By Jill Mislinski
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI) is a gauge of builder opinion on 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 56, down 4 from last month's number, came in below Investing.com's forecast of 61.
Here is the opening of this morning's monthly update:
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell four points to 56 in December on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) as concerns over housing affordability persist. Although this is the lowest HMI reading since May 2015, builder sentiment remains in positive territory.
"We are hearing from builders that consumer demand exists, but that customers are hesitating to make a purchase because of rising home costs," said NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. "However, recent declines in mortgage interest rates should help move the market forward in early 2019." [link]
Here is the historical series, which dates from 1985.
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 previous month) and the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index.