Builder confidence rises in October

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes edged slightly higher for a sixth consecutive month in October, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). The one-point gain brings the index to 41, its strongest level since June 2006.

“Many builders are reporting increases in the number of serious buyers visiting their sales offices, and the overall confidence measure is much higher than it was at this time last year,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. “The concern is that, even though demand for new homes is rising, overly tight credit conditions are still constraining new building and new purchases at a time when that kind of economic activity and the job growth it generates are greatly needed.” 

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 from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number higher than 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

Following increases in the previous month, the HMI components measuring current sales conditions and sales prospects for the next six months remained unchanged in October at 42 and 51, respectively. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased 5 points to 35, its highest level since April 2006.

Builder confidence continued to improve in three out of four regions in October. The HMI gained two points in the Midwest and West to 42 and 44, respectively, and three points in the South to 39. A three-month moving average for the Northeast’s HMI was unchanged at 29.

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