The increase this month was driven by traffic of prospective buyers and current sales - and this was the last month that buyers can take advantage of the housing tax credit - so this increase was no surprise.
Note: any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
Click on graph for larger image in new window.
This graph shows the builder confidence index from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The housing market index (HMI) was at 19 in April. This is an increase from 15 in March.
The record low was 8 set in January 2009. This is very low - and this is what I've expected - a long period of builder depression. The HMI has been in the 15 to 19 range since May 2009.
This second graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the April release for the HMI and the February data for starts (March starts will be released tomorrow).
This shows that the HMI and single family starts mostly move generally in the same direction - although there is plenty of noise month-to-month.
And right now they are moving sideways - at best.
Press release from the NAHB: (TBA)http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/04/nahb-builder-confidence-increases-in.html