Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose three points to 71 in October, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Sentiment levels are at their highest point since February 2018 and have risen 13 points since the start of 2019.
The housing rebound that began in the spring continues, supported by low mortgage rates, solid job growth and a reduction in new home inventory. The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months. However, builders continue to remain cautious due to ongoing supply side constraints and concerns about a slowing economy.
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 the HMI indices posted gains in October. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions increased three points to 78, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months jumped six points to 76 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers rose four points to 54.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a one-point gain to 60, the Midwest was up a single point to 58, the South registered a three-point increase to 73 and the West was also up three points to 78.
The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.