The March NAHB home builder sentiment figure was 15, 2 pts below expectations, down from 17 in Feb and matches the lowest level since June ’09. Both Present conditions and Future expectations fell and the Prospective Buyers Traffic component was down by 2 pts to the lowest level since Mar ’09. The regional breakdown in this last category was mixed as traffic rose in the Northeast and West but was down in the Midwest and South. The NAHB chief economist said “the lack of available credit for new projects, the large number of distressed properties for sale and the continuing hesitancy of potential buyers due to the weak job market are definitely weighing on builder confidence.” So, here we are, $1.25T of MBS/Agency paper purchases later to suppress mortgage rates and a home buying tax credit to bring out 1st time home buyers and builders still have very little confidence even with historically low inventory of new homes.
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