NAHB Housing Market Index: Confidence Edges Higher but Future Outlook Uncertain
This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. The data is collected from a monthly survey of about 900 home builders asking respondents to, "rate market conditions for the sale of new homes at the present time and in the next six months as well as the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes." It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook. The latest reading came in better than expected (40) at 44, up 2 from last month, and is the index's highest reading in the last six months.
Here's an excerpt from this morning's blog update:
Although high construction costs and elevated interest rates continue to hamper housing affordability, builders expressed cautious optimism in March as a lack of existing inventory is shifting demand to the new home market.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in March rose two points to 44, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This is the third straight monthly increase in builder sentiment levels.
“Even as builders continue to deal with stubbornly high construction costs and material supply chain disruptions, they continue to report strong pent-up demand as buyers are waiting for interest rates to drop and turning more to the new home market due to a shortage of existing inventory,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey, a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham, Ala. “But given recent instability concerns in the banking system and volatility in interest rates, builders are highly uncertain about the near- and medium-term outlook.”
Here is the historical series, which dates from 1985.