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Economy in Brief

U.S. Home Builder Index Continues to Fall
by Tom Moeller   November 16, 2022

•Present & expected sales decline.

•Traffic of prospective buyers falls further.

•Regional declines are widespread except in the West.

The Composite Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo fell 13.2% (-60.2% y/y) during November to 33, the lowest level since April 2020. The index is down 63.3% from its November 2020 high of 90. A reading of 36 had been expected in the Informa Global Markets survey.

Each of the three HMI components declined again this month. The index of present sales conditions fell 13.3% (-56.2% y/y) to 39, the tenth decline in eleven months. The November level was 59.4% below the record-high of 96 in November 2020. The index of expected sales over the next six months dropped 11.4% in November (-63.1% y/y), down for a seventh consecutive month. The November value was the lowest level since April 2012. The index measuring traffic of prospective buyers fell 20.0% (-71.0% y/y), the eighth consecutive monthly decline.

Among the regions of the country, the Housing Market Index in Northeast fell 36.2% (-56.5% y/y). The other regions, the index in the South fell 17.1% (-60.9% y/y). In the Midwest, the index weakened 2.7% (-52.0% y/y). Working 12.0% higher (-68.2% y/y) was the index in the West.

The NAHB has compiled the Housing Market Index since 1985. It reflects survey questions which ask builders to rate sales and sales expectations as "good," "fair" or "poor" and traffic as "very high," "average" or "very low". The figures are diffusion indexes with values over 50 indicating a predominance of "good"/"very high" readings. In constructing the composite index, the weights assigned to the individual index components are: 0.5920 for single-family detached sales, present time, 0.1358 for single-family detached sales, next six months, and 0.2722 for traffic of prospective buyers. These data are included in Haver's SURVEYS database. The Informa Global Markets survey is in Haver's MMSAMER database.

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