by CalculatedRisk on 5/16/2011 10:00:00 AM
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the housing marketindex (HMI) was unchanged at 16 in May, the same level as in April. This was below expectations for a reading of 17. Confidence remains very low … any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
Click on graph for larger image in new window.
This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the May release for the HMI and the March data for starts (April housing starts will be released tomorrow).
Both confidence and housing starts have been moving sideways at a very depressed level for several years.
Press release from the NAHB: Builder Confidence Unchanged in May
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes held unchanged at the low level of 16 in May, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. The index has now remained at this level for six out of the past seven months.
“The HMI component index measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased by one point for the second time this year as prospective buyers show growing interest but remain extremely hesitant due to a number of factors,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Asked to identify reasons that potential customers are holding back at this time, 90 percent of builders surveyed said clients are concerned about being able to sell their existing home at a favorable price, while 73 percent said consumers think it will be difficult for them to get financing.”
Both the index gauging current sales conditions and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers inched up one point in May, to 16 and 14, respectively. While still very low, the traffic gauge is now at its highest point since May of 2010. Meanwhile, the index gauging sales expectations in the next six months declined two points to 20 in May.
Builders are still depressed, and the HMI has been below 25 for forty-seven consecutive months – almost 4 years.