Economist's Insights

Home Builders Look a Little Less Confident to Start 2018

Mar 15, 2018

The NAHB’s housing market index unexpectedly slipped one point in March from a negatively revised 71 for the month before (February initially estimated at 72). An indicator tracking current sales activity was unchanged but forward looking indicators – sales expectations over the next six months and foot traffic of prospective buyers – were slightly weaker. Geographically, the weakness was centered in the Midwest as surveys covering the Northeast, South, and West all improved. Despite the three-month downtrend, the absolute level remained near its highest levels in 18 years. The NAHB’s Chairman said of the March result, “Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market. …However, builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand.”