Interest Rate Roundup

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NAHB index rises in November

The National Association of Home Builders just released its latest read on the housing market. The group's Housing Market Index rose to 16 in November from 15 in October. That's the best reading since June.

The subindex tracking present sales held steady at 16 while the index measuring buyer traffic rose to 12 from 11. The subindex that tracks expectations about future sales climbed to 25 from 23. Regionally speaking, it was a mixed bag. The Northeast index fell to 13 from 16. But the West index rose to 15 from 12 while the Midwest index climbed to 18 from 13. The South index flatlined at 18.

Housing market conditions continue to stabilize. Demand is perking up a bit and the inventory of homes for sale is gradually coming down. That's the magic of cheap homes and cheap financing doing at work.

Still, the housing market's pulse is clearly faint. The patient could easily take another turn for the worse, especially if interest rates start heading higher again and the foreclosure crisis gathers steam. In fact, I continue to believe that the housing market "recovery" will remain an anemic one, with only gradual improvement and an extremely long timeline.


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