Not much of an April bounce here either:
Housing Market Index
The new home market is showing no spring lift whatsoever at least based on the housing market index which, at a lower-than-expected 47, remains below breakeven 50 for a third straight month. The weakness is centered in traffic which remains far below 50 at 32. Weakness in traffic points to lack of participation by first-time homebuyers and the importance of all-cash buyers who have been holding up the housing market.
But other readings are positive led by strength among prospective buyers where the index is at 57 for a 4 point gain in the month. Present sales show marginal growth, unchanged for a third month at 51. Regional data show the West, Midwest, and South clumped near 50 with the Northeast, by far the smallest region for new home sales, far back at 33.
The housing market index posted a record 10-point loss to 46 in the heavy weather of February and hasn’t yet recovered, in what is a bad omen for the housing sector where many are banking on spring strength. Expectations for tomorrow’s housing starts & permit data are no better than flat. The Dow is moving down from opening highs in early reaction to today’s report.