With the assistance of the decline in mortgage rates the National Association of Home Builders is reporting un uptick in builder confidence in the new year. This month the market saw a rise of 2 points for newly-built single-family homes on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
This is a positive move into the new year after reports of a 4-point decrease in the month December 2018.
“Builders need to continue to manage rising construction costs to keep home prices affordable, particularly for young buyers at the entry-level of the market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Lower interest rates that peaked around 5% in mid-November and have since fallen to just below 4.5% will help the housing market continue to grow at a modest clip as we enter the new year.”
However, there was some downside to the news.
With housing and permit Census figures delayed from being released on Jan. 17, due to the government shutdown, the data is strictly only an estimate. The NAHB anticipates that the December Census data would show that single-family starts ended the year totaling 876,000 units, which would mark a 3% gain over the 2017 total of 848,900. The sales during the fourth quarter of 2018 however has left new home inventories elevated in some markets.
With 2018 in the past, hopefully 2019 will see growth of 3% or more over the 2018 year with a balance between new home starts and home inventories.