Posts filed under ‘NAHB’

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.

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 Affordability Reaches An All-Time High

Home Opportunity Index (2005-2012)Home affordability moved higher last quarter, boosted by the lowest mortgage rates in history, a rise in median income, and slow-to-recover home prices throughout Michigan and the country.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the quarterly Home Opportunity Index read 75.9 in 2011’s fourth quarter. More than 3 in 4 homes sold between October-December 2011, in other words, were affordable to households earning the national median income of $64,200.

Never in recorded history have U.S. homes been as affordable on a national level. Even on a regional and local level, affordability soared.

Affordability was highest in the Midwest; 7 of the 10 most affordable markets nationwide were in the nation’s heartland. 

The Top 5 most affordable U.S. cities in Q4 2011 were:

  1. Kokomo, IN (99.2% home affordability)
  2. Fairbanks, AK (97.5% home affordability)
  3. Cumberland, WV (96.9% home affordability)
  4. Lima, OH (96.0% home affordability)
  5. Rockford, IL (95.5% home affordability)

These are each considered “small markets”. The most affordable “major market” was the Youngstown, Ohio area, where 95.1% of homes sold were affordable to households earning the area’s local median income.

Not surprisingly, America’s “least affordable cities” were regionally-concentrated, too, with 7 of the 10 least affordable markets located in either California or Texas.

San Francisco (#3), Santa Ana (#4), and Los Angeles (#5) led for the Golden State but, for the 15th consecutive quarter, the New York metropolitan area took “Least Affordable Market” honors.

Just 29 percent of homes in and around New York City were affordable to households earning the area’s median income last quarter. It’s a large jump from the quarter prior during which 23 percent of homes were affordable.

The rankings for all 225 metro areas are available for download on the NAHB website.

March 6, 2012 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Homebuilder Confidence Returns To Pre-Recession Levels

NAHB HMI index 2010-2012

New construction buyers in Okemos , look out. The nation’s home builders are predicting a strong 2012 for new home sales. It may mean higher home prices as the spring buying season approaches.

For the sixth straight month, the National Association of Homebuilders reports that homebuilder confidence is on the rise. The Housing Market Index climbed four points to 29 in February, the index’s highest reading since May 2007.

The Housing Market Index is now up 8 points in 8 weeks. The last time that happened was June 2003, a month during which the U.S. economy was regaining its footing, much like this month. It’s noteworthy that June 2003 marked the start of a 4-year bull run in the stock market that took equities up 54%.

The NAHB’s Housing Market Index itself is actually a composite reading. It’s the end-result of three separate surveys sent to home builders monthly.

The association’s questions are basic :

  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 February, builders reported marked improvement across all three areas. Builders report that current home sales climbed 5 points; that sales expectations for the next 6 months climbed 5 points; and that buyer foot traffic climbed 1 point.

Most notable of all of the statistics, though, is that the nation’s home builders report that there are now twice as many buyers setting foot inside model units as compared to just 6 months ago.

This data is supported by the monthly New Home Sales report which shows rising sales and a shrinking new home inventory.

Because of this, today’s new home buyers throughout Michigan  should expect fewer concessions from builders at the time of contract including fewer price breaks on a home and fewer free upgrades. Builders are optimistic for the future and, therefore, may be less willing to “make a deal”.  

This spring may mark the best time of year to buy a new home. 60 days forward, it may be too late.

February 16, 2012 at 9:48 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

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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