Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Builder Confidence declines slightly in February to 46

by Bill McBride on 2/19/2013 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) decreased 1 point in February to 46. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Virtually Unchanged in February

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was virtually unchanged in February with a one-point decline to 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.
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“Having risen strongly in 2012, the HMI hit a slight pause in the beginning of this year as builders adjusted their expectations to reflect the pace at which consumers are moving forward on new-home purchases,” observed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The index remains near its highest level since May of 2006, and we expect home building to continue on a modest rising trajectory this year.”
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Holding above the critical mid-point of 50 for a third consecutive month, the HMI component gauging current sales conditions fell by a single point to 51 in February. Meanwhile, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose by one point, to 50, and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers slipped four points, to 32.

Three-month moving averages for each region’s HMI score were mixed in February, with the Northeast up three points to 39 and the West up four points to 55 and the Midwest and South each down two points, to 48 and 47, respectively.
HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image.

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). This was below the consensus estimate of a reading of 48.

Housing Investment and Construction Graphs

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