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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

NAHB: Builders Remain Cautious

by Calculated Risk on 2/19/2008 01:00:00 PM

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The NAHB reports that builder confidence was at 20 in February, up from 19 in January.
NAHB Housing Market Index
Here are the individual components.

NAHB: Builders Remain Cautious as Buyer Traffic Improves in February
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes edged marginally higher in February as traffic of prospective buyers through model homes improved considerably, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The HMI rose a single point to 20 this month, still close to its recent historic low reading of 18 (the series began in January of 1985).

“While builders remain very cautious about the outlook for new-home sales given today’s economic environment, the fact that more consumers appear to be checking out their options is a good sign,” said Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. and the newly elected 2008 president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
“Some potential buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are starting to at least research a new home purchase given improving affordability factors and the large selection of units on the market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “That said, builders know there’s a difference between people looking and people buying, and their current outlook remains quite subdued. Additional stimulative measures on the legislative and policy side are definitely needed to bolster consumer confidence and help bring about a housing and economic recovery.”
In February, the index gauging current sales conditions for single-family homes rose one point to 20, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months declined one point to 27. Meanwhile, the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers rose five points to 19, its highest level since July of 2007.

Three out of four regions posted HMI gains for the month, including a three-point gain to 24 in the Northeast, a two-point gain to 24 in the South and a 2-point gain to 15 in the West. The Midwest registered no change for the month at 16.