Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 30° Partly Cloudy
News >  Business

Business briefs: BMW agrees to replace air bags nationwide

From Wire Reports

NEW YORK – BMW has agreed to demands from the government to replace driver’s-side air bags across the entire U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been pushing companies to recall older cars with air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. They can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. At least five deaths have been blamed on Takata inflators.

The decision affects 140,000 BMW 3 Series cars made between January 2004 and August 2006. It says no problems with BMW vehicles have been reported. Earlier this year the company recalled 574,000 cars in the U.S.

BMW is the last automaker to agree to replace air bags in all affected cars nationwide. About 15 million cars have been recalled in the U.S. in total. Initial recalls were limited to states with high levels of humidity, as the NHTSA says the air bag inflator propellant, ammonium nitrate, can burn faster than designed if exposed to prolonged airborne moisture. When that happens, the propellant can blow apart a metal canister meant to contain the explosion.

U.S. home sales hit slowest pace in months

WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans bought homes in November as buying slid to its slowest pace in six months.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes fell 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.93 million. That was down from a revised annual pace of 5.26 million in October. During the past 12 months, sales have risen 2.1 percent.

The combination of higher home prices and relatively stagnant incomes has reduced affordability and restrained buying. A recent decline in mortgage rates has yet to lure more buyers into the market. At the same time, fewer distressed properties and bargains, which tend to attract investors, are coming onto the market.

The Realtors estimate that 2014 sales will end up below 2013 levels. Sales have slumped much of this year after a three-year rally that followed the recession and the implosion of the housing market. Harsh winter weather crippled home buying at the start of 2014. Lower affordability, resulting from tight credit, rising home prices and essentially flat incomes, held back sales for the rest of the year.

The Realtors have estimated that 4.94 million existing homes will be sold this year, down 3 percent from 5.09 million in 2013. Analysts say sales of roughly 5.5 million existing homes are common in a healthy real estate market.

The median price rose 5 percent over the past 12 months to $205,300. That’s a positive for owners looking to sell, though it creates an additional challenge for would-be buyers.

November sales fell in all four major geographic regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.