U.S. Home Builder Index Increases in March
|in:Economy in Brief
- Current sales drive improvement.
- Regional readings are mixed.
The Composite Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo increased 4.8% (-44.3% y/y) to 44 during March following a 20.0% February increase. A reading of 40 had been expected in the Informa Global Markets Survey. The NAHB figures are seasonally adjusted. During the last ten years, there has been a 67% correlation between the y/y change in the home builders index and the y/y change in housing starts.
The index of present sales conditions in the housing market rose 4.3% (-43.7% y/y) to 49, up for the third straight month. The index for conditions in six months fell 2.1% (-32.9% y/y) to 47, after three months of strong increase.
Home builders reported that the traffic of prospective home-buyers index increased 10.7% to 31 (-53.0% y/y), the third consecutive monthly gain.
Amongst the regional indexes, the index for the South rose 8.7% (-38.3% y/y) while the Midwest index fell 2.8% (-52.7% y/y). The index for the West weakened 2.7% (-60.4% y/y) and the index for the Northeast held steady (-29.2% y/y).
The NAHB has compiled the Housing Market Index since 1985. It reflects survey questions asking builders to rate market conditions as "good," "fair," "poor" or "very high" to "very low." The figure is thus a diffusion index with numerical results six over 50 indicating a predominance of "good" readings. The weights assigned to the individual index components are .5920 for single-family detached sales, present time, .1358 for single-family detached sales, next months and .2722 for traffic of prospective buyers. The results are included in Haver's SURVEYS database. The expectations figure is available in Haver's MMSAMER database.
Tom MoellerAuthorMore in Author Profile »
Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio. Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984. He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists. Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.