Builders may have hit bottom, upturn elusive

October 28, 2011 02:23PM

Some of the nation’s largest home builders are indicating that the industry may be hitting a bottom, though the upturn remains elusive. New Jersey-based PulteGroup and California-based Ryland Group reported narrower third-quarter losses this year, compared to the same period year, while Arizona-based Meritage Homes reported a quarterly loss, as compared to the prior year’s profit, according to the Wall Street Journal. Builders nationwide say potential buyers’ interest is picking up and prices are stabilizing.

New home sales climbed 5.7 percent — the first increase in five months — and builder market confidence, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders, was up slightly in October. While still low, it is the first increase since the summer and the highest level in more than a year.

One executive expressed some cautious hope for the future.
“Despite all the noise regarding the European debt crisis, bank solvency and the accompanying stock market decline, people still showed up at our communities, signed contracts and closed on their new homes,” said Larry Nicholson, Ryland’s chief executive, in an earnings conference call with analysts and investors yesterday, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “Hopefully, this is an indication that we reached a baseline of demand for new homes in this country and that better days are ahead.” [WSJ]