Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NAHB: Builder Confidence declined to 58 in February

by Bill McBride on 2/16/2016 10:25:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 58 in February, down from 61 in January (revised up). Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Drops Three Points in February

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell three points to 58 in February from an upwardly revised January reading of 61 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

“Though builders report the dip in confidence this month is partly attributable to the high cost and lack of availability of lots and labor, they are still positive about the housing market,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “Of note, they expressed optimism that sales will pick up in the coming months.”

“Builders are reflecting consumers’ concerns about recent negative economic trends,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, the fundamentals are in place for continued growth of the housing market. Historically low mortgage rates, steady job gains, improved household formations and significant pent up demand all point to a gradual upward trend for housing in the year ahead.”
The HMI component measuring sales expectations in the next six months rose one point to 65 in February. The index measuring current sales condition fell three points to 65 and the component charting buyer traffic dropped five points to 39.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, all four regions registered slight declines. The Midwest fell one point to 57, the West registered a three-point drop to 72 and the Northeast and South each posted a two-point decline to 47 and 59, respectively.
emphasis added
HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was below the consensus forecast of 61, but still a strong reading.