This is the home builders index which has been influencing forecaster’s optimism for housing. Note that it’s stalled well below levels of prior cycles, and that there are far fewer home builders this time around as well:
Housing Market Index
The drop this month in interest rates isn’t driving up demand for housing, based on weekly mortgage bankers data for purchase applications and now on the housing market index from the nation’s home builders which is down 5 points to 54. The key in October’s report is the traffic component which is down a full 6 points to 41. Lack of traffic points to lack of interest including lack of interest from the important group of first-time home buyers. The report’s two other components are also down with present sales down 6 points to 57 and future sales down 3 points to 64.
All regions show declines in their composite scores especially the Midwest which is down 8 points to 53 and the West which is down 7 points to 54. The South, which is by far the largest region for new homes, continues to lead, at 59 for a 4 point dip in the month. The Northeast is by the smallest region for new homes and trails in this report at 40 for a 2 point dip.
New home builders can’t blame high interest rates or high unemployment for the weakness in their sector. Housing starts for September will be posted tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. ET.
All three HMI components declined in October. The index gauging current sales conditions decreased six points to 57, while the index measuring expectations for future sales slipped three points to 64 and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers dropped six points to 41.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast and Midwest remained flat at 41 and 59, respectively. The South rose two points to 58 and the West registered a one-point loss to 57.
Industrial Production keeps chugging along, reversing last month’s dip so the two month average is about the average annual growth rate: