at different times for various exchanges, starting a few days after the SEC approval, says a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Associated Press


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