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Briefs

Home sales and prices rise locally

Northeast Indiana home sales rose 15.8 percent in October, a report Thursday from the Upstate Alliance of Realtors shows.

Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said 602 homes were sold last month, up from 520 in October 2011. The average October sales price of $134,111 is a 23.4 percent increase from $108,660 in the same month last year. For the first 10 months of the year, 5,529 homes were sold, up 10.8 percent from the 4,988 sold during the same period last year.

The average sales price this year is $126,810, up 9.2 percent from the $116,109 average recorded for the same period in 2011.

Columbia City plant’s Navy deal renewed

Erapsco Inc. has been awarded a $9.7 million contract to make 1,800 sonobuoys for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

Sonobuoy sensors allow the Navy to detect, classify and locate other countries’ submarines during combat and peacetime operations.

The order exercises an option from a previously announced contract. The work is expected to be completed by November 2014.

Erapsco is a 50-50 partnership between Undersea Sensor Systems Inc. of Columbia City and Sparton Electronics Inc. of DeLeon Springs, Fla. The contract calls for 53 percent of the work to be done in Columbia City and the rest in DeLeon Springs.

Superstorm pushes jobless claims up

Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 78,000 mostly because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

The storm has affected the claims data for the past two weeks and may distort reports for another two weeks, the department has said.

Consumer prices up on higher rents, gas

Rising food costs and higher rents offset a drop in gas prices last month, leaving consumer inflation all but flat in October.

The consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in October, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s down from sharp gains of 0.6 percent in the previous two months, which were driven by a spike in gas prices that has since receded.

Gas prices fell 0.6 percent last month. Food prices rose 0.2 percent, pushed higher by steep increases in milk and cheese costs.

Excluding volatile food and gas, prices increased 0.2 percent last month.

Foreclosure starts trending down

U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process at a slower pace than a year ago, and fewer properties are being repossessed by lenders, new data show.

Between January and October, 971,533 homes were placed on the path to foreclosure, down 8 percent from the same period last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

At the other end of the foreclosure process, banks repossessed 559,063 homes through the end of last month, a decline of nearly 19 percent from a year earlier.

That puts lenders on pace to complete 650,000 foreclosures this year.

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