NAHB index ticks higher in May
* The overall index climbed to 16 in May from 14 in April. That was in line with the forecast of economists polled by Bloomberg and the highest since September.
* The subindex that tracks present single family sales climbed to 14 from 12. The subindex that tracks expectations about future sales rose to 27 from 24. Meanwhile, the subindex that measures buyer traffic held steady at 13.
* Regionally speaking, we saw gains in three out of four U.S. geographical areas. The index for the Northeast rose to 18 from 15, the index for the South inched up to 18 from 17, while the index for the West climbed to 12 from 8. The Midwest index was unchanged at 14.
May was another rebuilding month (if you'll pardon the pun) for the housing industry. The NAHB's gauge of market activity rose for the second month in a row, hitting its highest level since last September. Most geographic regions showed improvement, though the index measuring foot traffic among potential buyers leveled off.
Bottom line: Lower home prices, lower interest rates, and tax incentives have helped move some buyers off the sidelines to the closing tables. But the recovery process will likely take some time, given the still-large inventory overhang, mostly in the "used" home business.