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First Cut: NAHB Housing Market Index up in May, but still weak

The NABH/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was up 7 points to 37 in May after 30 in April, but was its lowest since 37 in August 2012 while the housing market was still struggling to move past the housing bust and the recovery after the December 2007-June 2009 still was only sluggish.

The component for present sales was up 5 points to 42, and the lowest since 42 in October 2012. Expected sales were up 10 points to 46, and buyer traffic was up 9 points to 21. The movement in the components suggested that builders were more hopeful about the economy that sales would pick up again in the near term, and that some buyers were out looking at properties, perhaps scouting possible bargains while supplies were a little more ample. The readings for all three components remained weak and likely without a sustained upward trajectory while the COVID-19 crisis is resolved sufficiently that the economy can start to recover. Historic lows for 30-year fixed rate mortgages are of no use to the unemployed.

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