Statewide: Triad region, May 2015

 In 2015-05

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Bargain basements

Homeowners in Guilford County have more reason to be smiling these days. The median price of homes sold in the Greensboro-High Point area increased 14% between February 2014 and February 2015, the seventh-best gain among the nation’s metro areas with more than 500,000 people, according to Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac. The median price stayed flat during the previous year, a period when many areas reported double-digit gains. Greensboro home prices bottomed out in February 2012. But they remain about 19% below the peak in July 2006, while sales prices in Charlotte and Raleigh average about 7% to 8% less than previous records, says Daren Blomquist, a RealtyTrac vice president. Home-price changes stem from economic trends, housing supply and, in recent years, demand for single-family homes from investors who pay cash and then rent the properties, he says. The latter trend is particularly noticeable in North Carolina, where institutional investors made up 8.6% of total sales during the last quarter of 2014, more than every state except Georgia, according to RealtyTrac. Even if they buy less than 10% of the homes for sale, they help inflate prices by competing with other buyers. The investors, who include hedge funds and large financial companies, typically focus on homes valued at $150,000 to $200,000, Blomquist says. Greensboro has a big supply of such homes. The median sales price of about $114,000 in February for homes there was 28% lower than the Charlotte area and 38% lower than in Raleigh, and it was 12th lowest among the 92 metro areas studied by RealtyTrac.

Briefs

HIGH POINTPackrite will invest $8.9 million and add 100 jobs to the 78 at its local plant, where it makes products including cereal boxes and ice cream containers. The new jobs will pay an average annual wage of about $34,000, lower than Guilford County’s $43,642. The privately owned company, founded here in 2008, will receive up to $100,000 in state grants if it meets job-creation goals.

WINSTON-SALEM — Karen “Bobbi” Carbone stepped down as president and chief operating officer of Wake Forest Baptist Health, a division of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, after eight months in the position. Kevin High, chairman of the department of internal medicine, will become executive vice president of health systems affairs and will assume Carbone’s responsibilities. The medical center also named Chad Eckes chief financial officer. Eckes has served as chief information officer since he joined the medical center in March 2014. He replaces Mike Rutherford, who held the position on an interim basis for one year.

GREENSBOROGreensboro Partnership named Brent Christensen president and CEO. Christensen, 45, served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority since 2012 and has worked in economic development for 20 years. He replaces Pat Danahy, who retired in December (Statewide, October).

DENTONCouncill Company will close its furniture-manufacturing plants and supporting operations here by July 31, and 121 workers will lose their jobs. Founded in 1973, the company was sold to Hickory-based Hancock & Moore in 2005. Hickory-based RHF Investments, parent of Century Furniture, is buying Hancock & Moore for an undisclosed amount and will make Councill-branded furniture at its Century plants.

WINSTON-SALEMBB&T joined nine lenders to form the Regional Bank Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based group that opposes federal Dodd-Frank Act requirements for regional banks. The coalition says smaller banks don’t carry the same risk as larger ones and shouldn’t be subject to the same regulation.

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