Connect with us

Real Estate Big Data

The NAHB Index’s newest numbers have some people on edge

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) The NAHB housing market index is reflecting a drop in home builder confidence which is not to be confused with another crucial home builder trait.

Published

on

nahb index

The NAHB index

On Monday, The National Association of Home Builders released new data showing a drop in confidence among American home builders this month.

bar
The NAHB housing market index also fell by three points in April, to 68. In March, the NAHB index made it up to 71, which is the strongest reading in over a decade.

Incorrect

The NAHB index is based upon a survey of NAHB members, conducted monthly, which targets the single-family housing market, in particular. The survey asks for a rating of market conditions for new home sales, both in the present and in the next six months. It also asks for information about the behavior and numbers of potential new home buyers.

According to a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters, economists were incorrectly optimistic.

They expected home builder confidence to reach 70 this month, after the boost in March attributed to President Trump’s perceived anti-regulatory stance in the housing industry.

Apples to oranges

Chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, Robert Dietz, accompanied the new report with a reminder to distinguish demand from confidence: “The fact that the HMI measure of current sales conditions has been over 70 for five consecutive months shows that there is continued demand for new construction,” he said, but “builders are facing several challenges.” According to Dietz, these include “hefty regulatory costs and ongoing increases in building material prices.”

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald had some reassuring words of his own to add.

“Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground,” he said. “Builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers.” Basically, no one is worried about demand at this point. The problem lies in all the obstacles separating demand from supply.

No need to panic

Each of the index’s three components saw decreases in April: the current sales conditions component fell to 74, down 3 points; the sales expectations for the next six months also dropped three points, to 75; and the buyer traffic component fell a single point, to 52. However, the NAHB maintains that all three components remain at healthy levels.

The regional breakdown reveals a disparity between the West and the rest of the country.

Builder sentiment remained unchanged from March in the West, and went down a single point in the South. In the Northeast, however, builder sentiment went down an alarming eight points, and the Midwest saw a five-point decrease.

I dip, you dip, we dip

On the 18th, the Commerce Department is slated to release a report, unrelated to the NAHB, detailing new residential construction from March. New housing starts are expected to have declined to an annual rate of 1.262 million, after a jump to 1.288 million the previous month.

The industry may be starting to worry that President Trump will not keep his deregulation promises. If that’s the case, further dips may be in store as confidence drops across the board.

#NAHBIndex

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Real Estate Big Data

With housing demand so high, why are sales stagnant?

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) The housing market is on fire, yet some serious constraints are holding back sales levels – let’s discuss.

Published

on

housing optimism

If you have a pulse and are on the internet, you already know that the housing market is white hot, with bidding wars in more cities than ever. So why in the world are home sales stagnating?

Pending home sales rose only 0.4 percent in March, according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR’s) Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), decreasing 3.0 percent on an annualized basis – the third consecutive month of annual dips.

Despite a strong economy, NAR points yet again to “unrelenting inventory constraints” which they recently said would only be relieved by builders stepping up production, more homeowners putting their home on the market, and/or investors releasing inventory.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun says contract activity is moving sideways and not breaking higher despite the strong job-creating economy.

“Healthy economic conditions are creating considerable demand for purchasing a home, but not all buyers are able to sign contracts because of the lack of choices in inventory,” said Dr. Yun.

He continued, “Steady price growth and the swift pace listings are coming off the market are proof that more supply is needed to fully satisfy demand. What continues to hold back sales is the fact that prospective buyers are increasingly having difficulty finding an affordable home to buy.”

Dr. Yun forecasts that existing home sales will hit 5.61 million this year (up slightly from 5.51 million last year), also forecasting the national median home price will rise 4.4 percent.

He notes that affordability and availability are holding back home sales, combined with price appreciation outpacing incomes, and mortgage rates rising, sales will soon peak.

“Much of the country is enjoying a thriving job market, but buying a home is becoming more expensive,” said Yun. “That is why it is an absolute necessity for there to be a large increase in new and existing homes available for sale in coming months to moderate home price growth. Otherwise, sales will remain stuck in this holding pattern and a growing share of would-be buyers – especially first-time buyers – will be left on the sidelines.”

Continue Reading

Real Estate Big Data

Home sales surge in half of the nation, slump in the other half

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) Home sales rose last month, despite challenging inventory and affordability conditions – but not in all markets.

Published

on

home sales

Talk about mixed signals. We ended last week with alarm bells that affordability is restricting the housing market, yet home sales in March actually surged in the Northeast (up 6.3 percent) and Midwest (up 5.7 percent) compared to just one month prior.

Meanwhile, home sales slipped 0.4 percent in the South, and a whopping 3.1 percent in the West. Sales levels in all four regions are lower than they were at this time last year, reinforcing the supply and demand challenges, putting homeownership out of reach for a growing pool of potential buyers.

NAR Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun has indicated that the only way to loosen the noose is a combination of more current homeowners opting to sell, builders increasing new home production, and investors releasing inventory.

In the last year, the median existing home price rose 5.8 percent to $250,4000 with March as the 73rd consecutive month of annual gains.

The average number of days on market decreased to 30 days from 37 in February and 34 in March of 2017. Half of all home sold were on the market for less than a month, and in some cities, bidding wars and immediate sales are common.

“Although the strong job market and recent tax cuts are boosting the incomes of many households, speedy price growth is squeezing overall affordability in several markets – especially those out West,” said Dr. Yun.

That said, there is a silver lining.

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty notes, “First-time buyers continue to make up an underperforming share of the market because there are simply not enough homes for sale in their price range.”

Supply conditions improve in higher up price brackets,” concluded Mendenhall, “which means those trading up should see considerable interest in their home, as well as more listings to choose from during their own search.”

Continue Reading

Real Estate Big Data

Housing prices rise, outpacing wage increases

(REAL ESTATE NEWS) A new joint report from NAR and realtor.com reveal that affordability conditions are eroding and there are very few cures to this problem.

Published

on

housing sales

Good ol’ economics – housing demand continues to outpace supply, and bidding wars are now common in many cities. On a national scale, affordability is increasingly threatening many peoples’ ability to buy, based on their income.

The realtor.com and National Association of Realtors joint report, the Realtors Affordability Distribution Curve and Score, examines affordability conditions compared to income levels for active inventory in local markets. Higher scores suggest a particular market has more affordable homes in proportion to local income levels.

It’s no surprise that in March, the report indicates the least affordable (in proportion to income) is Hawaii, California, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Montana, and Rhode Island. In these states, households at the median income level can only afford 19 to 23 percent of the active housing inventory.

In contrast, the most affordable states are Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, and West Virginia, where a a typical household can afford 54 to 62 percent of all active inventory.

The report also indicates that more local markets are seeing worse affordability conditions compared to last year, with L.A., San Diego, San Jose, Ventura, and San Francisco leading the pack. In these markets, the typical household can only afford 3.0 to 11 percent of homes available for sale in their markets.

The typical household can afford nearly 75 percent of homes for sale in Dayton, OH, Toledo, OH, and Scranton, PA.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Dr. Lawrence Yun stated, “The survey confirms that the lack of entry-level supply is putting affordability pressures on too many buyers – especially those at the lower end of the market, where demand is the strongest.”

The report makes even more apparent why first-time buyers “struggle finding affordable properties to buy and are making up less than a third of home sales so far this year,” said Dr. Yun.

Although wages are on the rise, housing prices are outpacing these increases, and Dr. Yun points to the solution being “more homeowners selling, investors releasing their portfolio of single-family homes back onto the market and more single-family housing construction.”

Continue Reading

Emerging Stories

shares

Get The Real Daily
in your inbox

subscribe and get news and EXCLUSIVE content to your email inbox