According to the latest National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released this week, U.S. home builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged one point lower to 75 in January 2020. The last two monthly readings mark the highest sentiment levels since July of 1999.
"Low interest rates and a healthy labor market combined with a need for additional inventory is setting the stage for further home building gains in 2020," said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn.
"With the Federal Reserve on pause and attractive mortgage rates, the steady rise in single-family construction that began last spring will continue into 2020," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "However, builders continue to grapple with a shortage of lots and labor while buyers are frustrated by a lack of inventory, particularly among starter homes."
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 charting traffic of prospective buyers increased one point to 58, the highest level since December 2017. The gauge measuring current sales conditions fell three points to 81 and the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months held steady at 79.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose one point to 62, the Midwest increased three points to 66 and the West moved one point higher to 84. The South remained unchanged at 76.
Based on ATTOM Data Solutions 2020 Rental Affordability Report, owning a median-priced, three-bedroom home in the U.S. is more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property in 455, or 53 percent, of the 855 U.S. counties analyzed for the report.
According to CoreLogic's latest Single-Family Rent Index (SFRI), which analyzes single-family rent price changes nationally and among 20 metropolitan areas, data collected for October 2019 shows a national rent increase of 3.1% year over year, compared to 2.9% in October 2018.
Based on ATTOM Data Solutions' third-quarter 2019 U.S. Home Flipping Report, 56,566 single family homes and condos were flipped in the third quarter of 2019, down 12.9 percent from the previous quarter and down 6.8 percent from a year ago.
U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which account for roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by 5.1% year over year, representing a gain of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter of 2018.