The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. The data is collected from a monthly survey of about 900 home builders asking respondents to, "rate market conditions for the sale of new homes at the present time and in the next six months as well as the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes." It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook. The latest reading of 42 is up 7 from last month's 35, marking two consecutive months of gains.
Here's an excerpt from this morning's blog update:
Two consecutive solid monthly gains for builder confidence, spurred in part by easing mortgage rates, signal that the housing market may be turning a corner even as builders continue to contend with high construction costs and building material supply chain logjams. Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in February rose seven points to 42, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This is the strongest reading since September of last year.
“With the largest monthly increase for builder sentiment since June 2013*, the HMI indicates that incremental gains for housing affordability have the ability to price-in buyers to the market,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey, a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham, Ala. “The nation continues to face a sizeable housing shortage that can only be closed by building more affordable, attainable housing. However, the two monthly gains for the HMI at the start of 2023 match the cautious optimism noted by the large number of builders at the recent International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, who reported a better start to the year than expected last fall.”
*Largest monthly increase since June 2020
Here is the historical series, which dates from 1985.