Interest Rate Roundup

Monday, September 20, 2010

NAHB index flatlines in September

The National Association of Home Builders just released its latest read on the state of the housing market. The group's index flatlined at 13 in September, compared with expectations for a slight rise to 14. The subindices for present sales and future sales were both unchanged (at 13 and 18 respectively), while the subindex that measures prospective buyer traffic fell to 9 from 10. That's the lowest level since March 2009.

The regional breakdown was mixed, with two declines, one gain, and one unchanged reading. The Northeast index slipped to 16 from 18 while the Midwest reading dipped to 12 from 15. The Southeast index ticked up to 14 from 12, while the West index held steady at 8.

The new home market remains stuck in the doldrums. That's the latest read from the NAHB. Current sales remain at depressed levels, while expectations about future sales aren't budging. Meanwhile, fewer shoppers are walking through showroom doors -- a sign that Americans by and large just aren't that excited about the prospect of buying a house. Houses are cheap. Mortgage rates are low. But the lousy labor market and a lack of confidence is keeping buyers on the sidelines.


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