by Bill McBride on 12/18/2012
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) increased 2 points in December to 47. Any number under 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as poor than good.
From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Continues Improving in December
Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for an eighth consecutive month in December to a level of 47 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released today. This marked a two-point gain from a slightly revised November reading, and the highest level the index has attained since April of 2006.
“While there is still much room for improvement, the consistent upward trend in builder confidence over the past year is indicative of the gradual recovery that has been taking place in housing markets nationwide and that we expect to continue in 2013,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
Two of the HMI’s three component indexes are now above the critical midpoint of 50. The component gauging current sales expectations rose two points to 51 in December, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months slipped one point, to 51. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 36.
This graph compares the NAHB HMI (left scale) with single family housing starts (right scale). This includes the December release for the HMI and the October data for starts (November housing starts will be released tomorrow). This was at the consensus estimate of a reading of 47.