Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Homebuilder confidence near record low

Index unchanged in March as economic concerns continue to depress the market.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff writer

What progress is the Obama administration making toward ending the recession?
  • It's succeeding
  • The recovery is too slow
  • It's not helping at all
Mortgage Rates
30 yr fixed 3.92%
15 yr fixed 3.12%
5/1 ARM 3.17%
30 yr refi 3.91%
15 yr refi 3.11%

Find personalized rates:

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Homebuilders' confidence remained at a historically low level in March as the weak economy continued to weigh on the market for new single-family homes, according to a report released Monday.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held steady at 9 in March, unchanged from February, and up only one point from January's all-time low.

A reading below 50 indicates that more homebuilders view conditions as poor than good. March marked the fifth consecutive month of single-digit readings, and was less than half the reading of 20 posted a year ago.

"The economy continues to be the main drag on home sales activity right now," said NAHB chief economist David Crowe in a written statement. Homebuilders are also concerned about tight credit conditions, Crowe said.

While the overall sentiment was bleak, homebuilders are optimistic about new government programs aimed at boosting the market, particularly a first-time home buyer tax credit.

The Obama administration's $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, enacted earlier this month, commits $6.6 billion toward refundable tax credits of $8,000 - or 10% of the home's value - for first-time buyers. Previously, first-time buyers could claim a $7,500 credit, but it had to be paid back.

Homebuilders are "hopeful" that this and other economic stimulus efforts "will have a positive impact on consumer behavior and home sales," said NAHB chairman Joe Robson, in a statement.

"But it's still too soon to tell how much of an impact that will be, especially as builders find potential buyers are reluctant because of uncertainty about their future job security and the overall economic outlook," Robson added.

Two out of three of the index's components were unchanged in March, the NAHB said.

The index gauging current sales conditions was unchanged from February at 7 and the index that measures sales expectations in the next six months remained at a record-low 15.

The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers, however, declined two points to 9 in March.  To top of page

Find mortgage rates in your area

They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Top luxurious hotel suites for business travelers For many people, you can't put a price on comfort. More
Million-dollar startups: These firms scored big sales their first year Their first year in business, these companies generated $1 million in sales. More
The 10 best states for retirees It might be worth moving to a new place to find your dream retirement home. Check out these 10 states. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play