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NAHB: Builder Confidence Increased in May

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The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 50, up from 45 last month. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Lack of Existing Inventory Boosts Builder Confidence to Key Marker
Limited existing inventory, which has put a renewed emphasis on new construction, resulted in a solid gain for builder confidence in May even as the industry continues to face several challenges, including building material supply chain disruptions and tightening credit conditions for construction loans.

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in May rose five points to 50, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marks the fifth straight month that builder confidence has increased and is the first time that sentiment levels have reached the midpoint mark of 50 since July 2022.

New home construction is taking on an increased role in the marketplace because many home owners with loans well below current mortgage rates are electing to stay put, and this is keeping the supply of existing homes at a very low level. In March, 33% of homes listed for sale were new homes in various stages of construction. That share from 2000-2019 was a 12.7% average. With limited available housing inventory, new construction will continue to be a significant part of prospective buyers’ search in the quarters ahead.

While this is fueling cautious optimism among builders, they continue to face ongoing challenges to meet a growing demand for new construction. These include shortages of transformers and other building materials and tightening credit conditions for residential real estate development and construction brought on by the actions of the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

All three major HMI indices posted gains in May. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose five points to 56, the component charting sales expectations in the next six months increased seven points to 57 and the gauge measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased two points to 33.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the, the Midwest edged up two points to 39, the South increased three points to 52 and the West moved three points higher to 41. The Northeast held steady at 45.

emphasis added
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was at the consensus forecast. 

The “traffic of prospective buyers” is still well below breakeven at 33 (below 50).

Retail Sales Increased 0.4% in April

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