Homebuilders still depressed

The Aug Nat’l Assoc of Home Builders index was 13, 2 pts below expectations, down from 14 in June and at the lowest since March ’09 when it was at 9. Both Present conditions and the Future outlook fell while Prospective Buyers Traffic remained unchanged at a depressed 10. In particular, buyers traffic in the West, the area with the highest amount of foreclosures and thus greatest competition for the builders, fell 1 pt to 8, just off the record low of 4 in Jan ’09 and down from 19 back in May when builders mistakenly thought momentum would continue after the April 30th expiration of the home buying tax credit. What the figure today shows, again, is that low mortgage rates don’t matter in driving purchase decisions as “builders are expressing the same concerns that they are hearing from consumers right now, particularly the sense that the overall economy and job market aren’t gaining any traction,” said the NAHB Chairman.

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