Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged in April at a level of 58 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Builders remain cautiously optimistic about housing market growth. NAHB is forecasting faster single-family construction growth for 2016 than the 10% gain recorded in 2015. However, difficulties associated with access to labor and building lots are restraining growth in many local markets. Nonetheless, healthy levels of job creation, low mortgage interest rates and lack of existing home inventory will support increased construction of single-family homes. The residential construction sector will be a bright spot for an economy that slowed during the first quarter of 2016.
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 rose one point to 62, and the index gauging buyer traffic also increased a single point to 44. Meanwhile, the component charting current sales conditions fell two points to 63.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, all four regions registered slight declines. The Northeast and West each fell two points to 44 and 67, respectively. Meanwhile, the Midwest and South each posted respective one-point losses to 57 and 58.