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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged at Near Record Lows

by Calculated Risk on 4/15/2008 01:00:00 PM

Click on graph for larger image.

The NAHB reports that builder confidence was at 20 in April, unchanged from 20 in March. Usually housing bottoms look like a "V"; this one will probably look more like an "L". (this refers to activity like starts and sales, but will probably also be apparent in the confidence survey).
NAHB Housing Market Index
Here are the individual components.

From NAHB: Builder Confidence Remains Unchanged In April
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes remained unchanged for a third consecutive month in April, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The HMI held at 20, up marginally from the record low of 18 set in December of 2007 (the series began in January of 1985).

With the traditional home buying season now well underway, we have not seen the bump in sales activity that we normally would this time of year,” said Sandy Dunn, NAHB president and a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. “At this point, all eyes are on Congress and its efforts to craft meaningful legislation to help support the housing market and stabilize our nation’s economy before it heads deeper into recession.”
emphasis added
Also from the NAHB: Nation Now In Mild Recession, Says NAHB Chief Economist
The deepening slump in the nation’s housing markets has seriously eroded consumer sentiment and pushed the economy into a mild recession, according to the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“The worse-than-anticipated housing downturn, combined with systematic weakening of the labor market and rapidly rising energy and food prices, has taken a heavy toll on American consumers,” said NAHB’s David Seiders. “It’s now clear that we have entered what we anticipate will be a mild recession, running through the first half of this year, and there are substantial downside risks to this economic scenario.”
Given the ongoing erosion in housing finance markets and buyer demand, Seiders has adjusted NAHB’s official housing forecast to indicate continuing downward movement in housing starts through the end of 2008, bringing the decline for the year to 30 percent. A month ago, Seiders expected housing starts to bottom out in the third quarter, with a 27 percent decline for 2008.

“This change in our forecast indicates that, barring immediate action by Congress to stimulate housing and the economy, the housing sector will continue to be a serious drag on economic growth until the beginning of 2009,” Seiders said.