Interest Rate Roundup

Monday, March 19, 2007

NAHB index slumping again...

The National Association of Home Builders' March Housing Market Index (HMI) just hit the wires. Some details...

* The overall index dropped to 36 from 40 a month earlier. That was below the 38 reading expected by economists.

* All three sub-indices dropped. The index measuring present single family sales dropped to 37 from 40, the index measuring expectations for future sales dipped to 50 from 53, and the index measuring prospective buyer traffic fell to 28 from 29.

* Regionally, the biggest drop was in the South (-4 points). The Midwest and West saw 1-point gains, while the Northeast saw a 2-point dip.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we've just received another batch of disappointing housing stats. It's clear that the small housing rebound seen in late 2006 is fading fast under the weight of excessive inventories, rising mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, slumping home prices, and tightening credit standards. Indeed, the NAHB figures just put an exclamation point on my forecast that the 2007 spring selling season will fall flat.


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