These numbers speak contrasting results.
Here’s the good news first. Home builder confidence has increased to 14 this April from 9 the previous month according to the National Association of Home Builders. It’s a welcome relief after the series of disappointing figures in the housing market and the entire economy as well. According to the NAHB chief economist David Crowe, “This is a very encouraging sign that we are at or near the bottom of the current housing depression. With the prime home buying season now underway, builders report that more buyers are responding to the pull of much-improved affordability measures, including low home prices, extremely favorable mortgage rates and the introduction of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.”
Looking at the graph, it seems that homebuilders are making a comeback. But there’s distressing news that contrasts this. The Department of Commerce revealed that home construction actually fell 10.8 percent in March, the second worst record in 50 years. In the same month a year ago, new privately-owned housing units that were started reached 988 units but March 2009’s record fell to 510 units.
Here’s one bold prediction. With the rate of home construction that’s going on, home builders will be forced to provide grim predictions in their next issue. If not, then housing activity must be fueled by some factor not.