Business, Economics and Jobs

US homebuilder sentiment at a five-year high


A home under construction in San Mateo, California.


Justin Sullivan

US homebuilders are more optimistic than they've been in five years, but the majority of them still aren't feeling enough love from buyers in what's been a painfully slow economic recovery.

The National Association of Home Builders homebuilder sentiment index rose one point to 29 in June. That's the highest its been in years, but its still low enough that most homebuilders aren't optimistic about their sales prospects. 

When the index is at 50, it's a signal that more homebuilders are optimistic about sales potential than aren't. The index hasn't been at 50 since 2006. 

Still the increase "is reflective of the continued, gradual improvement we are seeing in many individual housing markets as more buyers decide to take advantage of today's low prices and interest rates," NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg said in a statement published by Reuters.

Seeking Alpha put it differently, calling the data "pitiful." Traffic from prospective buyers, which is measured by the NAHB survey, isn't increasing, it noted. 

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The index showed homebuilders in the West felt most strongly about their business prospects while homebuilders in the Northeast and South appeared to be getting increasingly worried. 

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