Monday, August 15, 2011

NAHB Builder Confidence index unchanged in August, Still Depressed

by Calculated Risk on 8/15/2011 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the housing market index (HMI) was unchanged in August at 15, the same level as in July. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged in August

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged at a low level of 15 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for August, released today.
...
"Builders continue to confront the same major challenges they have seen over the past year, including competition from the large inventory of distressed homes on the market, inaccurate appraisal values, and issues with their buyers not being able to sell an existing home or qualify for favorable mortgage rates because of overly tight underwriting requirements," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. He noted that 41 percent of respondents to a special questions section of the HMI indicated they had lost sales contracts due to buyers' inability to sell their current homes.
...
Two out of three of the HMI's component indexes posted marginal gains in August. The component gauging current sales conditions gained one point to 16 – its highest level since March of this year – and the component gauging traffic of prospect buyers rose one point to 13 following two consecutive months at 12. However, the component gauging sales expectations for the next six months declined two points to 19, partially offsetting a six-point gain from the last month's revised number.
HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the August release for the HMI and the June data for starts (July housing starts will be released tomorrow).

Both confidence and housing starts have been moving sideways at a very depressed level for several years.