Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in July fell one point to 59 from a June reading of 60 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
For the past six months, builder confidence has remained in a relatively narrow positive range that is consistent with the ongoing gradual housing recovery. However, home building growth is being held back in some markets due to tight conditions for lots and labor, as well as rising regulatory costs.
The economic fundamentals are in place for continued slow, steady growth in the housing market. Job creation is solid, mortgage rates are at historic lows and household formations are rising. These factors should help to bring more buyers into the market as the year progresses.
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.
All three HMI components edged lower in July. The components measuring current sales expectations and buyer traffic each fell one point to 63 and 45, respectively. The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months posted a three-point decline to 66.
The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores held remarkably steady. The Northeast, Midwest and South were unchanged at 39, 57 and 61, respectively. The West edged one point higher to 69.