According to the National Association of Home Builders, U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 68 in October 2018 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence levels have held in the high 60s since June 2018.
"Builders are motivated by solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a generational low for unemployment," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. "Builders are also relieved that lumber prices have declined for three straight months from elevated levels earlier this summer, but they need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices affordable."
"Favorable economic conditions and demographic tailwinds should continue to support demand, but housing affordability has become a challenge due to ongoing price and interest rate increases," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Unless housing affordability stabilizes, the market risks losing additional momentum as we head into 2019."
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.
The HMI index measuring current sales conditions rose one point to 74 and the component gauging expectations in the next six months increased a single point to 75. Meanwhile, the metric charting buyer traffic registered a four-point uptick to 53.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose three points to 57 and the South edged up one point to 71. The West held steady at 74 and the Midwest fell two points to 57.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau, sales of newly built, single-family homes fell 6.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 units in April 2019 after a sharp upwardly revised March 2019 report.
Based on new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 3, 2019, mortgage applications in the U.S. increased 2.7 percent from one week earlier.
A total of 161,875 U.S. properties with a foreclosure filing during the first quarter of 2019, down 23 percent from the previous quarter and down 15 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since Q1 2008.
According to a new report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department, total housing starts fell 8.7 percent in February 2019 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million units.