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Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

Although lumber prices remain high - up 170% since April - builder confidence also remains high. In fact it is as at all time high of 83. Indicating that housing continues to lead the way in this pandemic recovery. Continue reading below for the full article from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Builder Confidence Soars to an All-Time High, Lumber Risks Remain

(NAHB) In a strong signal that housing is leading the economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes increased five points to hit an all-time high of 83 in September, according to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The previous highest reading of 78 in the 35-year history of the series was set last month and also matched in December 1998.

“Historic traffic numbers have builders seeing positive market conditions, but many in the industry are worried about rising costs and delays for building materials, especially lumber,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “More domestic lumber production or tariff relief is needed to avoid a slowdown in the market in the coming months.”

“Lumber prices are now up more than 170 percent since mid-April, adding more than $16,000 to the price of a typical new single-family home,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “That said, the suburban shift for home building is keeping builders busy, supported on the demand side by low interest rates. In another sign of this growing trend, builders in other parts of the country have reported receiving calls from customers in high-density markets asking about relocating.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 35 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 the HMI indices posted their highest readings ever in September. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose four points to 88, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased six points to 84 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers posted a nine-point gain to 73.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast increased 11 points to 76, the Midwest increased nine points to 72, the South rose eight points to 79 and the West increased seven points to 85.

HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at https://www.nahb.org/News-and-Economics/Housing-Economics-PLUS.

A Suburban Shift for Home Building

A Suburban Shift for Home Building

Coronavirus has altered the home buying and building preferences according to this article from the National Association of Home Builders. More and more people than ever before have been forced to work from home during the pandemic. When working remotely why live in the city when you can live in less densely populated areas? 

A Suburban Shift for Home Building

Evidence of a suburban shift for consumer home buying preferences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can be found in the second quarter National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Home Building Geography Index (HBGI).

“The increasing demand for construction in more suburban neighborhoods is being driven in large part by the coronavirus outbreak,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “The growing trend for working at home is enabling more families to choose to live in lower cost, lower density communities. Moreover, persistent housing affordability challenges exacerbated by soaring lumber prices that have added $16,000 to the price of a single-family home since mid-April are adding to the need to find affordable housing in lower cost markets.”

“The county-level second quarter HBGI data shows relative growth in lower density markets that represent half of all single-family construction,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.“ We saw initial evidence of this trend in the first quarter, and in recent months these markets have registered faster growth for both single-family and multifamily building, as the demand for new construction shifted to more suburban and exurban communities.”

The HBGI is a quarterly measurement of building conditions across the country and uses county-level information about single- and multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various urban and rural regions.

Small metro suburbs accounted for the fastest growing geographical areas for single-family construction during the second quarter, up 10.6 percent on a four-quarter moving average basis. This was followed by small towns (9.3 percent), small metro core areas (7.5 percent) and exurbs (5.6 percent).

Other second quarter HBGI findings show:

  • In the second quarter, single-family housing starts fell by 24 percent on quarterly basis. Of the seven regional geographies, only small metro area suburbs posted a year-over-year gain in this quarter, while the others registered declines, the biggest of which occurred in large metro core areas.
  • The market share for single-family construction in low density areas (small metro core and suburbs, small towns and rural markets) increased from 47.5 percent a year ago to 48.4 percent.
  • The fastest growing geographies for apartment construction in the second quarter were found in the exurbs, small metro suburbs and rural areas.
  • The market share for multifamily construction in low density areas (exurban areas of large metro markets, small metro core and suburbs, small towns and rural markets) increased from 32.9 percent a year ago to 34 percent.

Although the year-to-year changes in single- and multifamily market shares in low density areas are seemingly small, changes in market share are usually slow to develop. This makes a one-percentage point year-over-year gain noteworthy, when compared to recent historical data.

Single-Family Starts and Permits Post Double-Digit Gains

Single-Family Starts and Permits Post Double-Digit Gains

The home building industry continues to roar back to life following the shut down. In this recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, single family starts and permits posted double digit gains in June. Fueled in part by historic low mortgage rates and an increase demand. Continue reading below for the full article.

Single-Family Starts and Permits Post Double-Digit Gains

(NAHB), Led by solid single-family production, total housing starts increased 17.3 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.19 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.

The June reading of 1.19 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 17.2 percent to an 831,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate, after an upward revision from the May estimate. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 17.5 percent to a 355,000 pace.

“Fueled in part by record low mortgage rates, builders are seeing solid demand for housing despite the challenges of the virus and elevated unemployment,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. "Demand is growing in lower density markets, including exurbs and small metros."

"Single-family construction is expanding off April lows due to lean inventories of new and existing homes," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "However, builders face challenges in growing costs, particularly rising prices for lumber."

On a regional and year-to-date basis (January through June of 2020 compared to that same time frame a year ago), combined single-family and multifamily starts are 2.2 percent higher in the Midwest, 0.2 percent higher in the South, 2.9 percent higher in the West and 5.4 percent lower in the Northeast.

Overall permits increased 2.1 percent to a 1.24 million unit annualized rate in June. Single-family permits increased 11.8 percent to an 834,000 unit rate. Multifamily permits decreased 13.4 percent to a 407,000 pace.

Looking at regional permit data on a year-to-date basis, permits are 3.4 percent higher in the South, 8.8 percent lower in the Northeast, 2.3 percent lower in the Midwest and 3.9 percent lower in the West.

Builder Confidence Rallies to Pre-Pandemic Level in July

Builder Confidence Rallies to Pre-Pandemic Level in July

In a recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence was noted to have reached pre-pandemic levels in July. Interest rates are at all time historic lows which is surely helping to improve builder confidence in these uncertain times. Continue reading the full article from the NAHB below.

(NAHB) 

In a strong signal that the housing market is ready to lead a post-COVID economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped 14 points to 72 in July, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The HMI now stands at the solid pre-pandemic reading in March before the outbreak affected much of the nation.

“Builders are seeing strong traffic and lots of interest in new construction as existing home inventory remains lean,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke, a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “Moreover, builders in the Northeast and the Midwest are benefiting from demand that was sidelined during lockdowns in the spring. Low interest rates are also fueling demand, and we expect housing to lead an overall economic recovery.”

“While the housing market is clearly rebounding, challenges exist,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Lumber prices are at a two-year high, and builders are reporting rising costs for other building materials while lot and skilled labor availability issues persist. Nonetheless, the important story of the changing geography of housing demand is benefiting new construction. New home demand is improving in lower density markets, including small metro areas, rural markets and large metro exurbs, as people seek out larger homes and anticipate more flexibility for telework in the years ahead. Flight to the suburbs is real.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 the HMI indices posted gains in July. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions jumped 16 points to 79, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months rose seven points to 75 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers posted a 15-point gain to 58.

Looking at the monthly average regional HMI scores, the Northeast surged 22 point to 70, the Midwest jumped 18 points to 68, the South increased 10 points to 73 and the West increased 14 points to 80.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Builder Confidence Surges in June as Housing Rebound is Underway

Builder Confidence Surges in June as Housing Rebound is Underway

In a recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, it is reported that builder confidence continues to rise as the nation continues to open up and more and more people are back to work. Housing continues to be a contributing force in the economic recovery following the collapse from Covid-19. Read below for the full article from the NAHB.

In a sign that housing stands poised to lead a post-pandemic economic recovery, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped 21 points to 58 in June, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Any reading above 50 indicates a positive market.

“As the nation reopens, housing is well-positioned to lead the economy forward,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon, a home builder and developer from Shrewsbury, N.J. “Inventory is tight, mortgage applications are increasing, interest rates are low and confidence is rising. And buyer traffic more than doubled in one month even as builders report growing online and phone inquiries stemming from the outbreak.”

“Housing clearly shows signs of momentum as challenges and opportunities exist in the single-family market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Builders report increasing demand for families seeking single-family homes in inner and outer suburbs that feature lower density neighborhoods. At the same time, elevated unemployment and the risk of new, local virus outbreaks remain a risk to the housing market.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 the HMI indices posted gains in June. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions jumped 21 points to 63, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months surged 22 points to 68 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers vaulted 22 points to 43.

Looking at the monthly average regional HMI scores, the Northeast surged 31 point to 48, the South jumped 20 points to 62, the Midwest posted a 19-point gain to 51 and the West catapulted 22 points to 66.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

New Home Sales Hold Steady in April

New Home Sales Hold Steady in April

In this recent article from the National Association of Home Builders, new home sales held steady in April, a welcome sign that the shutdown hasn't shut down the housing market. You can read the entire article below.

New Home Sales Hold Steady in April

In a sign that the housing market is stabilizing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000 units in April, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. The April rate is 6.2% lower than the April 2019 pace.

“The April data for new home sales show the potential for housing to lead any recovery for the overall economy,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. “Because the housing industry entered this downturn underbuilt, there exists considerable pent-up housing demand on the sidelines. The experience of the virus mitigation has emphasized the importance of home for most Americans.”

“The April estimates from Census came in better than forecast, so there is a possibility of a downward revision in the next release,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Nonetheless, the data matches recent commentary from builders and reflects recent gains in mortgage applications. Despite significant challenges in overall economic conditions, the months’ supply held steady at a reasonably healthy level of 6.3.”

A new home sale occurs when a sales contract is signed or a deposit is accepted. The home can be in any stage of construction: not yet started, under construction or completed. In addition to adjusting for seasonal effects, the April reading of 623,000 units is the number of homes that would sell if this pace continued for the next 12 months.

Inventory edged lower to a 6.3 months’ supply, with 325,000 new single-family homes for sale, 3% lower than April 2019. Of that total, just 78,000 are completed, ready to occupy. The median sales price was $303,900. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $339,000. Median prices were lower due to increased use of builder price incentives in April.

Regionally, new home sales were up 8.7% in the Northeast, 2.4% in the Midwest and 2.4% in the South. New home sales were down 6.3% in the West.