Monday, May 18, 2020

NAHB: Builder Confidence Increased to 37 in May

by Calculated Risk on 5/18/2020 10:04:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 37, up from 30 in April. Any number below 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.

From NAHB: Builder Confidence Posts Solid Gain Following Last Month’s Historic Drop

In a signal that the housing market is showing signs of stabilizing and gradually moving forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased seven points to 37 in May, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The rise in builder sentiment follows the largest single monthly decline in the history of the index in April.

“The fact that most states classified housing as an essential business during this crisis helped to keep many residential construction workers on the job, and this is reflected in our latest builder survey,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. “At the same time, builders are showing flexibility in this new business environment by making sure buyers have the knowledge and access to the homes they are seeking through innovative measures such as social media, virtual tours and online closings.”

“Low interest rates are helping to sustain demand,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “As many states and localities across the nation lift stay-at-home orders and more furloughed workers return to their jobs, we expect this demand will strengthen. Other indicators that suggest a housing rebound include mortgage application data that has posted four weeks of gains and signs that buyer traffic has improved in housing markets in recent weeks. However, high unemployment and supply-side challenges including builder loan access and building material availability are near-term limiting factors.”
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All the HMI indices posted gains in May. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions increased six points to 42, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months jumped 10 points to 46 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers rose eight points to 21.

Looking at the monthly average regional HMI scores, the Midwest increased seven point to 32, the South rose eight points to 42 and West posted a 12-point gain to 44. The Northeast fell two points to 17.
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NAHB HMI Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was above the consensus forecast.

Note: The graph shows the 2020 recession starting in March 2020.