The Song Remains the Same: Builder Confidence Flat

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged in May at a level of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The May reading marked the fourth straight month of the HMI standing at an index value of 58. While the HMI remains in positive territory, soft economic data for the start of 2016, combined with persistent supply issues including access to building lots and rising regulatory burdens, are having impacts on the single-family construction market.

HMI May

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI components measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased three points to 65, while the component charting current sales conditions and the index gauging buyer traffic both held steady at 63 and 44, respectively.

NAHB continues to forecast solid growth for single-family starts for the rest of 2016 and into 2017 given low interest rates, positive job creation, and a gradual rebuilding of the industry’s infrastructure.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and Midwest both registered one-point gains to 59 and 58, respectively. The West remained unchanged at 67 and the Northeast fell three points to 41.

 



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