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March 21, 2012 – 5:26 pm

New housing data came out this week with more to come on new home sales out on Friday. The home builder index, a gauge on the health of the housing market from the builders point of view, remains at 28 a very low number and one that has been at this low range for several years. So builders are not very optimistic as a reading of over 50 indicates a healthy environment for builders and one below 50 a poor market.

New home starts were off a little for February being 698,000 when it was expected to be 706,000. There was no change from month to month. That is not a sign of improvement. Also, existing home sales came in at 4.59 million with expectations to be at 4.6 million. That was a small disappointment as there was an expectation for an slight increase.

There was some spark of good news and that was that prices rose a fraction after falling for years. Then again one month’s of data means very little. We need to see a trend and that does not appear for at least three months.

We can come to no new conclusions with this data. Housing is still hurting and is not adding to our economic health. However, it is no longer subtracting from our growth as well. I guess that is good news but it certainly does not feel like it.

Good Trading
Steve Peasley

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