Builder Confidence Edges Down in December
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes receded one point to 16 in December, its lowest point since June, as continued weakness in the economy and job markets weighed on consumers' potential home-buying plans, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), which was released on Dec. 15.
"From an affordability standpoint, rarely has there been a better time in history to purchase a home, thanks to record low interest rates, attractive prices and, of course, the recent extension and expansion of the home buyer tax credit," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson.
"However,” he said, “builders are not seeing the full impact of these conditions on buyer demand, partly because awareness of the latest incentives is still building, and partly because of concerns about job security and other economic woes."
"As we anticipated, this is shaping up to be a bumpy recovery period for the housing market," noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "While some families may be just starting to factor the expanded tax credit into their potential home buying plans, many are hesitating because of the poor economy. At the same time, tight lending conditions for both consumers and home builders continue to pose considerable obstacles on the road to a sustained housing and economic recovery."
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 20 years, the HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales, sales expectations for the next six months and the traffic of prospective buyers.
Two of those three HMI component indexes were down this month, with current sales conditions slumping by one point to 16 and sales expectations falling two points to 26.
Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
The component gauging traffic of prospective buyers remained unchanged for a third consecutive month, at 13.
Regionally, December's HMI results were a mixed bag. The Northeast posted a three-point gain to 23, while the West rose one point to 19, the South remained unchanged at 17 and the Midwest lost two points, hitting 12.
Web Site Is One-Stop Shop for Tax Credit Info
Builders and other industry professionals can help spur home sales by referring prospective home buyers to www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. The NAHB Web site provides detailed information on both the extended $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and the new $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit recently signed into law by President Obama.
Consumers can use the Web site to find information on both tax credits — including frequently asked questions and links to social media sites that provide updated information as it becomes available. It also includes a number of home-buying resources for consumers.
Industry professionals are encouraged to highlight the tax credit Web site when marketing to their potential home buyer market.
Webcast of Fall Construction Forecast Conference Now Available
An on-demand webcast of the 2009 Fall Construction Forecast Conference held at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21 is now 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. The webcast is available for $250.
To view the webcast schedule, topics of discussion and a list of the presenters, click here.
To purchase and download the webcast, click here.
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