NAHB index unexpectedly falls

The Oct Nat’l Assoc of Home Builders index, an index measuring home building sentiment, was 18, 2 pts below forecasts and down from 19. Present conditions fell 1 pt while future expectations fell 2 pts. Prospective Buyers Traffic fell 3 pts as the West, South and Midwest regions dropped with the West showing the biggest fall of 3 pts. The Northeast saw a gain of 1 pt. The uncertainty of the fate of the home buying tax credit likely had an impact but whether the number was 18, 19, 20 or 21 is splitting hairs as 50 is the breakeven among builders viewing things as good or poor. The high in the last cycle was 72 in June ’05 and got as low as 8 in Jan ’09.

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