Monday, December 15, 2008

NAHB Index Stays at Record Low

by Bill McBride on 12/15/2008 12:56:00 PM

Residential NAHB Housing Market Index This graph shows the builder confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The builder confidence index was at 9, tying the record low set in November.

Usually housing bottoms look like a "V"; this one will probably look more like an "L". (this refers to activity like starts and sales, but will probably also be apparent in the confidence survey).

Press release from the NAHB: Builder Confidence Remains At Record Low In December

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes held at a record low in December as deepening economic turmoil, a deteriorating job market, and an ongoing flow of foreclosed homes onto the market continued to negatively impact sales conditions. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) did not budge this month from November’s all-time low reading of 9, with two out of three component indexes losing further ground.

“The crisis continues,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W. Va. “While builders are doing everything we can in the way of price and non-price incentives to move new homes off the books, buyers are afraid to move forward, and in any case there is almost no way to compete with the cut-rate product that is continually flooding the market from mounting foreclosures.” ...

“We have seen no improvement over the past month in terms of sales conditions for new homes,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In fact, certain factors have gotten progressively worse, not the least of which is the job market, where massive layoffs are having a devastating effect on consumer confidence.” ...

Two out of three of the HMI’s component indexes registered some further deterioration in December. The index gauging current sales conditions and the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months each declined to new record lows, falling one point to 8 and two points to 16, respectively. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers held at a record low of 7 for the month.

Two out of four regions posted declining builder confidence readings in December, with the Midwest and South edging down one point and two points, to 6 and 10, respectively. The Northeast held even with the previous month’s 11 reading, while the West posted a one-point gain to 7.

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