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Economy in Brief

U.S. Home Builders Index Slips Again But Traffic Picks Up
by Tom Moeller  March 18, 2013

The Composite Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo fell to 44 this month following a downwardly revised February reading of 46. Expectations were for 47 in March. Nevertheless, the index level remained up by more than one half versus one year ago. The index of single-family home sales fell to 47 while the index of sales during the next six months improved to 51.

By region, the index for the South dropped to its lowest level in six months, down m/m for the third month in the last four. The index for the Northeast fell moderately to 39 but was up by one-half versus last year. The index for the West also fell moderately m/m but was up by more than three-quarters y/y while the index for the Midwest posted a m/m gain. Also higher was the home builders index of traffic of prospective home buyers. It increased m/m to 35, up by more than one-half over the last twelve months. The NAHB figures are seasonally adjusted.

The NAHB has compiled the Housing Market Index since 1985. It reflects survey questions asking builders to rate market conditions as "good," "fair," "poor" or "very high" to "very low." The figure is thus a diffusion index with numerical results over 50 indicating a predominance of "good" readings. The weights assigned to the individual index components are .5920 for single family detached sales, present-time, .1358 for single family detached sales, next six months; and .2722 for traffic of prospective buyers. The results are included in Haver's SURVEYS database. The expectation figure is available in Haver's MMSAMER database. 

 

National Association of Home Builders Mar Feb Jan Mar'12 2012 2011 2010
Composite Housing Market Index, SA (All Good=100) 44 46 47 28 34 16 16
 Single-Family Sales 47 51 52 29 36 16 16
 Single-Family Sales: Next Six Months 51 50 49 35 41 22 23
 Traffic of Prospective Buyers 35 32 36 22 27 13 12
Northeast 39 41 36 25 29 17 20
Midwest 50 45 46 31 36 14 14
South 42 44 51 27 34 18 17
West 57 59 59 32 38 15 13
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