Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NAHB index still stagnating

The latest National Association of Home Builders survey was just released. The data for April showed ...

* The overall index held steady at 20, the same as in March and February

* The sub-index measuring current home sales dropped 2 points to 18, the lowest since November. However, the sub-index measuring expectations about future sales rose 4 points to 30, the highest since August. The sub-index measuring prospective buyer traffic was unchanged at 19.

* Regionally, the index ticked up to 22 from 21 in the Northeast and to 17 from 15 in the West. It declined to 15 from 16 in the Midwest and to 24 from 26 in the South.

The latest figures from the NAHB show a housing market that's still groping for a bottom. Builders are more optimistic about the future than they've been recently. But readings on buyer traffic and current sales remain weak. In other words, while hope springs eternal, there is little concrete evidence of a rebound in activity. Tighter lending standards, a slumping economy, and worries over future price declines remain very real obstacles.


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