NAHB Housing Market Index: "Builder Confidence Uptick Signals Turning Point for Housing Lies Ahead"

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.


The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder sentiment regarding the relative level of current and future single-family home sales. It is a diffusion index, which means that a reading above 50 indicates a favorable outlook on home sales; below 50 indicates a negative outlook. The latest reading of 35 is up 4 from last month's 31, ending 12 consecutive monthly declines.

Here's an excerpt from this morning's blog update:

A modest drop in interest rates helped to end a string of 12 straight monthly declines in builder confidence levels, although sentiment remains in bearish territory as builders continue to grapple with elevated construction costs, building material supply chain disruptions and challenging affordability conditions.

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes in January rose four points to 35, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.

“It appears the low point for builder sentiment in this cycle was registered in December, even as many builders continue to use a variety of incentives, including price reductions, to bolster sales,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, a home builder and developer from Savannah, Ga. “The rise in builder sentiment also means that cycle lows for permits and starts are likely near, and a rebound for home building could be underway later in 2023.”

Here is the historical series, which dates from 1985.

Housing Market Index

The HMI correlates fairly closely with broad measures of consumer confidence. Here is a pair of overlays with the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (through the current month) and the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index (through the previous month).