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Monday, December 17, 2007

NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged at Record Low

by Calculated Risk on 12/17/2007 01:11:00 PM

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The NAHB reports that builder confidence was unchanged at a record low 19 in December.
NAHB Housing Market Index
NAHB: Builder Confidence Remains Unchanged For Third Consecutive Month
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes remained unchanged for a third consecutive month in December as problems in the mortgage market and excess inventory issues continued, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The HMI held even at 19 this month, its lowest reading since the series began in January 1985.

“Builders continue to look for signs of improvement in the ongoing mortgage market crisis that is weighing on housing and the overall economy,” said NAHB President Brian Catalde, a home builder from El Segundo, Calif. ...

“Today’s report shows that builders’ views of housing market conditions haven’t changed in the past several months, and there clearly are signs of stabilization in the HMI,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “At this point, many builders are bracing themselves for the winter months when home buying traditionally slows, scaling down their inventories and repositioning themselves for the time when market conditions can support an upswing in building activity – most likely by the second half of 2008.”
In December, the index gauging current sales conditions for single-family homes improved by a single point, to 19, and the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months rose two points to 26. Meanwhile, the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers declined three points to 14.

Regionally, the HMI results were mixed in December. The Midwest and South each posted two-point gains in their HMI readings, to 15 and 21, respectively. The West held even at 18, and the Northeast, which experienced wetter weather conditions than normal in the survey period, posted a seven-point decline to 19. All regions were down on a year-over-year basis.