South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Home Builders Seeing More Sales Today; Fewer Sales Tomorrow

Posted in Housing Analysis by southorangecounty on May 17, 2011

NAHB HMI Index 2009-2010Home builder confidence can’t shake its range, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The group’s monthly Housing Market Index put May’s builder confidence reading at a level of 16.

The Housing Market Index is scored on a scale of 1-100. A reading above 50 suggests favorable conditions for the new home housing market, as reported by home builders. A reading below 50 suggests unfavorable conditions.

May marks the sixth time in 7 months that the HMI posted a 16, the longest such plateau in the index’s history.

The HMI has not posted higher than 50 since April 2006.

As an index, the HMI is a composite of three separate surveys sent to home builders each month. The surveys are meant to capture the current and projected single-family home sales volume, in addition to buyer foot traffic levels.

Versus April, there was little change:

  • Current single-family sales : 16 (+1 from April)
  • Projected single-family sales : 20 (-2 from April)
  • Buyer foot traffic : 14 (+1 from April)

Broken down, the Housing Market Index for May shows that home builders are experiencing a boost in sales and foot traffic today, but expect that boost to fade between today and November. For home buyers in Rancho Santa Margarita , this can present an opportunity.

With home builder confidence stagnating, and with a worsening sales expectation for the next 6 months, builders may be more willing to negotiate with you on home prices and/or the costs of upgrades. Builders may also be more willing to make concessions in your sales contract that would otherwise be unavailable to you.

Your real estate agent can help you to identify the negotiable items of your offer.

In addition, today’s home buyers can exploit the recent strength of the mortgage market. Surging mortgage bond demand since April has pushed mortgage rates down to their lowest levels of the year. If you can find a home you love, therefore, it can be financed on the (relative) cheap, too.

Conforming mortgage rates in California fell through 5 consecutive weeks before rising last week.

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Home Builders Report Higher Sales Levels In January

Posted in Homebuilders by southorangecounty on February 16, 2011

NAHB HMI Index 2000-2011

Homebuilder confidence in the market for newly-built, single family homes appears stable as the spring buying season gets underway in Trabuco Canyon.

The confidence reading is recorded and reported monthly by the National Association of Homebuilders. For the 4th straight month, the group’s Housing Market Index reads 16.

As a market indicator, Housing Market Index has been tracked for more than twenty years and reports on a 1-100 scale. A value of 50 or better indicates “favorable conditions” for home builders.

HMI hasn’t read higher than 50 since April 2006.

Broken down, the Housing Market Index is actually a weighted composite of 3 separate surveys measuring current single-family sales; projected single-family sales; and foot traffic of prospective buyers.

February’s surveys showed slight improvement as compared to January, overall.

  • Single-Family Sales : 17 (+2 from from January)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 25 (+1 from January)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 12 (unchanged from January)

It’s notable that the current sales levels were higher in February, and that projected sales levels for the next 6 months are higher, too.

For home buyers California across , this month’s Housing Market Index reading may foreshadow tougher negotiations in the months ahead with builders. The likelihood of getting discounts and free upgrades may be diminished as builders see their respective sales levels grow, and as the economy expands.

Coupled with rising mortgage rates, home buyer purchasing power may never be as high as it is today. 

Therefore, if your plans call for buying a newly-built home this year, think about moving up your time frame. Builder confidence appears to have bottomed. As it rises, so should home prices.

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