NAHB finds builder confidence remains unchanged in September
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged in September from the previous month's low level of 13, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). "In general, builders haven't seen any reason for improved optimism in market conditions over the past month," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "If anything, consumer uncertainty has increased, and builders feel their hands are tied until potential homebuyers feel more secure about the job market and economy." "The stall in the nation's housing market continues," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Builders report that the two leading obstacles to new home sales right now are consumer reluctance in the face of the poor job market and the large number of foreclosed properties for sale. However, we do expect that moderate improvement in the job market will help boost consumer confidence and improve conditions for new-home sales in this year's final quarter." Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number more than 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. Neither the component gauging current sales conditions nor the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months budged in September from their low readings in the previous month, holding at 13 and 18, respectively. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers edged down a single point, to nine. Regionally, HMI readings fell two points in the Northeast and three points in the Midwest, to 16 and 12, respectively. The South posted a two-point improvement to 14 while the West held unchanged, at eight. For more information, visit www.nahb.org.