Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

US homebuilder sentiment climbs higher in May

US homebuilder sentiment climbs higher in May

With a score of 70, the HMI signals growing consumer confidence in the new home market, according to the NAHB. Present single-family sales for April dropped to 74 from 77 in March, and single-family sales for the next six months dropped to 75 from 78 in March. Figures over 50 mean more builders see conditions as good rather than bad.

The May index exceeded analyst predictions, which called for the reading to hold steady from last month, according to FactSet. The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high", "average" or "low to very low". While some companies are now moving toward lower-priced models, most are still priced well above $200,000, which is roughly the national median price for an existing home.

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That's been good news for homebuilders this year. Sales were running 12 percent higher during the first three months of this year than during the same period in 2016.

"Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward", said Robert Dietz, the NAHB's chief economist.

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The index measures builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes. The index "reliably" forecasts housing markets, the analysis showed - specifically home sales, housing starts, and mortgage originations.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected this month's index to match April's reading of 68.

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Although, builders confidence scored an overall total of 70, breaking down the data, consumers rated sales expectations now at 76 and sales expectations in the next six months at 79. The index which measures sales expectations in the next six months increased four points to 79 and the index which looks at current sales conditions increased two points to 76.

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