by Bill McBride on 5/15/2012 10:05:00 AM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the housing market index (HMI) increased 5 points in May to 29. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Rises Five Points in May
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes gained five points in May from a downwardly revised reading in the previous month to reach a level of 29 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This is the index’s strongest reading since May of 2007.Click on graph for larger image.
“Builders in many markets are reporting that buyer traffic and sales have picked back up after a pause this April,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “It seems we have resumed the gradual upward trend in confidence that started at the beginning of this year, as stabilizing prices and excellent affordability encourage more people to pursue a new-home purchase.”
“While home building still has quite a way to go toward a fully healthy market, the fact that the HMI has returned to trend is an excellent sign that firming home values, improving employment and low mortgage rates are drawing consumers back,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
Each of the index’s components rebounded from declines in the previous month. The component gauging current sales conditions and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers each rose five points in May to 30 and 23, respectively, with the traffic component hitting its highest level since April of 2007. The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 34.
Three out of four regions registered improving builder sentiment in May. This included a six-point gain to 32 in the Northeast, and five-point gains to 27 and 28 in the Midwest and South, respectively. The West posted a two-point decline, to 29.
This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the May release for the HMI and the March data for starts (April housing starts will be released tomorrow).