Homebuilder Stocks: Can't Get Much Worse

Homebuilder sentiment declines in July, but things can't get much worse for homebuilder stocks, already trading at severely depressed levels.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Homebuilder confidence is at a low not seen since April of last year, showing the weakening in the U.S. residential market expected as a result of the end of the federal homebuyer tax credit program.

The drop in home-builder confidence in July, as measured by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market index, was larger than anticipated by economists, a two-point drop to a reading of 14. A

Reuters

poll of economists had expected the index to fall to 16. The previous June homebuilder index was revised lower to a reading of 16 on Monday morning with the release of the July index data.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market fell to its lowest level in over a year, and it was the second consecutive declining month for the index of homebuilder sentiment.

Homebuilder stocks were declining on Monday with the latest weak outlook. Though homebuilders have taken such a beating already that the Monday declines were modest.

Ryland Group

(RYL)

,

KB Home

(KBH) - Get Report

, and

D.R. Horton

(DHI) - Get Report

were leading losses in the homebuilder sector, but only down between 1% and 2%.

M.D.C. Holdings

(MDC) - Get Report

,

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

and

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

were in the red, but at less than 1% losses on Monday at midday.

Far from a sign that homebuilders were shrugging off the latest data, though, the relatively small dips in the homebuilder stocks on the weak homebuilder sentiment number -- even as the major U.S. equities indexes moved up slightly on the week's first day of trading -- was a testament to the fact that the homebuilder stocks are already trading at or near book value given the negative take on the sector's road to recovery without the federal homebuyer tax credit stimulus in place.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.

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