Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NAHB index climbs sharply in April

The National Association of Home Builders just released its latest builder optimism index. Here's what the numbers showed:

* The overall index jumped to 14 in April from 9 in March. That was above forecasts for a reading of 10 and the highest since October.

* All three subindices rose. The index that tracks present single family sales climbed to 13 from 8. The index that tracks expectations about future sales jumped to 25 from 15. And the index that measures buyer traffic rose to 14 from 9.

* Regionally speaking, there was good news as well. The index doubled to 16 from 8 in the Northeast, rose to 14 from 8 in the Midwest, climbed to 17 from 12 in the South, and rose to 9 from 5 in the West.

So much for April showers. Housing industry players are in a positively sunny mood, according to the latest figures. Builders polled by the NAHB said they feel better about the state of current sales, the outlook for future sales, and trends in buyer traffic. Moreover, we saw improvement across all geographies.

For a long time, lower mortgage rates have been spurring a major uptick in refinances. But they haven't done much for home sales. That may be starting to change. The industry is still oversupplied, and it still faces a major unemployment headwind. But this is genuinely decent news in an industry that's been starved for it for some time.


  • Mike,
    Anything below 50 indicates a contraction, and 14 is still pretty far away from 50. Hard to get too excited about this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 15, 2009 at 5:43 PM  

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