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Economy in Brief

U.S. Home Builders Index Improves to Six-Month High
by Tom Moeller  July 16, 2014

The Composite Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders-Wells Fargo improved to 53 this month from an unrevised from 49 in June. The latest figure was the highest since January and beat expectations in the Informa Global Markets Survey for a reading of 50. The index of single-family home sales increased to 57, the highest level since January. The index of expected sales during the next six months jumped to 64, also the highest level since September. The NAHB figures are seasonally adjusted.

Realtors reported that their traffic index of prospective buyers improved to 39, also the highest level since January.

The index reading of activity in the West led this month's improvement. It jumped six points to the highest level since January. The reading for the Midwest also gained six points to the highest level since January. The figure for the Northeast improved three points to the six month high while the reading for the South inched up one point, also to its January high.

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 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 six 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.

National Association of Home Builders Jul Jun May Jul'13 2013 2012 2011
Composite Housing Market Index, SA (All Good=100) 53 49 45 56 51 34 16
 Single-Family Sales: Present 57 53 48 59 55 36 16
 Single-Family Sales: Next Six Months 64 58 56 67 58 41 22
 Traffic of Prospective Buyers 39 36 33 45 39 27 13
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