January 18

Watch and Win!


In January, there was a significant improvement in homebuilder sentiment, with a remarkable jump of 7 points to reach a score of 44 on the National Association of Home Builders monthly index. Although anything below 50 is still considered negative, it is worth noting that the index has now risen by 10 points in the past two months.

This surge in sentiment coincides with a substantial decrease in mortgage interest rates, dropping from around 8% in mid-October to the 6% range in December. Builders attribute this decline as the main reason for the growing confidence, as it has positively impacted housing affordability.

Alicia Huey, the NAHB chairman and a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham, Alabama, stated, “Lower interest rates have significantly improved housing affordability conditions this past month, enticing buyers who were previously deterred by higher borrowing costs. As a result, we anticipate an increase in single-family starts in 2024, which will help address the market’s inventory shortage. However, builders will face challenges in terms of rising building material costs, availability, and lot supply.”

It is worth mentioning that the current sentiment level is the highest it has been since September, indicating a positive trend in the homebuilding industry.

Out of the three components of the index, there was a notable increase in current sales conditions by 7 points, reaching a score of 48. Sales expectations for the next six months also experienced a significant jump of 12 points, reaching a score of 57. Additionally, buyer traffic saw a modest rise of 5 points, reaching a score of 29.

When looking at the regional perspective over a three-month moving average, builder confidence showed the most improvement in the Northeast. This region is now the only area in positive territory, with a confidence score of 55. On the other hand, sentiment remained unchanged in the Midwest, while it slightly increased in both the South and West regions.

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