New-Home Sales Rise 2.3 Percent in April

National Association of Home BuildersMay 23, 2013 – Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 454,000 units in April, according to newly released figures from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau. The gain builds on a strong upward revision to sales numbers reported for the previous month.

“Builders are reporting an active spring buying season as consumers become more confident about going forward with a new-home purchase along with steadily firming prices in local markets,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “While the cost of constructing homes is rising due to tightened supplies of materials, lots and labor, to some extent, this may be creating greater urgency among potential buyers.”

“Today’s report is further evidence of the gradual, consistent improvement we have been seeing in housing market conditions over the past year,” noted NAHB Senior Economist Robert Denk. “We’re now about half-way back to what could be considered a full recovery, and we do expect to see continual, solid gains in both starts and sales of new homes going forward.”

On a regional basis, new-home sales rose 3.0 percent in the South and 10.8 percent in the West, but fell 4.8 percent in the Midwest and 16.7 percent in the Northeast in April.

The inventory of new homes for sale edged up to a still-thin 156,000 units in April. This is a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

Builder Confidence Improves in May

National Association of Home BuildersMay 15, 2013 – Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes improved three points to a 44 reading on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) for May, released today. This gain, from a downwardly revised 41 in April, reflected improvement in all three index components – current sales conditions, sales expectations and traffic of prospective buyers.

“Builders are noting an increased sense of urgency among potential buyers as a result of thinning inventories of homes for sale, continuing affordable mortgage rates and strengthening local economies,” noted National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “This is definitely an encouraging sign even amidst rising challenges with regard to the cost and availability of building materials, lots and labor.”

“While industry supply chains will take time to re-establish themselves following recession-related cutbacks, builders’ views of current sales conditions have improved and expectations for the future remain quite strong as consumers head back to the market in force,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted gains in May. The index gauging current sales conditions increased four points to 48, while the index gauging expectations for future sales edged up a single point to 53 – its highest level since February of 2007. The index gauging traffic of prospective buyers gained three points to 33.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, no movement was recorded in the Northeast, Midwest or South, which held unchanged at 37, 45 and 42, respectively. Only the West recorded a decline, of six points to 49 in May.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

Builder Confidence in the 55+ Housing Market Shows Strong Growth in First Quarter

National Association of Home BuildersMay 9, 2013 – In the first quarter of 2013, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ single-family Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 19 points on a year over year basis to 46, which is the highest first-quarter number recorded since the inception of the index in 2008 and sixth consecutive quarter of year over year improvements.

“Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector continue to report increased optimism in the market,” said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB’s 50+ Housing Council and managing member of the Symphony Development Group. “We are seeing an increase in consumer demand for homes and communities that are designed to address the specific needs of the mature homebuyer.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

All of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI showed significant growth from a year ago: present sales climbed 19 points to 46, expected sales for the next six months increased 21 points to 53 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 15 points to 41.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI posted a substantial gain of 23 points to 38, which is the highest first-quarter reading since the inception of the index. All 55+ multifamily condo HMI components increased compared to a year ago as present sales rose 23 points to 37, expected sales for the next six months climbed 23 points to 43 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 23 points to 38.

The 55+ multifamily rental indices also showed strong gains in the first quarter as present production increased 12 points to 43, expected future production rose 13 points to 48, current demand for existing units climbed 14 points to 56 and future demand increased 13 points to 58.

“The strong year over year increase in confidence reported by builders for the 55+ market is consistent with year over year increases in other segments of the home building industry,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “While demand for new 55+ housing has improved due to a reduced inventory of homes on the market and low interest rates, builders’ ability to respond to the demand is being limited by a shortage of labor with basic construction skills and rising prices for some building materials.”

Before a DIY Home Project, Consider Safety, Time and Hidden Costs

National Association of Home BuildersMay 1, 2013 – To celebrate National Home Remodeling Month in May, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers recommends that home owners consider the safety risks, time delays and hidden costs before attempting do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements.

According to HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, home owner DIY projects accounted for 37 percent of all home remodeling projects performed nationwide from 2010-2011. While many projects look manageable at first glance, there are many points to consider when determining the “real” cost generated on a project.

“Remodeling can be complex and often times full of surprises, even for experts like our members,” said NAHB Remodelers Chairman Bill Shaw, GMR, GMB, CGP, a remodeler from Houston. “DIY projects should be rewarding and fun, but if your DIY can’t be completed in the planned price range or your safety is at risk, leave the work in the hands of professional remodelers.”

Review the following considerations before sinking resources into a DIY home remodel:

Hidden Costs – Many of the products purchased for the DIY market, although designated by a name brand, are not always the same quality available to contractors. It is also important to verify the terms of the product warranty. Many warranties become void by improper installation.

Safety – Without the proper training and preparation, a DIYer can, and has, landed in the emergency room. Unfamiliarity with new tools and techniques can lead to life-threatening accidents. A good rule of thumb for any home owner is to avoid projects that require a license or structural changes to walls, roofs and floors.

Time – Troubleshooting unexpected issues often takes more time and expertise than originally planned. Hiring a professional will ensure that you have a contract with a completion date and that the remodeler will bring in whatever help is necessary to get the job finished on time.

Search the Directory of Professional Remodelers at www.nahb.org/remodelerdirectory to find a local professional remodeler.