Average home-sale price up 9 percent from year ago

The average month-over-month Tucson home-sale price was flat in April, but up more than 9 percent from a year ago.

Data from the Tucson Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service shows the average sale price last month was $192,160.

The number of homes sold in April was 1,323 compared with 1,329 in March, but new listings were up for the month from 1,931 in March to 1,979 in April.

And, for the first time this year, conventional loan sales - at 36.2 percent - exceeded cash sales - at 34.8 percent, the data show.

Gabriela Rico

Get a city building permit and you'll get a present

Applying for a new-construction permit is about to get a lot more exciting.

Beginning Tuesday, Tucson's Planning and Development Services Department will be joining municipalities across the globe in observing Building Safety Month.

To celebrate, the city is handing out free smoke detectors to anyone who fills out a new-construction permit. And to ratchet up the fun, folks can enter a drawing to win some free carbon monoxide detectors for the home or office.

The annual campaign provides local building-code officials a forum to stress the integral role building codes and competent administration play in maintaining safe and sustainable structures.

"Building safety is critical to the health and smart growth of our community," Ernie Duarte, director of Planning and Development Services, said in a news release. "One of our department's priorities is to ensure that construction in the city is done according to council-adopted codes to protect the people who will be occupying and using the building."

This year's themes span a broad spectrum of concerns that include fire safety, disaster safety and mitigation, backyard and pool safety, and energy and green building.

Darren DaRonco

BBB's Torch Awards honor 10 S. Arizona companies

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona recognized 10 local companies at the 2013 Torch Awards Luncheon Thursday at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort.

• The Ethics Award. Winner: Empire Today. Finalists: Patio Pools & Spas; Green Valley Cooling & Heating.

• The Good Neighbor Award. Winner: Snell & Wilmer, LLP. Finalists: Randall & Richards; Nextrio, LLC; EffortlessHR Inc.

• Customer Excellence Award. Winner: Golden Eagle Distributors. Finalists: Pima Dermatology; Brakemax Car Care Centers.

More than 70 Southern Arizona businesses were nominated overall.

Arizona Daily Star


Dollar eclipses 100 yen for first time in 4 years

The dollar continued to soar above 100 Japanese yen on Friday, driven by aggressive credit-easing aimed at reviving Japan's sluggish economy and improved U.S. economic figures.

The dollar broke through the 100-yen barrier on Thursday for the first time since April 2009. The move lifted Japanese stocks to their highest level in more than five years. By late Friday the dollar was at 101.61 yen.

The weaker yen is a boon to Japan's major auto and electronics exporters. The government said the yen's fall signaled that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy mix of increased public spending and aggressive monetary easing, dubbed "Abenomics," was proving successful. Kick-starting the economy has been Abe's top priority since he took office late last year.

Icahn, Southeastern offer new Dell takeover plan

One of the biggest critics of Michael Dell's plan to take the company he founded private launched a fresh challenge to that $24.4 billion bid and said Friday that the slumping PC maker needs new leadership.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn teamed with Dell's largest independent shareholder, Southeastern Asset Management, to pitch a deal that would let Dell shareholders keep their stake in the company and give them either $12 per share in cash or additional shares.

Icahn and Southeastern said this alternative, which would keep the company publicly traded, gives shareholders a stake in future company gains, according to a May 9 letter sent to Dell's board.

April surplus of $113B eases year's budget deficit

The U.S. government reported a rare surplus of $113 billion for April - the largest in five years and a sign of the nation's improving finances.

Steady economic growth and higher tax rates have boosted tax revenue in recent months, keeping this year's annual budget deficit on pace to be the smallest since 2008. A smaller deficit is also likely to give negotiators more time to work out a deal on raising the nation's borrowing limit.

Through the first seven months of the budget year, the deficit was $488 billion, according to the Treasury, far below last year's deficit of $720 billion over the same period.

The Associated Press