Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes reached an important milestone in July, rising four points to a reading of 53 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).
Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.
"This is the first time that builder confidence has been above 50 since January and an important sign that it is strengthening as pent-up demand brings more buyers into the marketplace," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
"An improving job market goes hand-in-hand with a rise in builder confidence," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "As employment increases and those with jobs feel more secure about their own economic situation, they are more likely to feel comfortable about buying a home."
Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor."
The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.
All three HMI components posted gains in July. The index gauging current sales conditions increased four points to 57, while the index measuring expectations for future sales rose six points to 64 and the index gauging traffic of prospective buyers increased three points to 39.
The HMI three-month moving average was up in all four regions, with the West registering a five-point gain to 52 while the South rose two points to 51. The Northeast and Midwest posted one-point and two-point gains to 35 and 48, respectively.