Housing

Home Sales Are Getting Weaker

A key measure of home builders' confidence fell this month. It's the latest of several signs that the housing market — which rose after hitting bottom last spring — is starting to fall again.

TheĀ  index, based on a monthly survey by the National Association of Home Builders, hit 17 this month. That's the lowest it's been since February, and very low by historical standards. (The over-under for the index is 50; a result over 50 means more home builders think the sales environment is good, as opposed to poor.)

We've seen a few other signs recently that the housing market's getting weaker.

The Case-Shiller index, which measures home prices, fell in the first quarter of this year. And applications for new mortgatges have been falling in recent weeks.

At the same time, a few of the extraordinary measures put in place to prop up the housing market have been winding down.

The federal home-buyer tax credit — where the government was basically paying people to buy houses — ended at the end of April. And the Fed recently finished purchasing more than $1 trillion of mortgages.

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