Homebuilder Confidence Unchanged in April

Paul Ausick

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo housing market index for April remained unchanged from March’s reading of 58. The reading was lower than the consensus forecast of 59 from a Bloomberg survey of economists. In October 2015 the NAHB index reached 64, its highest level since the end of the housing boom in late 2005.

An index reading above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than view them as poor. The index score has remained steady for the past three months.

The current sales conditions subindex for April slipped from 65 to 63, and the subindex that estimates prospective buyer traffic rose from 43 to 44. The subindex measuring sales expectations for the next six months also rose one point to 62.

The NAHB’s chief economist said:

Builders remain cautiously optimistic about construction growth in 2016. Solid job creation and low mortgage interest rates will sustain continued gains in the single-family housing market in the months ahead.

In the NAHB’s regions, the three-month moving average index slipped in all four regions. In the West and Northeast regions, the index declined by two points to 67 in the West and to 44 in the Northeast. The index slipped by one point in the Midwest to a reading of 57 and by the same amount in the South to a new level of 58.

The current average interest rate for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage loan is 3.64%, according to Mortgage News Daily. That’s down about 0.2 points compared with March rates. The 52-week range for conventional 30-year fixed loans is 3.55% to 4.20%.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo housing market index has remained in the 60-point range since June 2015. Prior to mid-2013, the index had not risen to 50 since mid-2006.