Housing markets across the country are gradually recovering and even exceeding previous normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the latest Leading Markets Index from the National Association of Home Builders. The NAHB scores more than 350 metro areas by taking their average permit, price, and employment levels for the past 12 months and dividing it by their annual average during the last period of normal growth. Based on that score, the index ranks markets that have reached or surpassed their previous normal level. The most recent release found 55 housing markets operating at or above their previous norm. Nationwide, the housing market was at 85 percent normal growth. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said the index shows that most housing markets across the country are continuing a slow, gradual climb back to normal levels. There were more than 125 markets showing activity of at least 90 percent of their previous norm. More here.
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Conducted for the past 25 years, the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index gauges builders’ perception of the market for newly built, single-family homes. Results are scored on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. The survey asks builders for their view of current sales, sales expectations for the next six months, and buyer traffic. This month’s results showed no change from the month before, holding steady at 54. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes. But, according to Judson, Congress has failed to make critical decisions on budget, tax, and spending issues, which has eroded consumer confidence and caused some potential buyers to hold back. More here.
Builders were slightly less optimistic about the market for newly built, single-family homes in October, according to the National Association of Builders’ Housing Market Index. The Index measures builder confidence on a scale where any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. In October, the Index fell two points to 55. According to NAHB chief economist, David Crowe, the government shutdown contributed to the slip in confidence. Crowe said the shutdown and uncertainty regarding the nation’s debt limit caused builders and consumers to take pause. Still, the component measuring sales expectations for the next six months posted a reading of 62 and current conditions were scored at 58. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said builder optimism remains above 50 and there are still signs of pent-up demand in many markets across the country. Judson believes the drop in confidence is due to temporary uncertainty and challenges with regard to cost and availability of labor. More here.
Using current permits, home prices, and employment data, the National Association of Home Builders’ Leading Markets Index measures market conditions by comparing them to those that existed before the recession and housing crisis. According to the results of the most recent index, the national housing market is 85 percent back to normal and 52 of the 350 metro areas analyzed have now returned to, or exceeded, pre-recession levels of activity. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said the index helps illustrate how far the U.S. housing recovery has come and how much further it needs to go. Among the highlights of the report, smaller cities account for 43 of the top 50 markets, though major metros such as Baton Rouge, Honolulu, Oklahoma City, Austin, and Houston also have scores indicating they are now exceeding their previous norms. Of the 350 cities covered by the index, 118 showed levels of activity at least 90 percent of their pre-recession norm. More here.
When it comes to gauging the health of the market for newly built homes, professional builders offer an unique perspective. Because of this, the National Association of Home Builders conducts a monthly survey to determine the level of confidence home builders have in the market. The survey, conducted for the past 25 years, scores builders’ confidence so that any number above 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor. In September, the Index was unchanged from the previous month at 58. September’s reading follows four consecutive months of gains. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said confidence is holding at the highest level in nearly eight years but buyers are beginning to express more hesitancy due to recent increases in mortgage rates. Despite the increases, however, interest rates are still quite low based on historical norms, Judson said. More here.
The number of improving housing markets across the country has reached a record high, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Improving Markets Index. The index determines improvement based on each metropolitan areas’ low point in housing permits, employment, and house prices. They are added to the index after showing six consecutive months of improvement in all three categories. September’s results found 291 metro areas that qualified as improving housing markets, up 44 from August. Rick Judson, NAHB’s chairman, said over 80 percent of the 361 metros tracked by the index are showing consistent growth, which is an excellent indicator of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across the country. More here.