Economic data kicked off the week on a mixed note Monday as Homebuilder Sentiment for the month of March was unchanged versus February, even as expectations were for a small improvement. According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the general sentiment index was unchanged at 62 versus consensus forecasts for an increase to 63. While sentiment has been stable after improving in December and January, it remains well off of its highs from late 2017.
Breaking out the details of the report, most of the report’s subcomponents saw m/m increases. While Traffic was down, both Present and Future Sales showed improvement. On a regional basis, sentiment in the Midwest was down pretty sharply falling from 54 to 49 (indicative of contraction), but homebuilders in every other region of the country were more optimistic. Interestingly, while sentiment in the Northeast was consistently the weakest from 2012 through mid-2018, more recently, the Midwest has been giving the Northeast a run for its money. The Northeast has actually seen a nice pickup in sentiment off of multi-year lows seen a few months ago.