US: Housing Market Index

Mon Aug 17 09:00:00 CDT 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous
Housing Market Index 61 59 to 62 61 60

The new home sector is increasingly a central source of strength for the economy and builders are increasingly optimistic. The housing market index rose 1 point to a very strong 61 in August with the future sales component leading the way at 70. Current sales are at 66 with traffic continuing to lag but less so, at 45 for a 2 point gain in the month. By region, the South and West show the greatest composite strength at 63 each followed by the Midwest at 58 and the Northeast, which is the smallest region for new homes, still showing contraction at a sub-50 reading of 46.

Strength in the labor market is the driving force behind strength for new homes where lack of supply continues to motivate builders. Today's report points to another strong housing starts report for tomorrow.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
The housing market index is coming off a 10-year high in July at 60 and is expected to add another notch in August to 61. With inventories of new homes thin and with sales going up, optimism among home builders has been growing.

The National Association of Home Builders produces a housing market index based on a survey in which respondents from this organization are asked to rate the general economy and housing market conditions. The housing market index is a weighted average of separate diffusion indexes: present sales of new homes, sale of new homes expected in the next six months, and traffic of prospective buyers in new homes.

This report provides a gauge of not only the demand for housing, but the economic momentum. People have to be feeling pretty comfortable and confident in their own financial position to buy a house. Furthermore, this narrow piece of data has a powerful multiplier effect through the economy, and therefore across the markets and your investments. By tracking economic data such as the housing market index, investors can gain specific investment ideas as well as broad guidance for managing a portfolio. Whether the housing market index reflects new home sales or home resales, once a home is sold, it generates revenues for the realtor and the builder. It brings a myriad of consumption opportunities for the buyer. Refrigerators, washers, dryers and furniture are just a few items home buyers might purchase. The economic "ripple effect" can be substantial especially when you think a hundred thousand new households around the country are doing this every month. Since the economic backdrop is the most pervasive influence on financial markets, home sales have a direct bearing on stocks, bonds and commodities. In a more specific sense, trends in the existing home sales data carry valuable clues for the stocks of home builders, mortgage lenders and home furnishings companies.