Home Sales Rise in April
SPRINGFIELD — Home sales in the Pioneer Valley increased 23.4% in April, from 299 to 369, over the same month in 2009. The median price brought by those homes, however, fell slightly by 1.1%, from $182,000 in April 2009 to $180,000 last month. In Hampden County, sales were up 20.1%, from 214 in April 2009 to 257 in April 2010, while in Hampshire County, sales were up 17.5%, from 63 homes in April 2009 to 74 last month. And in Franklin County, sales were up 72.7%, from 22 to 38.
Business Confidence Index Rises Slightly
BOSTON — The Associated Industries of Mass. Business Confidence Index rose seven-tenths of a point in April to 47.5, 12.1 above its level in April 2009. “Progress continues to be slow, with setbacks along the way, but there’s no doubt that 12 gains in 14 months represents a trend toward recovery,” said Raymond G. Torto, global chief economist at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. and chair of AIM’s board of economic advisors (BEA). “Respondents to our survey remain notably more positive about business conditions for their own operations than about the general business climate in Massachusetts and the nation.” Torto noted that AIM members rate business conditions within the Commonwealth slightly better than those prevailing nationally. “This has been true consistently throughout the recession and now as we head into recovery,” he said. “The Massachusetts economy has by no means escaped the full impact of the downturn, but some other states have fared much worse, and we have significant assets, such as our education system and research base, that provide a strong foundation for recovery.” The AIM Index was 2.6 points below its level in April 2008, when it was last above 50 (neutral), and off 6.4 over three years. The highest reading in its 18-year-plus history was 68.5, attained on two occasions in 1997-98; its all-time low was 33.3 in February 2009. The Massachusetts Index of conditions within the Commonwealth added 3.6 points in April to 44.2, as the U.S. Index of national conditions gained 1.7 points to 40.6. “A plurality of survey respondents [52%] put in-state conditions in the ‘average’ range, but only 9% called them ‘good,’” said Fred Breimyer, regional economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and a BEA member. “Even for six months out [October], only 24% foresaw positive general business conditions in Massachusetts, and the national number [21%] was lower — so this shapes up as a slow recovery from a long recession.”
Lighthouse Celebrates Silver Anniversary
SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Lighthouse community, supporters, mental-health advocates, and community leaders gathered to celebrate the organization’s silver anniversary on May 12 at the Springfield Sheraton Monarch Place Hotel. The anniversary celebration featured remarks from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, city of Springfield Equal Opportunity Officer Daniel Hall, and Lighthouse members who highlighted the significant impact that the organization has made on the city and region. In fiscal year 2010 alone, Lighthouse members earned $13.2 million in wages and contributed significantly to the local and statewide economies. Established in 1985 by Human Resources Unlimited, Lighthouse is an internationally accredited and certified rehabilitation organization. Lighthouse supports men and women who are recovering from mental illness by helping them return to work, school, and their community.
SHA and Partners Open New Health Care Center for Forest Park Seniors
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Housing Authority (SHA) has joined forces with area health care, civic, and nonprofit organizations to start a new health care center for seniors living in the Forest Park neighborhood. The Forest Park Manor Activity Center, which held a grand opening on April 23, provides medical and health services such as blood-pressure screenings, nutritional programs, and physical-fitness instruction, including low-impact exercise classes. “This center provides an array of much-needed health care services and benefits to seniors, both in the Springfield Housing Authority and the surrounding community,” said SHA Executive Director William Abrashkin. “This is tangible evidence of the success of collaborative efforts. Several organizations pooled ideas and resources to make the Forest Park Manor Activity Center a reality. We all feel that this is just the beginning, and we look forward to joining together again in the future for the benefit of our community.”