Week of April 21, 2008
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NAHB Chief Economist Says U.S. Has Slid Into Recession
Housing Starts Lose Further Ground in March
Surveys Find Consumers More Upbeat About Home Buying
Freddie Mac Buying Jumbo Loans in High-Cost Areas
Eye on the Economy: Housing Indicators Are Flashing Red
Attend or View the Construction Forecast Conference on April 24
Useful Links to Monitor Economic and Housing Trends

No Rally in Builder Confidence Seen in April

Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes remained unchanged for a third consecutive month in April, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The index held at 20 this month, up marginally from 18 in December, which was the record low for the series since its creation in January 1985.

"With the traditional home buying season now well underway, we have not seen the bump in sales activity that we normally would this time of year," said NAHB President Sandy Dunn. "At this point, all eyes are on Congress and its efforts to craft meaningful legislation to help support the housing market and stabilize our nation's economy before it heads deeper into recession."

"While builders continue to report improvements in traffic through their model homes compared with late last year, this activity has not translated to actual sales. That's where Congress can make a big difference," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders.

"Measures that stimulate consumer confidence in the housing market, push the fence-sitters into the ring and put a floor under house prices can successfully halt the drag that housing is exerting on the national economy, and help stabilize financial markets at the same time,” Seiders said. “But such measures need to be implemented as soon as possible in order to limit the severity of the economic recession that now is underway."

The HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales, sales expectations for the next six months and the traffic of prospective buyers. Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Current sales conditions declined two points to 18 in April, the lowest level since November; prospective-buyer traffic held even at 19 for the third straight month, up from a low of 13 in December; and sales expectations rose four points to 30, still remaining substantially down from a year earlier.

Regionally, the HMI gained two points in the West, registering 17; and was up by one point, reaching 22, in the Northeast. The index fell one point to 15 in the Midwest and two points to 24 in the South.

Attend the Spring Construction Forecast Conference in April

Plan to attend NAHB's Spring Construction Forecast Conference on Thursday, April 24 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together the nation's premier housing economists and finance experts for an in-depth examination of the economic outlook for the housing industry.

Can't attend? Watch the conference webcast live.

For more information, or to register for the conference or webcast, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.

Want to Know the Housing Forecast for the Top 100 Metros? 

Find out in HousingEconomic.com’s 2008 to 2009 Metro Forecast (free preview).

Get the metro forecast with in-depth analysis, overviews and downloadable Excel tables.

To learn more, visit www.HousingEconomics.com.

Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. To create a login, go to www.nahb.org/login or click on the log-in button on the main menu bar.

For assistance, call the NAHB Member Service Center at 800-368-5242.

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