A recent seasonal slowdown has manifested itself, though, and the question for investors is whether or not the market will pick-up or continue its slow pace. Today’s report from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) did not sound encouraging, and stocks of Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN), Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL), Toll Brothers Inc. (NYSE: TOL), KB Home (NYSE: KBH), Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: HOV), NVR Corp. (NYSE: NVR), and D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) are all down anywhere from about 0.4% (Toll Brothers) to about 4.3% (Hovnanian).
Inventories are low and they are not growing at pre-housing crisis rates. Not even close really. The NAHB attributes that partly to more costly materials, lack of workers, and fewer lots for sale. It’s kind of a vicious circle: new home inventory is low but demand — as measured by foot traffic in the NAHB’s February index — ticked down last month. If it ever picks up again, there won’t be enough inventory to entice buyers over the peak summer selling season, and the whole slow-growth period could keep up for another cycle.
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