The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held steady from October with a mark of 63 in November, the NAHB reported on Wednesday, noting that the monthly reading of optimism among its membership occurred, for the most part, before the Nov. 8 elections.
Current sales conditions also held from October at 69 in November. Buyer traffic increased by one point to 47, while sales expectations for the next six months fell two points to 69 during the period.
- November’s reading ties for the second-highest HMI score so far this year.
The HMI charts builders' optimism in the market for new single-family homes, which is gradually rebounding. According to Commerce Department data, single-family home starts rose 8.1% from August to September and were up 5.4% year-over-year. Starts data for October will be released Thursday and should give more insight into how homebuilding activity was impacted in the lead-up to the election.
NAHB Chairman Ed Brady called out the Nov. 8 vote — which had yet to occur at the time most NAHB members responded to the latest HMI survey — as the primary reason the reading was unchanged in November. Similarly, the Architecture Billings Index for October released today by the American Institute of Architects credited a recent slowdown in demand for design services to businesses’ hesitation to make major investments ahead of the close, and contentious, presidential election.
With the race now over, the industry is turning its attention to parsing President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for housing and infrastructure. Whether the incoming administration sticks to its hard-line campaign proposals for massive infrastructure investment and large-scale deregulation is sure to impact builders’ outlook for the future of single-family housing.
The HMI is the first in this month’s spate of housing market reports. Stay tuned for housing starts Thursday, new and existing home sales next week and pending sales at the end of the month.
For more housing news, sign up for our daily residential construction newsletter.