Well, if you thought warmer weather across the country would provide a boost to home builder sentiment, think again. In today’s report on home builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders, economists were forecasting the headline reading to rise from 62 to 63. In actuality, we saw a decline of one point to 61. While the headline index is only four points off its cycle high, today’s report was the weakest relative to expectations since May.
The table to the right breaks down this month’s report by sales, present and future traffic, as well as individual regions. As shown, weakness this month was pretty much across the board as none of the categories shown saw gains. In terms of regions, sentiment in the South remained unchanged at 62, while the biggest decline in sentiment was in the Midwest, where overall sentiment declined from 60 down to 55. As shown in the top lower right chart, sentiment in the Midwest really began to stall out right around the same time that the price of oil peaked.