In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NAHB: Builder Confidence Falls to Record Low in October

by Calculated Risk on 10/16/2007 01:00:00 PM

Click on graph for larger image.

The NAHB reports that builder confidence fell to 18 in October, from 20 in September.
NAHB Housing Market Index
NAHB: Builder Confidence Erodes Further In October
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes was further shaken in October due to continuing problems in the mortgage market, substantial inventories of unsold units and the perceived effect that negative media coverage is having on potential buyers, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The HMI fell two more points to 18 in October, its lowest point since the series began in January of 1985.

“Builders in the field are reporting that, while their special sales incentives are attracting interest among consumers, many potential buyers are either holding out for even better deals or hesitating due to concerns about negative and confusing media reports on home values,” said NAHB President Brian Catalde.

“Consumers are still trying to sort out market realities and get the best deals they can,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Many prospective buyers may very well have unrealistic expectations regarding new-home prices as well as how much they can expect to receive for their existing homes. When the market is in proper balance, people can recognize a good deal when it comes along; at this point, they view a good deal as a moving target.”

The positive news from today’s report, said Seiders, is that builder expectations for sales conditions in the next six months held steady at 26. “Builders believe they are taking the right steps to reduce inventories and position themselves for the market recovery that lies ahead,” he said. “Indeed, NAHB’s housing forecast indicates that home sales should stabilize within the next six months and show significant improvement during the second half of next year.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as either “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Two out of three component indexes of the HMI declined in October. The index gauging current single-family home sales and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers each declined two points, to 18 and 15, respectively, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months remained unchanged at 26.

Regionally, the West accounted for a substantial portion of the decline in builder confidence this month, with a four-point reduction in its HMI to 14. The Northeast and South each reported one-point declines to 26 and 21, respectively, while the Midwest posted a two-point gain to 15.