Builder confidence hits all-time low

The builder confidence index, released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo, fell two points to 18 last month, its lowest level since the index first was released in 1985.

“Builders in the field are reporting that, while their special sales incentives are attracting interest among consumers, many potential buyers are either holding out for even better deals or hesitating due to concerns about negative and confusing media reports on home values,” said NAHB president Brian Catalde.

The index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as either “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The NAHB noted builder expectations for sales conditions in the next six months held steady at 26.

“Builders believe they are taking the right steps to reduce inventories and position themselves for the market recovery that lies ahead,” said NAHB chief economist David Seiders.

Two out of three component indexes declined in October. The index gauging current single-family home sales and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers each declined two points, to 18 and 15, respectively, while the index gauging sales expectations for the next six months remained unchanged at 26.

Regionally, the West accounted for a substantial portion of the decline in builder confidence this month, with a four-point reduction to 14. The Northeast and South each reported one-point declines to 26 and 21, respectively, while the Midwest posted a two-point gain to 15.

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