Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Nov 16 2023

U.S. Home Builders Index Down for a 4th Month

  • Reported home sales down 13% from October
  • Prospective buyer traffic also weaker, down 19% from October
  • The overall index did rise in the Northeast, but fell in other regions

The Housing Market Index compiled by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo fell again in the November reading, which is 34, compared to October’s 40. This is the fourth consecutive decline in this housing market measure and, at 34, it is the lowest since 31 last December. In percentage terms, the November decline from October is 15.0% and puts the reading up 3.0% year-on-year.

Participants in this NAHB survey reported that their single-family sales measure stands at 40 this month, down 13.0% from October’s 46. The November reading is 2.6% above November 2022. Builders’ reading for sales expected over the next six months stands at 39, down 11.4% from October’s 44 but up 25.8% from a year ago. Traffic of prospective buyers also decreased in the November reading, which is 21, down 19.2% from 26 in October and up 5.0% from November 2022. That year-ago reading was 20, the lowest since the pandemic recession of early 2020.

Regionally, the overall housing market index actually improved in the Northeast in the November survey, rising 15.2% to 53 from 46 in October and standing up 65.6% from November 2022. The other regions saw declines in the current survey, with the Midwest reading of 32, down 13.5% from October and down 8.6% from a year ago. In the South, the index is 35 this month, down 18.6% from the October reading and up 6.1% from November 2022. The West had the weakest regional November 2023 reading, 28, down 22.2% from October and equal to the 28 of November 2022.

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. The regional indexes run back to December 2004.

These data are included in Haver's SURVEYS database.

  • Carol Stone, CBE came to Haver Analytics in 2003 following more than 35 years as a financial market economist at major Wall Street financial institutions, most especially Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities. She has broad experience in analysis and forecasting of flow-of-funds accounts, the federal budget and Federal Reserve operations. At Nomura Securites, among other duties, she developed various indicator forecasting tools and edited a daily global publication produced in London and New York for readers in Tokyo.   At Haver Analytics, Carol is a member of the Research Department, aiding database managers with research and documentation efforts, as well as posting commentary on select economic reports. In addition, she conducts Ways-of-the-World, a blog on economic issues for an Episcopal-Church-affiliated website, The Geranium Farm.   During her career, Carol served as an officer of the Money Marketeers and the Downtown Economists Club. She has a PhD from NYU's Stern School of Business. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a weekend home on Long Island.

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