Builder Confidence Virtually Unchanged in September

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 19, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes dipped by a single point to 14 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for September, released today. The index has now held between 13 and 16 for six consecutive months.”Very little has changed in terms of housing market conditions so far this year,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen, a home builder from Reno, Nevada. “Builders continue to confront the same challenges in accessing construction credit, obtaining accurate appraisal values for new homes, and competing against foreclosed properties that they have seen for some time. Beyond this, both builder and consumer confidence took a hit in recent weeks with the market disruptions caused by the S&P downgrade and congressional gridlock on the budget deficit.”

“The fact that the HMI continues to hover within such a narrow, low range reflects builders’ awareness that many consumers are simply unwilling or unable to move forward with a home purchase in today’s uncertain economic climate,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While some bright spots are beginning to emerge in about a dozen select metro areas, the broader picture remains fairly bleak due to the weak economy and job market.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Each of the HMI’s three component indexes recorded declines in September. The component gauging current sales conditions slipped one point to 14, while the components gauging sales expectations in the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers each declined two points, to 17 and 11, respectively.

The Midwest was the only region to post a gain in its HMI score for September, edging up one point to 11. Meanwhile, the Northeast and South each posted two-point declines to 15 and the West posted a three-point decline to 12.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found online at: www.nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at www.housingeconomics.com.

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NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) is a trade association that helps promote the policies that make housing a national priority. Since 1942, NAHB has been serving its members, the housing industry, and the public at large.

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Ann Marie Moriarty
202-266-8350

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