Even with most industry analysts predicting higher demand and increasing prices for houses, builders are reporting decreased confidence in the market for single family homes for the second month in a row in February 2013.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index(HMI) slipped two points to 44 in February 2013 after falling to a 46 in January. Any reading below 50 indicates a negative outlook on the market. There has not been a reading above 50 in the HMI since April 2006, though January 2013's slip capped off eight consecutive months of gains in the index.
Regionally, the picture was uneven, according to the report. The Northeast saw no change in February 2013, but remained low at 39. The Midwest and South each saw a decline and rate comparable to the national average, declining one point to a 47 and 46 respectively. The West showed an entirely different pattern, increasing by four points to a 58.
These numbers do represent a year-to-year improvement over February 2012.
This report contradicts some market watchers' recent analysis of the industry. According to the January 2013 Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS,) construction saw both a monthly and yearly hiring increase, with an increased number of quits. The quits rate measures how many people voluntarily left their job, and it is taken as an indicator of worker confidence in their chances of future rehire