Home builder confidence rises again.
For August 2012, the National Association of Homebuilders reports the monthly Housing Market Index at 37 — an increase of more than 100% from one year ago and the highest HMI value since February 2007.
The Housing Market Index is an indicator of homebuilder confidence and when it reads 50 or better, the HMI suggests favorable conditions for home builders. Readings below 50 suggest unfavorable conditions for builders.
Despite the recent rise in home builder attitudes, however, the Housing Market Index remains mired below 50 where it’s been since April 2006.
For new construction home buyers in Allen , the HMI may offer insight into the market for new homes through the end of this year. This is because the NAHB Housing Market Index is a composite survey, meant to gauge builder sentiment in three specific areas — current business, future business, and buyer activity.
When all three fronts are rising, it points to an improving market for sellers (i.e. home builders). Unfortunately, though, what’s good for sellers can be damaging to buyers. Builders are less willing to make concessions on price or product when markets are getting stronger.
In August, home builders saw strength across all three categories :
- Current Single-Family Sales : 39 (+3 from July)
- Projected Single-Family Sales : 44 (+1 from July)
- Buyer Foot Traffic : 31 (+3 from July)
Especially noteworthy in the August HMI is that builders project more sales for the next six calendar months than they have projected at any time in the last 5 years. With mortgage rates at all-time lows and buyer foot traffic growing, it’s no wonder confidence is high.
When demand for homes is strong amid stagnant or falling supplies, home prices rise and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in many U.S. markets. It’s a good time to be a Texas home buyer today, but market momentum appears to be shifting.
If you’re in the market for a newly-built home, therefore, the best “deal” may be the one you get today. Next year, your costs may be higher.
Home builder confidence in the newly-built, single-family housing market remains high.
In March, for the second consecutive month, the National Association of Homebuilders reports the Housing Market Index at 28 — a doubling of the reading from just 6 months ago and, along with last month, the highest HMI value since June 2007.
When home builder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable builder conditions in the single-family, new home market. Readings below 50 suggest unfavorable builder conditions.
The HMI itself is a composite reading. It’s the result of three separate surveys sent to home builders by the trade association. The NAHB asks builders to report on their current single-family home sales volume; their projected single-family home sales volume for the next 6 months; and, their current buyer “foot traffic”.
Approximately 400 surveys are returned each month. The results are compiled into the NAHB Housing Market Index.
In March, home builders provided mixed replies to the survey questions :
- Current Single-Family Sales : 29 (-1 from February)
- Projected Single-Family Sales : 36 (+2 from February)
- Buyer Foot Traffic : 22 (Unchanged from February)
It’s noteworthy, despite slowing sales in March, that home builders expect a surge in new home sales over the next 6 months. The reasons for this are several and should be of interest to today’s home buyers.
First, the jobs market is heating up. The U.S. economy has added more than 1 net new million jobs over the last 6 months and that is increasing the pool of potential home buyers in Texas and nationwide.
Second, the housing market, in general, is improving. Home sales are brisk in many U.S. markets and home supplies are dropping. This creates pressure on home prices to rise.
And, third, low mortgage rates have helped pushed home affordability to all-time highs. More home buyers earning the national median income can afford a median-priced home than at any time in history.
It’s all culminated in a monthly Buyer Foot Traffic reading which, at 22, is nearly triple the foot traffic reading from just three years ago. Home buyers — in Plano and everywhere else — are out in full-force, capitalizing on today’s buyer-friendly market.
If you’re looking to buy new construction in the second half of 2012, consider moving up your time frame. Market conditions are constantly changing, and may move out of your favor. As builder optimism increases, the price you pay for your new home may increase, too.
New home inventory is approaching bull market territory.
The number of new homes sold rose 2 percent in November. On a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, home buyers bought 315,000 newly-built homes last month according to the Census Bureau.
November’s New Home Sales data marks the 4th straight month of rising sales volume, lifting the housing-market metric to a 7-month high, and adding to the housing market’s recent show of strength.
Last week, we learned that Existing Home Sales also climbed in November.
The big story in the New Home Sales report, though, is the remaining new home supply nationwide.
With just 158,000 homes “on the market” and the pace of home sales hastening, the complete, national inventory of “new homes” would now be sold in just 6.0 months, a 0.2-month improvement from October. This is the quickest home sales pace in nearly 6 years for the new construction market.
It’s even faster than in April 2010 — the buyer-deadline month of last year’s federal home buyer tax credit.
Home builders expect the trend to continue, too. Buyer foot traffic is on the rise and builders have a strong outlook for the next 6 months.
It’s an unsettling series of developments for today’s home buyers. As home supplies drop and builders gain confidence, the ability of an buyer to negotiate for price reduction and/or upgrades shrinks.
If you’re a home buyer in search of new construction, therefore, consider that the best new construction “deals” of the next 12 months may be the ones you find today.
The new construction housing market continues to show strength across the country.
Single-Family Housing Starts rose to 447,000 units on a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis in November — a 2 percent increase from October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The market shows little signs of slowing down. Building Permits are on the rise, too. North Texas is a prime market for new home construction with homes in all price ranges.
November’s figures mark the third straight month of Single-Family Housing Starts gains. The new construction metric is now 15 percent above its all-time low, set in February of this year.
A “Housing Start” is defined as breaking ground on new home construction.
None of this should be a surprise to new home buyers.
New construction housing data has been trending upward since September — sales volumes rising and home inventories falling. Basic economics tells us that home prices should soon rise.
The good news is that low mortgage rates should keep homes affordable.
Since mid-November, the average, conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage has hovered near 4.000% nationwide with an accompanying 0.7 discount points plus closing costs. 1 discount point equals one percent of your loan size. This is down from near 4.500% six months ago, and the drop has made a big impact on home affordability.
- June 2011 : $200,000 mortgage costs $1,013.37 per month
- December 2011 : $200,000 mortgage costs $954.83 per month
This represents $700 in savings per year. It’s no wonder home builders report the highest buyer foot traffic in 3 years.
Meanwhile, the market shows little signs of slowing down.
Permits for single-family homes rose to their highest levels of year in November and 89 percent of those homes will start construction within 60 days. This means that Single-Family Housing Starts should stay strong through the early part of 2012, and into the spring.
If you’re planning to buy new construction , therefore, talk to your real estate agent soon and consider moving up your time frame. With mortgage rates low and next year’s buying season approaching, you may find that the best “deals” will come within the next few weeks only.
In another good sign for the housing market, today’s home builders believe that the housing market has turned a corner.
For the third straight month, the Housing Market Index — a home builder confidence survey from the National Association of Homebuilders — reported strong monthly gains.
December’s Housing Market Index climbed 2 points to 21 in December after a downward revision to last month’s results. The index is now up seven points since September 2011, and sits at a 19-month high.
When home builder confidence reads 50 or better, it reflects favorable conditions in the single-family new home market. Readings below 50 reflect unfavorable conditions.
The Housing Market Index has not crossed 50 since April 2006.
The HMI itself is actually a composite reading; the result of three related home builder surveys. The National Association of Homebuilders asks its members about their current single-family home sales volume; their projected single-family home sales volume for the next 6 months; and their current buyer “foot traffic”.
The results are compiled into the single Housing Market Index tally.
In December, builder survey responses showed strength across all 3 questions :
- Current Single-Family Sales : 22 (+2 from November)
- Projected Single-Family Sales : 26 (+1 from November)
- Buyer Foot Traffic : 18 (+3 from November)
These results support the recent New Home Sales and Housing Starts data, both of which show an increase in single-family sales, and a decrease in new home housing supply.
When demand rises and supplies fall, home prices climb.
It’s also noteworthy that the Housing Market Index put buyer foot traffic at newly-built homes at its highest level since May 2008. With even more buyers expected to enter the market, new home prices are expected to rise in 2012 — especially in the face of shrinking home supplies.
For now, though, with home prices stable and mortgage rates low, buyers can grab “a deal”. 60 days forward, though, may be too late.
The Spring Buying Season unofficially starts February 6, 2012.