I wasn't able to get to this yesterday, but: After many gloomy readings in a row, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased sharply in April:
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose five points in April to the highest level since October 2008, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This gain was the largest one-month increase recorded since May of 2003, and brings the HMI out of single-digit territory for the first time in six months – to 14. Every component of the HMI reflected the boost, with the biggest gain recorded for sales expectations in the next six months.
“If you’re a potential buyer who’s been sitting on the fence waiting for a sign that now is the time to act, this is it,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. “Some of the most favorable buying conditions in a lifetime are now in place, and they are drawing more consumers back to the market.”
Before getting too excited about this, it's important to recognize just how gloomy builder sentiment had become. April's reading was 14, and according to the National Association of Home Builders, "any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor." So we've still got quite a long road ahead. And, of course, we'll need several more months of data before we can tell whether this is in fact a turning point, or just noise.