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Will the Housing Market Stay in the Tank? Let's Crunch the Numbers on Homebuilders

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Homebuilder stocks have been trading lower since the end of February, when the PHLX Housing Sector Index (HGX, now at 194.21) set a 52-week intraday high at 213.81 on Feb. 26. On March 19, I asked "Is It Time to Sell Homebuilder Stocks?"

The answer was a clear yes. All 19 housing-related stocks in the housing index are lower today than on at the closes on March 18. So is Beazer Homes (BZH), which is not the index.

So is now the time to buy?

We conduct a technical analysis to find that out. The first 12 stocks in today's "Crunching the Numbers" tables are homebuilders, the other eight provide supporting products and services for the housing market.

We'll discuss the market now, then present our technical analysis of housing market stocks in the charts on page 3 of this article.

The National Association on Home Builders Housing Market Index for April was released on April 15, and builder confidence for single-family homes rose a point to 47 up from a downwardly revised 46 in March, still below the neutral 50 reading.

Despite a three-month holding pattern for the market for new homes, the NAHB expects sales activity to improve over the months ahead. They cite job growth, historically low mortgage rates and affordable prices.

I question that optimism. Home prices and mortgage rates have been on the rise, even though most jobs being created are not at incomes conducive to affording a new home. The NAHB remains concerned about ongoing tight credit conditions and the limited availability of lots and labor.

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