Week of December 8, 2008
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Eye on the Economy: Affordability Is Improving, But Other Forces Rule

New Single-Family Home Sales Down 5.3% in October

Sales of new single-family homes declined 5.3% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Nov. 25.

“The drop in new home sales comes as no surprise,” said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn. “Housing starts in October and NAHB’s most recent Housing Market Index, which gauges builder sentiment about the market, were at record lows. And the extreme turmoil in the financial markets in October definitely undermined consumer confidence and served as a drag on demand for housing.”

Although the new home sales rate declined in October, the Commerce Department reported that home builders are making progress in reducing the number of unsold units on the market, said NAHB’s Chief Economist David Crowe.

“The number of new homes for sale dropped from 414,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 381,000. Builders are doing what they need to do to get the market moving again, including cutting prices to the bone, offering incentives and decreasing production,” Crowe said.

“However, more needs to be done,” he said. “An economic stimulus package that includes measures to spur home buying and stem the tide of foreclosures is essential to the housing market and to the nation’s economy. More specifically, Congress should consider significant consumer incentives such as expanding the first-time home buyer tax credit and providing a government buy-down of mortgage interest rates for home purchasers.”

Regionally, new home sales declined 18% in the West and 6% in the South in October. Sales in the Northeast increased by 22.6% from an unusually low rate the previous month, and sales in the Midwest climbed 6%.

Construction Forecast Conference Webcast Available

An on-demand webcast of the 2008 Fall Construction Forecast Conference is available for purchase.

The webcast fee includes access to the webcast archive and electronic copies of the conference handout and presentation materials. Multiple viewers in one office can purchase the webcast for one fee.

The on-demand webcast also gives viewers complete flexibility in their viewing experience — pause, skip forward and backward, or jump directly to your topics of interest.

To purchase and download the webcast, click here.



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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