Home builder sentiment holds near seven-year highs

WASHINGTON, Wed Jan 16, 2013 — Homebuilder confidence in the market for single family homes held steady at near seven year highs in January, suggesting the outlook for the housing market remained upbeat.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index was at 47 this month, the highest level since April 2006. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to edge up to 48.

The National Association of Home Builders said prolonged negotiations over fiscal policy had caused some uncertainty among builders this month.

A reading below 50 means more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.

“Conditions in the housing market look much better now than at the beginning of 2012 and an increasing number of housing markets are showing signs of recovery, which should bode well for future home sales later this year,” said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg.

“Uncertainties stemming from last month’s fiscal cliff negotiations contributed to the pause in builder confidence and continuing discussions among policymakers related to spending cuts and the future of the mortgage interest deduction could put a damper on housing demand in the coming months.”

A measure of sales expectations in the next six months slipped a point to 49, while a gauge of current sales conditions was unchanged at 51. The prospective buyers index rose a point to 37.

June homebuilder sentiment highest in five years: NAHB

NEW YORK, Mon Jun 18, 2012– U.S. homebuilder sentiment nudged upwards in June to its highest level in five years, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose one point from the month before to 29, in another sign that the housing market may be slowly heading into recovery, and one point ahead of the expectations of economists polled by Reuters. May’s reading was previously reported as 29.

The index, however, was still below 50, meaning more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. It has not been above 50 since April 2006.

The single-family home sales component rose to 32 from 30 in May, its highest level since April 2007. The gauge of single-family sales expectations for the next six months held steady at 34 from May, and prospective buyer traffic also remained in place at 23.

“This month’s modest uptick in builder confidence comes on the heels of a four-point gain in May and is reflective of the continued, gradual improvement we are seeing in many individual housing markets as more buyers decide to take advantage of today’s low prices and interest rates,” said NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg in a statement.

David Crowe, NAHB chief economist, said in a statement that “overly tight lending conditions and inaccurate appraisals” are hindering the completion of further sales.

Sentiment varied by region. The northeast and south registered slight declines in June, down two points to 29 and 26, respectively. The West and Midwest saw increases of 4 and 5 points, up to 33 and 31, respectively.

Consumer sentiment little changed in April, according to survey

NEW YORK, Fri Apr 27, 2012 – Consumer sentiment was little changed in April as Americans expected the economy to slowly improve, though they were less cheery about the state of their own finances, a survey released on Friday showed.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment inched up to 76.4 from 76.2 in March.

The survey topped economists’ forecasts for 75.7, which had been the preliminary figure reported in early April.

While recent developments in the overall economy were viewed as being somewhat less favorable, the outlook for the recovery still improved.

The gauge of consumer expectations rose to 72.3 from 69.8, while the component measuring the five-year outlook rose to 92 from 89.

However, just one in four households expected their finances to improve during the year, and the survey’s barometer of current economic conditions fell to 82.9 from 86.0.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their finances improved in April, down from 34 percent in March and a slight improvement over 27 percent last year.

October homebuilder sentiment highest since May 2010

NEW YORK ― Homebuilder sentiment perked up in October to its highest level in a year and a half, though ongoing challenges still kept confidence historically low, the National Association of Home Builders said on Tuesday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index rose to 18 from 14 the month before, the group said in a statement. It was the highest level since May 2010. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted the index would rise to 15.

Readings below 50 mean more builders view market conditions as poor than favorable. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.

“This latest boost in builder confidence is a good sign that some pockets of recovery are starting to emerge across the country, as extremely favorable interest rates and prices catch consumers’ attention,” NAHB chief economist David Crowe said in a statement.

Even so, builders are being squeezed by rising materials costs and low home prices due to the glut of foreclosed homes, Crowe said.

A gauge of single family home sales rose to 18 from 14, which was also the highest level since May 2010. The gauge of sales expectations in the next six months climbed to 24 from 17, the highest since March.