Monday, July 18, 2011

NAHB Builder Confidence index increases in July, Still Depressed

by Bill McBride on 7/18/2011 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the housing market index (HMI) increased to 15 in July from 13 in June. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Gains Two Points in July

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose two points to 15 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for July, released today. The gain largely offsets a three-point dip recorded in June, and marks the ninth time out of the past 10 months in which the index has held within the same three-point range.
...
"We view the upward movement in the July HMI as a correction from an exceptionally weak number in June that was at least partly attributable to negative economic news and the close of a disappointing spring selling season," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "The strong rebound in sales expectations for the next six months likewise marks a return to trend. Basically, the market continues to bounce along the bottom, with conditions in some locations beginning to improve."
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Two out of three of the HMI's component indexes rebounded in July from declines in the previous month. The component gauging current sales conditions rose two points to 15, returning to its May level, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose seven points to 22, which is where it stood in April. The component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held even with the previous month, at 12.
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 July release for the HMI and the May data for starts (June housing starts will be released tomorrow).

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