The spring selling season seems to have vanished from this year's calendar. Just ask home builders. Their confidence in the housing market slipped again in May, falling one point to a reading of 19, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Such a low number probably doesn't surprise builders themselves, who indicated that current single-family home sales, buyer traffic, and their expectations for future sales all suffered in May.
"Despite the Federal Reserve's concerted efforts to lower short-term interest rates, free up credit markets, and shore up the national economy, the housing market has shown no evidence of improvement thus far," David Seiders, the NAHB's chief economist said. "In fact, conditions have continued to deteriorate in recent times."
Builders see the slump as serious. May's 19 reading stands one point away from the HMI's record low of 18, set in December 2007. (The NAHB began the HMI in January 1985.)
In terms of geographic trends, builders agree that the Midwest is hurting the most; their responses resulted in a regional HMI reading of 12 (ouch!) for Midwest housing markets. The South scored the highest, with a 22 reading.
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, for BUILDER magazine.