Business briefs for May 24, 2011.

Home sales slow across metro area

The Kansas City area had a nine-and-a-half month supply of new and existing homes on the market in April, a slight increase from March, according to the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors and Heartland Multiple Listing Service.

The Realtors group decribes five- to six-month supply of homes as a balanced market, and anything longer favors buyers.

Still, new home prices have spiked in Jackson County, hitting an average of $301,224 in April, up 25.7 percent from April 2010. Across the nine-county metro area, the average for a new home is $317,909, a 10 percent jump in a year.

But existing homes – which outsell new homes in the area 13 to one – continue to fall in price. The average metro price was $148,623 in April, down 7 percent in a year. In Jackson County, existing-home prices fell 10.3 percent, to $102,445.

There were 1,474 new homes on metrowide market in April, down 1 percent from March, and there were 15,986 existing homes on the market, a 4 percent increase. In April, 139 new homes and 1,892 existing homes were sold, decreases of 29 percent and 23 percent respectively compared with a year ago.

Golden Living Center new executive director

Tonia Carroll, RN, BSN, has been appointed executive director of the Golden Living Center in Independence. She has been director nursing services there since 2008.

There will be a reception for her from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the center, 17451 E. Medical Center Parkway.

For more information, call Melissa Bauman at 816-373-7795.

New phone directory

The 2011-12 Independence telephone directory from Summit Publications will be delivered to homes and businesses in the coming weeks.

It has a new look, with a scenic photograph on the cover instead of the predominantly white cover. Summit Publications is based in Kearney, Mo., and has an office in Independence.

Wal-Mart profits up

Wal-Mart has posted increased sales and profits for the quarter ending April 30.

Net sales were $103.4 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent from the first quarter last year, although same-store sales were down. Earnings per share were 98 cents, up from 87 cents in the same quarter a year ago.

Walmart International net sales were up 11.5 percent, with all countries except Japan – suffering from the March earthquake and tsunami – showing increases.

The company has declared an annual dividend of $1.46 per share for this fiscal year, a 21 percent increase over last year.