Bad Weather Puts a Chill on Builder Confidence
Unusually bad winter weather across much of the country was at least partly to blame for a four-point decline in NAHB’s Housing Market Index (HMI) for February. Released last Tuesday, the monthly gauge of single-family builder confidence dipped to 65, its lowest level since last July.
“The new-homes market is still doing well, thanks to excellent financing conditions, great buyer demographics and improving economic indicators. But many builders reported drop-offs in buyers visiting model homes in early February, and a large percentage attributed those declines to bad weather,” said NAHB President Bobby Rayburn.
While the HMI is adjusted for normal seasonality, unusually bad weather conditions can have an impact on the final reading, noted NAHB economist Michael Carliner. “Also, NAHB has anticipated a slowdown from the record pace of new-home sales in the final months of 2003, and the latest HMI indicates builder expectations are consistent with that. Still, the outlook for sales conditions remains quite good heading into the spring home buying season.”