After 5 mo’s of gains, builder sentiment unch

After rising for 5 straight months, the NAHB home builder sentiment index was flat in March at 28 vs an expected rise to 30. It still is at the highest level since June ’07 but unfortunately builders aren’t asked how much the mild winter has helped their mood as opposed to where business would be if we had a normal winter. Either way, it does seem that housing activity is in a bottoming process even though at 28, the NAHB index remains still well below the breakeven of 50. Within the data, Present conditions fell 1 pt but Future expectations rose 2 pts. Prospective Buyers Traffic was unchanged at 22. Bottom line, while confidence has improved, the NAHB said “many of our members continue to cite obstacles on the road to recovery, including persistently tight builder and buyer credit and the ongoing inventory of distressed properties in some markets.”

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