The Housing Market Index is once again unchanged but existing home sales are showing growth in March. And while housing starts fell this month, they are still considerably higher than in 2015.
Housing market index
Builder confidence remained unchanged for the third consecutive month at 58.
The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months and the component charting buyer traffic both increased one point in April to 62 and 44, respectively. The component gauging current sales conditions dropped two points to 63.
“As the spring buying season gets under way, home builders are confident that current low interest rates and continued job growth will draw consumers to the market,” said Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo., and the NAHB’s chairman.
Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and West were both unchanged at 59 and 67, respectively. The Midwest dropped three points to 56 and the Northeast fell five points to 41.
Privately owned housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000 in March, This is 8.8 percent below the revised February estimate of 1,194,000 but is 14.2 percent higher than the March 2015 rate of 954,000.
Single–family housing starts were at a rate of 764,000 in March, which is 9.2 percent below the revised February figure of 841,000.
Privately owned housing completions were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,061,000. This is 3.5 percent above the revised February estimate of 1,025,000 and 31.6 percent above the March 2015 rate of 806,000.
Single-family housing completions were at a rate of 734,000 in March, which is 0.3 percent below the revised February rate of 736,000.
Existing home sales
Total existing home sales rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in March from a downwardly revised 5.07 million in February. Sales rose in all four regions and are up 1.5 percent year-over-year.
The median existing home price for all housing types was $222,700 in March, up 5.7 percent from the previous year. This marks the 49th consecutive month of YOY gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of March increased 5.9 percent to 1.98 million existing homes available for sale, but is still 1.5 percent lower than March 2015. Unsold inventory was at a supply of 4.5 months at the current sales pace, up from 4.4 months in February.
The share of first-time buyers was 30 percent in March, unchanged both from February and March 2015. First-time buyers in 2015 represented an average of 30 percent.