Builder Confidence Rises:
Earlier today the National Association of Home Builders issued their February 2019 Housing Market Index report and it came in stronger than expected. Last month the reading came in at 58, and expectations were for a reading of 59 however the final reading came in at 62. The increase was attributed to a healthy economy and lower mortgage rates. NAHB is a trade organization representing homebuilders across the country.
Previous NAHB Readings:
- 01/16/2019: 58
- 12/17/2018: 56
- 11/19/2018: 60
- 10/16/2018: 68
- 09/18/2018: 67
You’ll notice the surge higher in September – October and then the drop off towards the end of the year. Housing has been a mixed bag with recent reports; inventory is increasing and sales are down yet there are some bright spots. Overall this is a good report and it appears to be heading in the right direction. Heading into Spring Homebuilders are usually fairly optimistic due to the fact it’s one of the busiest times of the year.
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NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz:
“The five-point jump on the six-month sales expectation for the HMI is due to mortgage interest rates dropping from about 5% in November to 4.4% this week,” Dietz continued. “However, affordability remains a critical issue. Rising costs stemming from excessive regulations, a dearth of buildable lots, a persistent labor shortage and tariffs on lumber and other key building materials continue to make it increasingly difficult to produce housing at affordable price points.”
NAHB Chairman Randy Noel:
“Ongoing reduction in mortgage rates in recent weeks coupled with continued strength in the job market are helping to fuel builder sentiment,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said. “In the aftermath of the fall slowdown, many builders are reporting positive expectations for the spring selling season.”
About HMI Index:
The Housing Market Index (HMI) is a monthly survey of builders. They are asked to rate current sales of single-family homes (SFRs) and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” They are also asked to rate traffic of prospective buyers as either “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.”
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