Monday, November 18, 2013

NAHB: Builder Confidence at 54 in November

by Calculated Risk on 11/18/2013 10:00:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 54 in November, the same as in October (revised down from 55). Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Holds Steady in November

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes was unchanged in November from a downwardly revised level of 54 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This means that for the sixth consecutive month, more builders have viewed market conditions as good than poor.
...
The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in November held steady at 58. The component measuring expectations for future sales fell one point to 60 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers dropped one point to 42.

The HMI three-month moving average was mixed in the four regions. No movement was recorded in the South or West, which held unchanged at 56 and 60, respectively. The Northeast recorded a one-point gain to 39 and the Midwest fell three points to 60.
emphasis added
HMI and Starts Correlation Click on graph for larger image.

This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the November release for the HMI and the August data for starts (September and October housing starts will be released in early December). This was below the consensus estimate of a reading of 55.

This chart shows that confidence and single family starts generally move in the same direction, but it doesn't tell us anything about the expected level of single family starts.

HMI and Starts CorrelationProbably a better comparison is to look at the year-over-year change in each series (Builder confidence and single family housing starts).

Once again the year-over-year change tends to move in the same direction, but builder confidence has larger swings (especially lately).

I expect single family starts to continue to increase over the next few years, but I don't think we should use builder confidence to estimate the eventual level.