NAHB index dips in May
* The overall index slipped to 19 this month from 20 in April. Economists were expecting an unchanged reading. The cycle low (so far) was 18 in December.
* The sub-index measuring current home sales fell 1 point to 17, a fresh cycle low. The sub-index measuring expectations about future sales dropped 3 points to 27. And the sub-index measuring prospective buyer traffic slumped 2 points to 17.
* Regionally, we saw declines in three of four tracked areas. The index fell 4 points to 18 in the Northeast, 3 points to 12 in the Midwest, and 2 points to 22 in the South. The index climbed 3 points to 20 in the West.
If you're looking for positive housing news, you're not going to find it in today's report. NAHB figures show the housing market continues to struggle, with builder confidence broadly slumping and buyer traffic cooling. The causes are well-documented: Tighter lending standards, rising unemployment, and a lack of confidence among potential home buyers.
That said, lower home prices are starting to work their magic in select locales. They are enticing some bargain hunters off the sidelines, and helping us chip away at the mountain of inventory for sale. It will take quite some time for supply and demand to come back in line. But at least it's a start.