February homebuilder confidence drops. Here’s the broader context: TABLE 1985-2013

NAHB Housing Market Index (February 2013)
– Housing Market Index 46, indicating builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes was down slightly

– Last month’s reading was 47

– Can’t get to 50+ yet, which is level considered to be healthy market

– 50 is dividing line between positive and negative sentiment

– Last 50+ reading was April 2006, the tail end of the housing boom

– The slight dip in the monthly must be seen in context: a year ago (February 2012) the index was 28 and first got above 30 in July and above 40 in October.

– A geographic breakdown shows the index strongest in the West at 60 and weakest in the Northeast at 41. South is 44 and Midwest is 46. Some of the regional variation is likely weather related.

– This is a survey index taken by the National Association of Homebuilders asking to rate the economy in general and the housing market in particular. Homebuilding is an activity which requires substantial investment and risk and confidence that the homes can be sold needs to be there before homebuilders proceed.

– Full report is here.

– Below is table from 1985 to PRESENT