Tuesday, February 15, 2011

NAHB Builder Confidence unchanged in February

by Bill McBride on 2/15/2011 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the housing market index (HMI) was unchanged at 16 in February. This was slightly below expectations of an increase to 17. Confidence remains very low ... any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the February release for the HMI and the December data for starts (January housing starts will be released tomorrow).

Both confidence and housing starts have been moving sideways at a very depressed level for over two years.

Press release from the NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged for Fourth Consecutive Month in February

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes remained unchanged at 16 for a fourth consecutive month in February, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.
...
"Builders are telling us that some pockets of optimism have begun to emerge, but many prospective purchasers are concerned about selling their existing home in the current market, or face difficulty securing credit for a home purchase -- even when they are well-qualified," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe
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On a positive note, two out three of the HMI's component indexes edged slightly upward in February. The component gauging current sales conditions improved by two points to 17, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose a single point, to 25. Meanwhile, the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged, at 12.

On a regional basis, HMI scores were mixed in February, with gains reported in two parts of the country and declines in two others. The Northeast registered a two-point gain to 22, the South posted a one-point gain to 18, the Midwest posted a one-point decline to 12 and the West posted a two-point decline to 13.