The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said on Monday that its index that measures home builder confidence in the new home market has fallen below the halfway mark for the first time since April.  The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index declined 5 points in December. Coupled with its 6-point drop in August, the index has erased five months of gains. NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz said, “The two-month decline in builder sentiment coincides with when mortgage rates jumped above 7 percent and significantly eroded buyer purchasing power. And on the supply-side front, builders continue to grapple with shortages of construction workers, buildable lots and distribution transformers , which is further adding to housing affordability woes. Insurance cost and availability is also a growing concern for the housing sector.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for more than 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. All three major HMI indices posted declines in September and two of the three are now below the break-even point. The HMI indices gauging current sales conditions and those over the next six months each fell 6 points to 51 and 49 respectively. The component measuring traffic prospective buyer traffic was down 5 points to 30.
Source: Mortgage News Daily