Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for an eighth consecutive month in December to a level of 47 on the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marked a two-point gain from a slightly revised November reading, and the highest level the index has attained since April 2006.
Two of the HMI's three component indexes are now above the critical midpoint of 50. The component gauging current sales expectations rose two points to 51 in December, while the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months slipped one point, to 51. The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased one point, to 36.
‘Builders across the country are reporting some of the best sales conditions they've seen in more than five years, with more serious buyers coming forward and a shrinking number of vacant and foreclosed properties on the market,’ says NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. ‘However, one thing that is still holding back potential home sales is the difficulty that many families are encountering in getting qualified for a mortgage due to today's overly stringent lending standards.’
HMI tables can be found online.