Despite uncertainties, homebuilders remain optimistic

Despite some recent wobbling in economic and housing indicators, more homebuilders still view market conditions as good than poor, the National Association of Home Builders said today.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index remained at 54 in November unchanged from October after a downward revision.

“Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road,” NAHB Chairman Rick Judson editorialized in a statement accompanying the release of the latest index. “Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals.”

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said that uncertainty about government policies and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence, but that builder confidence remains above 50 “is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline.”

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, and asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers. Scores from each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index, with any number over 50 indicating that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in November held steady at 58. Expectations for future sales fell one point to 60, and traffic of prospective buyers dropped one point to 42. Source: nahb.org