- By David M. Kinchen
Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes gained one point in June from a slightly revised level in May to rest at 29 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released Monday, June 18, 2012. This is the highest level the index has attained since May of 2007.
“This month’s modest uptick in builder confidence comes on the heels of a four-point gain in May and is reflective of the continued, gradual improvement we are seeing in many individual housing markets as more buyers decide to take advantage of today’s low prices and interest rates,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.
“While the June HMI is in keeping with our forecast for gradually improving single-family home sales this year, recent economic reports that have shown some weakening in the pace of recovery likely factored into the marginal gain,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In addition, builders across the country continue to report that overly tight lending conditions and inaccurate appraisals are major obstacles to completing sales at this time.”
Derived from a monthly survey the NAHB has been conducting for 25 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 from 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.
In June, the HMI component measuring current sales conditions rose two points to 32, which is its highest level since April of 2007. Meanwhile, the components measuring sales expectations in the next six months and traffic of prospective buyers held unchanged at 34 and 23, respectively.
Regionally, the HMI results were mixed in June, with two areas of the country posting gains and two posting declines. The Midwest registered a five-point gain to 31 and the West registered a four-point gain to 33, while the Northeast and South each posted two-point declines, to 29 and 26, respectively.