Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NAHB: Builder Confidence declines sharply in February to 46

by Bill McBride on 2/18/2014 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 46 in February, down from 56 in January. Any number below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

From the NAHB: Poor Weather Puts a Damper on Builder Confidence in February

Unusually severe weather conditions across much of the nation along with continued concerns over the cost and availability of labor and lots resulted in builder confidence in the market for newly-built, single-family homes to post a 10-point drop to 46 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.

Significant weather conditions across most of the country led to a decline in buyer traffic last month,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “Builders also have additional concerns about meeting ongoing and future demand due to a shortage of lots and labor.”

“Clearly, constraints on the supply chain for building materials, developed lots and skilled workers are making builders worry,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The weather also hurt retail and auto sales and this had a contributing effect on demand for new homes.”
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All three of the major HMI components declined in February. The component gauging current sales conditions fell 11 points to 51, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months declined six points to 54 and the component measuring buyer traffic dropped nine points to 31.

Looking at three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West was unchanged at 63 in February while the Midwest registered a one-point decline to 57, the South registered a three-point decline to 53 and the Northeast posted a four-point decline to 38.
emphasis added
HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the NAHB index since Jan 1985.
This was the first reading below 50 since May 2013.