Posts filed under ‘HMI’

Homebuilder Confidence Slips 3 Points In April

NAHB Housing Market IndexFor the first time in 3 months, homebuilder confidence has slipped. 

As measured by the National Association of Homebuilders, the Housing Market Index dropped three notches in April to a reading of 25. The report measures homebuilder confidence in the newly-built, single-family housing market. 

When the Housing Market Index reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable market conditions. Readings below 50 reflect unfavorable conditions.

According to the scale, not since April 2006 have housing market conditions have been deemed “favorable” but, recently, homebuilder confidence has picked up. Between September 2011 and March 2012, confidence doubled.

April’s reading remains that second-highest since 2007.

So what does “builder confidence” mean? The formula is a little bit tricky.

The Housing Market Index is actually a composite figure. It’s the combined result of three separate surveys sent to homebuilders monthly. The surveys ask about current single-family sales volume; projected single-family sales volume over the next 6 months; and current home buyer “foot traffic”.

The NAHB compiles the results into the Housing Market Index.

In April, builder responses worsened on all 3 questions :

  • Current Single-Family Sales : 26 (-3 from March 2012)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 32 (-3 from March 2012)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 18 (-4 from March 2012)

At first glance, the data reveals a weakening market for newly-built homes and this may be true; we won’t know for another few months whether April’s confidence setback is an historical blip or the start of a trend. The change in builder psyche, though, is a change that today’s new home buyers in East Lansing can exploit.

Two months ago, builders expected 2012 to be a banner year for home sales. Today, they’re not so sure.

Buyers of new construction, therefore, may find it easier to negotiate with builders for price reductions, “free upgrades”, and/or other concessions. Plus, with mortgage rates still resting near historical lows, financing a newly-built home is cheaper than at any time in recorded history.

The Spring Buying Season is underway. For buyers of new construction, there are deals to be found.

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April 17, 2012 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

Buyer Foot Traffic Through New Construction Up Nearly Threefold Since 2009

HMI 2000-2012

Home builder confidence in the newly-built, single-family housing market remains high.

In March, for the second consecutive month, the National Association of Homebuilders reports the Housing Market Index at 28 — a doubling of the reading from just 6 months ago and, along with last month, the highest HMI value since June 2007.

When home builder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable builder conditions in the single-family, new home market. Readings below 50 suggest unfavorable builder conditions.

The HMI itself is a composite reading. It’s the result of three separate surveys sent to home builders by the trade association. The NAHB asks builders to report on their current single-family home sales volume; their projected single-family home sales volume for the next 6 months; and, their current buyer “foot traffic”.

Approximately 400 surveys are returned each month. The results are compiled into the NAHB Housing Market Index.

In March, home builders provided mixed replies to the survey questions :

  • Current Single-Family Sales : 29 (-1 from February)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 36 (+2 from February)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 22 (Unchanged from February)

It’s noteworthy, despite slowing sales in March, that home builders expect a surge in new home sales over the next 6 months. The reasons for this are several and should be of interest to today’s home buyers.

First, the jobs market is heating up. The U.S. economy has added more than 1 net new million jobs over the last 6 months and that is increasing the pool of potential home buyers in Michigan and nationwide. 

Second, the housing market, in general, is improving. Home sales are brisk in many U.S. markets and home supplies are dropping. This creates pressure on home prices to rise.

And, third, low mortgage rates have helped pushed home affordability to all-time highs. More home buyers earning the national median income can afford a median-priced home than at any time in history. 

It’s all culminated in a monthly Buyer Foot Traffic reading which, at 22, is nearly triple the foot traffic reading from just three years ago. Home buyers — in East Lansing and everywhere else — are out in full-force, capitalizing on today’s buyer-friendly market.

If you’re looking to buy new construction in the second half of 2012, consider moving up your time frame. Market conditions are constantly changing, and may move out of your favor. As builder optimism increases, the price you pay for your new home may increase, too. 

March 21, 2012 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Home Builders Experiencing Heavy Foot Traffic And Higher Sales Volume

Housing Market Index 2010-2011In another good sign for the housing market, today’s home builders believe that the housing market has turned a corner.

For the third straight month, the Housing Market Index — a home builder confidence survey from the National Association of Homebuilders — reported strong monthly gains.

December’s Housing Market Index climbed 2 points to 21 in December after a downward revision to last month’s results. The index is now up seven points since September 2011, and sits at a 19-month high.

When home builder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable conditions in the single-family new home market. Readings below 50 reflect unfavorable conditions.

The Housing Market Index has not crossed 50 since April 2006.

The HMI itself is actually a composite reading; the result of three related home builder surveys. The National Association of Homebuilders asks its members about their current single-family home sales volume; their projected single-family home sales volume for the next 6 months; and their current buyer “foot traffic”.

The results are compiled into the single Housing Market Index tally.

In December, builder survey responses showed strength across all 3 questions :

  • Current Single-Family Sales : 22 (+2 from November)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 26 (+1 from November)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 18 (+3 from November)

These results support the recent New Home Sales and Housing Starts data, both of which show an increase in single-family sales, and a decrease in new home housing supply.

When demand rises and supplies fall, home prices climb.

It’s also noteworthy that the Housing Market Index put buyer foot traffic at newly-built homes at its highest level since May 2008. With even more buyers expected to enter the market, new home prices are expected to rise across Lansing in 2012 — especially in the face of shrinking home supplies. 

For now, though, with home prices stable and mortgage rates low, buyers can grab “a deal”. 60 days forward, though, may be too late.

The Spring Buying Season unofficially starts February 6, 2012. 

December 20, 2011 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Homebuilders Getting Optimistic; Higher Home Prices Ahead?

Housing Market Index 2009-2011Homebuilder confidence continues to rise.

Just two months after falling to a multi-month low, the Housing Market Index surged again in November, climbing another three points to 21. It’s the second straight month that the HMI posted a 3-point gain, catapulting the index to an 18-month.

The Housing Market Index is monthly report from the National Association of Homebuilders. It’s meant to measure confidence among the nation’s homebuilders, scored on a scale of 1-100.

When homebuilder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable conditions for homebuilders. Readings below 50 reflect unfavorable conditions.

The Housing Market Index has not read north of 50 since April 2006.

As an index, the HMI is actually a composite reading; the result of three separate surveys sent to homebuilders each month. The National Association of Homebuilders asks it members about current single-family home sales volume; projected single-family home sales volume over the next 6 months; and current “foot traffic”.

In November, builder responses were stronger in all 3 categories :

  • Current Single-Family Sales : 20 (+3 from October)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 25 (+1 from October)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 15 (+1 from October)

And, beyond the headline data, there is an important, noteworthy item in this month’s Housing Market Index.

In November, “Current Single Family Sales” climbed 3 points for the second straight month, and is now at the highest point since May 2010 — the month after last year’s home buyer tax credit expired. And, this increase in sales volume is occurring as new home construction is falling, thereby reducing home inventory nationwide.

That’s an important point for Okemos home buyers.

With more new home sales and fewer new home listings, prices are likely to increase into 2012. Especially with home builders predicting higher sales levels over the next 6 months, and seeing higher levels of buyer foot traffic through their properties today.

For now, though, home prices are stable and mortgage rates are low. This creates low-cost homeownership throughout Michigan , and helps new home construction remain affordable.

If you’re in the market for new home construction, the next 60 days may prove to be your best time to get “a deal”.

November 17, 2011 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Homebuilder Confidence Rises on Surging Sales Volume, Foot Traffic

Homebuilder Confidence 2009-2011Homebuilder confidence is rebounding sharply.

Just one month after falling to a multi-month low, the Housing Market Index rebounded four points to 18 for October. It’s the highest reading for the HMI since May 2010 — the month after last year’s homebuyer tax credit expiration.

The Housing Market Index is published monthly by the National Association of Homebuilders and is scored on a scale of 1-100. Readings above 50 indicate favorable conditions for homebuilders. Readings below 50 indicate unfavorable conditions.

The index has been below 50 since May 2006 — a 66-month streak.

The Housing Market Index is a composite reading; the result of three separate surveys sent to home builders each month. Builders are asked about current single-family home sales volume; projected single-family home sales volume over the next 6 months; and current “foot traffic”.

In October, builder responses were stronger in all 3 categories :

  • Current single-family sales : 18 (+4 from September)
  • Projected single-family sales : 24 (+7 from September)
  • Buyer foot traffic : 14 (+3 from September)

Meanwhile, of particular interest to today’s East Lansing home buyers is that builders expect volume to surge over the next two seasons. And, with current sales volume rising and foot traffic strengthening, the fall and winter months could be strong ones in the new homes market.

In addition, the builder trade group press release states that rising costs for materials are squeezing building profit margins.

For buyers, it all adds up higher home prices ahead. As builders grow more confident about the housing market, they’re less likely to make concessions on pricing or upgrades. Rising building costs fortify that argument. The “great deal” will be tougher to negotiate. 

At least mortgage rates are low.

Low mortgage rates are keeping homes affordable in Michigan and nationwide. If you’re looking for the right time to buy new construction, therefore, this month may be it.

October 19, 2011 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

Home Builders Seeing More Sales Today; Fewer Sales Tomorrow

NAHB HMI Index 2009-2010Home builder confidence can’t shake its range, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The group’s monthly Housing Market Index put May’s builder confidence reading at a level of 16.

The Housing Market Index is scored on a scale of 1-100. A reading above 50 suggests favorable conditions for the new home housing market, as reported by home builders. A reading below 50 suggests unfavorable conditions.

May marks the sixth time in 7 months that the HMI posted a 16, the longest such plateau in the index’s history.

The HMI has not posted higher than 50 since April 2006.

As an index, the HMI is a composite of three separate surveys sent to home builders each month. The surveys are meant to capture the current and projected single-family home sales volume, in addition to buyer foot traffic levels.

Versus April, there was little change:

  • Current single-family sales : 16 (+1 from April)
  • Projected single-family sales : 20 (-2 from April)
  • Buyer foot traffic : 14 (+1 from April)

Broken down, the Housing Market Index for May shows that home builders are experiencing a boost in sales and foot traffic today, but expect that boost to fade between today and November. For home buyers in Okemos , this can present an opportunity.

With home builder confidence stagnating, and with a worsening sales expectation for the next 6 months, builders may be more willing to negotiate with you on home prices and/or the costs of upgrades. Builders may also be more willing to make concessions in your sales contract that would otherwise be unavailable to you.

Your real estate agent can help you to identify the negotiable items of your offer.

In addition, today’s home buyers can exploit the recent strength of the mortgage market. Surging mortgage bond demand since April has pushed mortgage rates down to their lowest levels of the year. If you can find a home you love, therefore, it can be financed on the (relative) cheap, too.

Conforming mortgage rates in Michigan fell through 5 consecutive weeks before rising last week.

September 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm Leave a comment

As Buyer Traffic Grows, Homebuilder Confidence Slips

NAHB Homebuilder Confidence Survey

Homebuilder confidence is falling — a good sign for buyers of newly-built homes in and around Michigan State University.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, the Housing Market Index slipped one point to 16 in April. It’s the 5th time in 6 months that the index read 16 — a figure exactly in line with the 1-year average, but still considered “poor”. The Housing Market Index reports on a scale of 1-100.

Values of 50 or better representing “favorable conditions”. Values below 50 are considered “unfavorable”.

It’s been 5 years since the Housing Market Index read north of 50.

As an index, the HMI is actually a composite of three separate surveys, the results of which can be as telling as the final, compiled results. The surveys focus on specific aspects about a homebuilder’s business, and use the broader responses to gauge overall market “sentiment”.

The 3 questions are: 

  1. How are market conditions for the sale of new homes today?
  2. How are market conditions for the sale of new homes in 6 months?
  3. How is prospective buyer foot traffic?

In April, interestingly, home builders felt market conditions were worse across the board, but still cited higher buyer foot traffic. This may be the result of a combination of rising mortgage rates and falling home values. Both tend to be bad for builders, and both tend to spur home buyers into action.

As a home buyer this spring, therefore, use the HMI data to your advantage. When home builders feel less confident on housing, buyers can often exact better concessions and/or upgrades during the negotiation process.

And, so long as mortgage rates continue to rise, that pressure on builders should build.

September 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

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