Builder sentiment in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell five points to 75 in August, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The index is at its lowest point since July 2020.
Higher construction costs and supply shortages have led to significant price growth, which in turn has caused prospective buyers to experience sticker shock. The decline in the buyer traffic index to its lowest level since July 2020 is evidence that supply-side constraints have begun to hold consumers back.
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 index gauging current sales conditions fell five points to 81 and the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers also posted a five-point decline to 60. The gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 81.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell one point to 74, the Midwest dropped two points to 68, the South posted a three-point decline to 82 and the West registered a two-point drop to 85.