Business Roundup: Home starts up 25% in October, H&E opens 77th branch, United Rental adds 7 sites, Noble Iron sells off Houston operations

Home starts jump 25% in October with surge in multi-family building

Following two consecutive months of decreases, construction starts on homes in the U.S. jumped 25 percent in October largely due to a huge increase in multi-family starts.

Home starts are at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.323 million, an increase of 23 percent over the October 2015 level, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department.

Leading the way was a 75-percent jump in starts on multi-family homes to a rate of 445,000. The rate is up 28 percent over the October 2015 level.

Single-family starts saw a sizable increase as well, up 11 percent to a rate of 869,000. That mark is 23 percent above the year-ago mark.

Building permits, a good barometer of how the homebuilding industry is trending, were up for the month, rising 0.3 percent during October to a rate of 1.229 million. Permits are up 4.6 percent from the October 2015 estimate.

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New Georgia branch marks 77th H&E Equipment Services location

Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based H&E Equipment Services, founded in 1961, has opened a new branch in Suwanee, Georgia, marking the 77th location in its network and its third in Georgia.

The 19,125-square-foot facility will serve the north Atlanta and northern Georgia market with rentals, new and used sales, in-shop and mobile service and training opportunities.

The new location features a fenced and paved yard area, offices, parts warehouse and eight-bay repair shop.

It will offer aerial lifts, telescopic forklifts, earthmoving and general construction equipment from Atlas Copco, Doosan, Gehl, Genie, John Deere, JLG, Magnum, Miller, Multiquip, Okada, Skyjack, Skytrak, Sullair, Takeuchi, Wacker Neuson and Yanmar.

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United Rentals adds 7 sites to specialty branch dealer network in North America

United Rentals has expanded its specialty branch dealer network in North America by adding six locations in the U.S. and one in Canada. This brings the total specialty openings to 14 for 2016.

“Our latest branch openings complete our plan for 14 new specialty locations in 2016, as part of our ongoing strategic expansion,” says Paul McDonnell, senior vice president of specialty operations. “In addition to strong standalone demand, we are cross-selling specialty rentals to our large construction and industrial customers. Our specialty offerings represent some of our most important growth opportunities, and we’ll continue to invest accordingly.”

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Noble Iron sells off its equipment rental and sales operations in Houston

Noble Iron is selling its equipment sales and rental business, Noble Rents, in Houston, Texas, to an undisclosed “arm’s length third party” for $6.24 million.

The sale, according to Noble Iron founder, chairman and CEO Nabil Kassam, is due to a faltering economy in Houston and the small size of their operations there.

“We feel this sale is positive as it is an opportunity to reduce outstanding debt and to better position us to focus on scaling our software and equipment logistics and fulfillment operations in Southern California as we enter into 2017,” he says. “We at Noble Iron are committed to executing our goal of offering regional construction professionals the most comprehensive selection of equipment and services on-demand, because of a synergistic combination of our logistics infrastructure, equipment service capability, shared asset marketplace, and state-of-the-art software.”

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