Interest Rate Roundup

Monday, June 16, 2008

NAHB index dips further in June

The National Association of Home Builders just released its latest batch of housing market data. What did the June numbers show?

* The group's overall index slipped to 18 this month from 19 in May. Economists were expecting no change. The June number ties the cycle low set back in December.

* The sub-index measuring current home sales was unchanged at 17 (a cycle low). The sub-index measuring expectations about future sales was also unchanged at 28 (The low to date? November's reading of 24). Meanwhile, the sub-index measuring prospective buyer traffic slumped 1 point to 17 (December's reading of 13 was the low so far for this downturn).

* Regionally, the index fell 6 points to 12 in the Northeast and 4 points to 16 in the West. Activity was unchanged in the South, but up 5 points to 17 in the Midwest.

June was another uninspiring month for the housing industry, according to the latest figures from the National Association of Home Builders. An index that measures current home sales tied its cycle low from December, while another index measuring traffic of potential buyers remained stuck in the mid.

The causes for the ongoing malaise are well-known by now: Higher mortgage rates, elevated inventory levels, a lack of home buyer confidence, and tighter lending standards. Home buyers are lurking out there. But they're only targeting properties that offer them maximum bang for their buck. Specifically, they're focusing on deeply discounted bank repossessions, aggressively priced existing homes, and new homes sold with the proper balance of price cuts and incentives. Properties that aren't priced right are just languishing on the market.


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