The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 56, up from 55 last month. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Edges Higher Despite Rising Rate Concerns
Low existing inventory that is keeping demand solid for new homes helped to push builder confidence up in July even as the industry continues to grapple with rising mortgage rates, elevated construction costs and limited lot availability.
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in July posted a one-point gain to 56, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the seventh straight month that builder confidence has increased and marks the highest level since June of last year.
The lack of resale inventory means prospective home buyers who have not been priced out of the market continue to seek out new construction in greater numbers. At the same time, builders are troubled over rising mortgage rates approaching 7% and continue to grapple with supply-side challenges, including ongoing scarcity of electrical transformer equipment and growing concerns about lot availability.
The July HMI survey also revealed that despite elevated interest rates, builders’ use of sales incentives has declined, as the market has firmed and resale inventory options remain limited. Only 22% of builders report cutting prices in July. This is down from 25% in June and 27% in May.
The HMI index gauging current sales conditions in July rose one point to 62, the component charting sales expectations in the next six months fell two points to 60, and the gauge measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased three points to 40, the highest reading since June of last year. However, the decline for the future sales expectation reading is a reminder that housing affordability continues to be challenged by elevated interest rates.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast increased five points to 52, the Midwest edged up two points to 45, the South increased three points to 58 and the West posted a five-point gain to 51.
emphasis added Click on graph for larger image.
This graph shows the NAHB index since Jan 1985.
This was slightly above the consensus forecast.