Research >> Economics
Builder Confidence Unchanged for 4th Month in February
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes remained unchanged at 16 for a fourth consecutive month in February, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today.
While builders are starting to see more interest among potential home buyers, we are also dealing with a multitude of challenges, including competition from foreclosure properties and inaccurate appraisals of new homes, which are limiting our ability to sell. On top of that, an extremely tight lending environment continues to make it almost impossible to obtain credit for viable new and existing projects, and most do not see that situation improving anytime soon.
Builders are telling us that some pockets of optimism have begun to emerge, but many prospective purchasers are concerned about selling their existing home in the current market, or face difficulty securing credit for a home purchase -- even when they are well-qualified. Adding these concerns to the severe difficulty that builders continue to confront in obtaining acquisition, development and construction financing, you can understand why builder sentiment has not improved over the past four months.
On a positive note, two out three of the HMI's component indexes edged slightly upward in February. The component gauging current sales conditions improved by two points to 17, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose a single point, to 25. Meanwhile, the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged, at 12.
On a regional basis, HMI scores were mixed in February, with gains reported in two parts of the country and declines in two others. The Northeast registered a two-point gain to 22, the South posted a one-point gain to 18, the Midwest posted a one-point decline to 12 and the West posted a two-point decline to 13.
Posted: February 15, 2011 Tuesday 10:00 AM