Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was unchanged in March from a revised level of 28 on the latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This means that following five consecutive months of gains, the HMI is now holding at its highest level since June 2007.
While the HMI component gauging current sales conditions declined one point to 29 in March, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months gained two points to 36 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged at 22. Regionally, the HMI gained five points to 25 in the Northeast, two points to 32 in the Midwest and two points to 27 in the South, but fell 10 points in the West following a 22-point gain in the previous month.Â Â
‘While builders are still very cautious at this time, there is a sense that many local housing markets have started to move in the right direction and that prospects for future sales are improving,’ says Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. ‘This is demonstrated by the fact that the HMI component measuring builder expectations continued climbing for a sixth straight month in March, to its highest level in more than four years.’