According to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released this week, and in a sign that U.S. 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 2020. 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. "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.
The Mortgage Bankers Association latest Forbearance Survey revealed this week that the total number of U.S. loans now in forbearance increased from 8.46% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 8.53% as of May 31, 2020.
The total number of loans now in forbearance increased from 8.36% of servicers' portfolio volume in the prior week to 8.46% as of May 24, 2020. According to MBA's estimate, just over 4.2 million homeowners are now in forbearance plans.
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