Housing affordability is at an all-time high, and builder confidence in the single-family, new-construction home market improved for the second month, NAHB President Jerry Howard and Chief Economist David Crowe said in a press conference Monday.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index for the first quarter is 72.5, a 10-point increase from the fourth quarter of 2008. The HOI measures the percentage of homes sold that a families with an average income can afford.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose in May to 16, the second month in a row the index has a double-digit rating but still well below stable market conditions.
The greatest HMI increase was in the West, which jumped to 12 from 8, largely due to California’s $10,000 home-buyer tax credit that can be used in addition to the $8,000 first-time home-buyer tax credit, Crowe said. The HMI measures four regions, and all but the Midwest, at 14, showed significant increases, although it’s worth nothing that in April, the Midwest rating jumped to 14 from 8.
In May, the Northeast HMI gained three points, to 18; the South gained a point, bringing it to 18.
The HMI measures builder confidence in the single-family, new-construction home market.
The strength of the indicators point to a turnaround, Howard said, although he cautions a significant improvement is a long way off. Crowe said he anticipates the housing market beginning to begin to return to normal in 2010, with the pickup beginning at the end of 2009.
Meanwhile the John Burns Real Estate Consulting May Survey of new, single-family, detached homes shows steady sales and a slight improvement – view survey findings. Fifty three percent of public and private builder executives who took the survey rates sales as poor, compared with 56 percent last month. Both months are a significant improvement over January, in which 87 percent of builder executives rated sales as poor.
Mori Housseini, CEO of ICI Homes in Daytona Beach, Fla., spoke with Howard and Crowe and noted that his company has seen increased traffic and sold 81 homes in April, the best in three years. That might be partly due to the fact that prices in his area have come down to 2000/2001 levels, he said.
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