Citi Investment Research analyst Josh Levin recently wrote that he has heard from some publicly traded as well as privately held home builders that they are experiencing a bump in traffic. In an online survey conducted by Big Builder, 69.2% of respondents agreed and less than a quarter disagreed. Most attributed the uptick in traffic to the favorable interest rates currently available. "Locally, we have had a military push," said one respondent in the San Antonio, Texas, market.
However, as the first non-NFL weekend of 2009 was approaching last week, less than half of those surveyed expected to see a resulting increase in traffic, while 38.5% did not expect an increase and 15.4% were unsure.
The majority of respondents felt that jobs and consumer confidence were having a detrimental effect at their communities, with 30.8% characterizing it as extremely negative, 46.2% characterizing it as very negative, and 15.4% characterizing it as somewhat negative. "Everyone is running scared about the certainty of their job security," noted one respondent.
When it came to the issues of pricing and financing options, however, results were hardly uniform with a third of respondents indicating that they were having a very negative effect in their communities and a somewhat positive effect, respectively.
"We need the [$15,000 home buyer] tax credit to apply to the down payment," commented one respondent. "I would also welcome a business tax credit to hire an unemployed worker."