The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 44, up from 42 last month. Any number below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Edges Higher in March but Future Outlook Uncertain
Although high construction costs and elevated interest rates continue to hamper housing affordability, builders expressed cautious optimism in March as a lack of existing inventory is shifting demand to the new home market.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in March rose two points to 44, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the third straight monthly increase in builder sentiment levels..
The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in March rose two points to 49 and the gauge measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased three points to 31. This is the highest traffic reading since September of last year. The component charting sales expectations in the next six months fell one point to 47.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose five points to 42, the Midwest edged one-point higher to 34, the South increased five points to 45 and the West moved four points higher to 34.
emphasis added Click on graph for larger image.
This graph shows the NAHB index since Jan 1985.
This was above the consensus forecast.