Confidence in condo market falls

The Multifamily Condo Market Index ended 2007 on a low note, according to the National Association of Home Builders, with the component of the index tracking builder confidence in current conditions standing at 18.8, down nearly 11 points from the same time a year ago.

The index is derived from a quarterly survey of multi-family builders and developers, in which responses are rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with a rating of 50 generally indicating that the number of positive responses is about the same as the number of negative responses.

“Given that the condo market became so overheated during the peak of the housing boom, it is not surprising that the market now continues to struggle,” said David Seiders, NAHB chief economist. “It is going to take time for the extra inventory to be absorbed.”

The component of the index that gauges current conditions in the condo market has not risen above 25 during any quarter of 2007, the NAHB noted.

Builder expectations for the next six months are more optimistic, however. The component tracking expectations stood at 29.2 in the fourth quarter of 2007. In the fourth quarter of 2006, this component of the index stood at 49.1.

About two-thirds of builders reported lowering prices to bolster sales. The average price reduction was 11 percent. When asked about other marketing strategies being used to shore up sales, more than 70 percent of the respondents reported including optional items at no costs, paying closing costs or fees or absorbing financial points for their buyers.

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