Following eight consecutive months of
increases the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing
Market Index (HMI) held steady in January.
The current level of 47 remains the highest point for the Index since
The HMI is compiled from responses to a
survey conducted monthly by NAHB in which its home-builder members are asked to
rate their current perceptions of buyer activity and what they expect it to be six
months hence as "good," "fair," or "poor."
They are also asked to rate current traffic of buyers as "high to
very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores
from each component are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any
number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
The index's components were mixed in
January. The component gauging current sales conditions remained unchanged at
51. Meanwhile, the component gauging sales expectations in the next six months
fell one point to 49 and the component gauging traffic of prospective buyers
gained one point to 37.
The HMI three-month moving average was
up across all regions, with the Northeast and Midwest posting a two-point gain
to 36 and 50, respectively. The South registered a three-point gain to 49 and
the West posted a four-point increase to 51.
"Conditions in the housing market look much better now than at the
beginning of 2012 and an increasing number of housing markets are showing signs
of recovery, which should bode well for future home sales later this
year," said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home
Builders (NAHB). "However, uncertainties stemming from
last month's fiscal cliff negotiations contributed to the pause in builder
confidence and continuing discussions among policymakers related to spending
cuts and the future of the mortgage interest deduction could put a damper on
housing demand in the coming months."
"Builders' sentiment remains very close to the index's tipping point of
50, where an equal number of builders view conditions as good and poor, and
fundamentals indicate continued momentum in housing this year," said NAHB
Chief Economist David Crowe. "However, persistently tight mortgage credit
conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and the ongoing
stalemate in Washington over critical economic concerns continue to impede the
Home Builder Confidence