Home Builder Confidence Moves To 6-Year High

NAHB Housing Market IndexAs home prices rise, so does home builder confidence.

Tuesday, the National Association of Homebuilders reported its monthly Housing Market Index (HMI) at 41, a one-tick improvement from September and the highest HMI value since June 2006 — a span of 77 months.

The Housing Market Index is a homebuilder confidence indicator. When it reads 50 or better, the HMI suggests favorable conditions for home builders nationwide. Readings below 50 suggest unfavorable conditions for builders.

The HMI has not crossed 50 since April 2006 but the index has been making a run since last year, nearly tripling since the 14 reading of last year’s September.

In addition, builder confidence has climbed for six straight months.

For Nashville buyers of new construction, the Housing Market Index may help to set market expectations for the rest of 2012, and into early-2013. This is because the NAHB Housing Market Index is constructed as a composite survey, measuring builder sentiment in three specific areas — current home sales, future home sales, and buyer foot traffic.

What’s good for builders, though, may not be good for buyers.

When builders expect business to improve, they may be less willing to make concessions on price or product, holding home prices high and removing seasonal sales incentives.

This month, home builders are seeing strength in each of the three surveyed areas :

  • Current Single-Family Sales : 42 (Unchanged from September)
  • Projected Single-Family Sales : 51 (Unchanged from September)
  • Buyer Foot Traffic : 35 (+5 from September)

All three values are at multi-year highs but it’s the level of foot traffic that may concern today’s home buyers. Builders report foot traffic through model units to be at the highest rate since mid-last decade. This, combined with a shrinking supply of homes for sale, has contributed to a rise in new home sale prices and suggests even higher home prices in 2013.

Like most of the U.S. housing market, new construction appears to have bottomed in October 2011. One year later, the market looks stronger.

Florida Takes Top Foreclosure Slot For September 2012

Foreclosures : September 2012

Foreclosure volume continues to slip.

According to foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac, in September, the number of foreclosure filings nationwide fell 7 percent from the month prior, and fell 16 percent from September 2011.

RealtyTrac defines a “foreclosure filing” as any of the following foreclosure-related events : (1) A default notice on a home; (2) A scheduled auction for a home; or, (3) A bank repossession of a home.

September’s 180,427 foreclosure filings mark the lowest monthly total in more than 5 years. It’s a signal that the U.S. housing market is in recovery, while also reflecting the success with which banks and homeowners have found alternatives to the foreclosure process, including the short sale.

Based on data from the National Association of REALTORS®, short sales now account for 45 percent of “distressed” home sales nationwide/ As recently as April, the percentage of short sales was just 39 percent.

Other noteworthy statistics from the September 2012 foreclosure report include :

  • Default Notices fell 12% between August and September 2012
  • In Q3 2012, quarterly foreclosure filings fell for the 9th straight quarter 
  • The average time to foreclose on a home rose to 382 days nationwide, the highest since early-2007

In addition, in September, Florida posted the top foreclosure rate nationwide for the first time since April 2005.

Foreclosure starts moved higher in the Sunshine State for the 11th straight month and bank repossessions are now up 23 percent as compared to September 2011. 1 in every 318 Florida homes received some form of foreclosure filing last month.

The national average was 1 in 730.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an experienced one, homes in various stages of foreclosure have allure. They tend to be sold cheaply as compared to non-distressed properties, for example. However, buyers should look beyond just the “list price”. Foreclosed homes are often sold as-is which means that homes may be defective and uninhabitable.

This would render the home un-lendable, too, for buyers using bank financing.

If you plan to buy a foreclosed property in Brentwood , therefore, be sure to engage an experienced real estate professional. The internet can teach about “how to buy a home”, but when it comes to writing contracts and inspecting homes for defects, you’ll want to have an experienced agent on your side.

103 Metro Areas On The “Improving” U.S. Markets List

NAHB Improving Market Index

It’s not just the housing market that’s improving nationwide — it’s the economy overall.

The number of U.S. metropolitan areas showing “measurable and sustained growth” climbed to 103 this month. The data is measured by the Improving Markets Index, a monthly metric from the National Association of Homebuilders.

The Improving Market Index is meant to identify which U.S. markets are experiencing broad economic growth — not just growth in terms of housing.

The index’s conclusions are based on three data series — each collected separately; each from a different division of the U.S. government; and, each tied to specific local economic conditions.

Those three data series are :

  1. Employment Statistics (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  2. Home Price Growth (from Freddie Mac)
  3. Single-Family Housing Growth (from the Census Bureau)

After collating the data, the National Association of Homebuilders evaluates the reports as a group for each specific major metropolitan area.

A metropolitan area can be cited as “improving” only if the following two conditions are met. One, all three data series show expansion and/or growth as compared to 30 days prior; and, two, none of the data series have “bottomed” within the last six months.

As a result of its methodology, the Improving Market Index specifically passes over short-term growth bursts in a market, isolating for areas with long-term, sustainable growth instead.

Furthermore, “improving” cities may be more apt to outperform other U.S. cities in the months and years ahead, rendering them ideal for relocating buyers from Brentwood in search of long-term employment and income opportunities, as well as real estate investors in want of healthy, stable markets.

33 states are represented in the October Improving Market Index, plus the District of Columbia. 11 new areas were added to the list as compared to September and just 7 dropped off.

The newly-added areas include State College, Pennsylvania and Raleigh, North Carolina. Cities falling off the list for October include Lakeland, Florida.

The complete Improving Markets Index is available for download at the NAHB website.

Case-Shiller index Shows Home Values Rising Nationwide, Too

Case-Shiller Index annual change July 2012

There have been no shortage of “housing market” stories lately. After sinking through much of late-last decade, home values slowly stabilized into mid-2011. By October 2011, values appeared to have bottomed.

Today, nearly five-and-one-half years after the April 2007 housing market peak, home prices are finally showing their ability to rebound. Over the past 12 months, a bevy of housing market data highlights broad-based market growth.

For example, as compared to August 2011, Existing Home Sales are up 9.3 percent nationally; New Home Sales are up 27.7 percent nationally; and home inventories have slipped to multi-year lows in Nashville and throughout the country.

Furthermore, multiple home value trackers show home prices rising both regionally and nationwide.

Last week, the government’s Federal Housing Finance Agency released its Home Price Index (HPI) — a metric which tracks how home values change between sequential property sales. HPI showed home values up 3.7% nationally.

Another home valuation tracker — the S&P Case-Shiller Index — has shown home values to be rising, too.

As compared to one year ago, the private-sector metric puts home prices higher by 1.2 percent via its 20-city composite. 20 cities remains a small subset of the broader U.S. population, but, in looking for a trend, it’s clear that the trend is a positive one.

Some of the Case-Shiller Index highlights from its most recent report :

  • All 20 tracked cities showed home price gains between June 2012 and July 2012
  • The previously hard-hit city of Phoenix now leads the nation with a 16.6% annual gain
  • Versus their respective lows, San Francisco and Detroit are up 20.4% and 19.7%

In addition, on a 12-month basis, only four cities are showing negative home value growth — Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York City.

The Case-Shiller Index is a national index, though, and specifically does not report on valuation changes in specific U.S. cities and their neighborhoods. For local real estate data, make sure to speak with a local real estate agent instead.