Builder Confidence Up Due to Lack of Existing Inventory
May 18, 2023
The extremely limited amount of existing inventory has breathed new life into new construction resulting in a solid gain for builder confidence in May, even as the industry grapples with several challenges including raw materials supply chain disruptions and tightening credit conditions for new constructions loans.
This information comes by way of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) who overall found that the lack of existing inventory has boosted builder confidence. Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in May rose five points to 50, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marks the fifth straight month that builder confidence has increased and is the first time that sentiment levels have reached the midpoint mark of 50 since July 2022.
“New home construction is taking on an increased role in the marketplace because many home owners with loans well below current mortgage rates are electing to stay put, and this is keeping the supply of existing homes at a very low level,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey, a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham, Ala. “While this is fueling cautious optimism among builders, they continue to face ongoing challenges to meet a growing demand for new construction. These include shortages of transformers and other building materials and tightening credit conditions for residential real estate development and construction brought on by the actions of the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.”
“Lack of existing inventory continues to drive buyers to new construction,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “In March, 33% of homes listed for sale were new homes in various stages of construction. That share from 2000-2019 was a 12.7% average. With limited available housing inventory, new construction will continue to be a significant part of prospective buyers’ search in the quarters ahead.”
And with interest rates more than doubling from 2021, the survey shows incentives have played a key role in attracting buyers in this new economic climate and that the use of these sales inducements are gradually slowing across the board:
The share of builders reducing home prices dropped to 27% in May, down from 30% in April, 31% in Feb. and March, and 36% last November.
The average price reduction remains at 6%, unchanged for the past four months.
54% offered some type of incentive to bolster sales in May, down from 59% in April and 62% last December.
All three major HMI indices posted gains in May. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions rose five points to 56, the component charting sales expectations in the next six months increased seven points to 57 and the gauge measuring traffic of prospective buyers increased two points to 33.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the, the Midwest edged up two points to 39, the South increased three points to 52 and the West moved three points higher to 41. The Northeast held steady at 45. Read the full report from The M Report here.
The full data set, including tables and graphics, can befound here.