The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index decreased 6 points to 49 in August. This is the eighth straight month that builder sentiment has declined, and marks the first time since May 2020 that the index fell below the key break-even measure of 50.
“Ongoing growth in construction costs and high mortgage rates continue to weaken market sentiment for single-family home builders,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, “And in a troubling sign that consumers are now sitting on the sidelines due to higher housing costs, the August buyer traffic number in our builder survey was 32, the lowest level since April 2014 with the exception of the spring of 2020 when the pandemic first hit.”
“Tighter monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and persistently elevated construction costs have brought on a housing recession,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “The total volume of single-family starts will post a decline in 2022, the first such decrease since 2011. However, as signs grow that the rate of inflation is near peaking, long-term interest rates have stabilized, which will provide some stability for the demand-side of the market in the coming months.”
All three HMI components posted declines in August and each fell to their lowest level since May 2020. Current sales conditions dropped seven points to 57, sales expectations in the next six months declined two points to 47 and traffic of prospective buyers fell five points to 32.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell nine points to 56, the Midwest dropped three points to 49, the South fell seven points to 63 and the West posted an 11-point decline to 51.
Read the NAHB release.