NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Is Low

The National Association of Home Builders said Monday its housing market index–which gauges builders’ perceptions of current conditions, interest from potential buyers and expectations for home sales over the next six months–for March was the third lowest reading on record.Tighter lending restrictions and hesitant buyers have hurt home sales, USA Today reports. As a result, the index came in at 20 in March for the second month in a row.Since September, the index, derived from a survey of about 400 residential developers nationwide, has been at 20 or below, indicating builder discomfort. Index readings above 50 imply a positive reaction. Since May 2006, the index has been below 50.”Interested buyers are out there, but they are either reluctant to go ahead with a home purchase or they are unable to find mortgage financing they can afford,” NAHB president Sandy Dunn said.Confidence in the Northeast and West dropped; in the Midwest, builder confidence was unchanged. The South showed a slight increase. Prospective buyer traffic also remained unchanged.