Homebuilder confidence in the single-family housing market bounced this month following a stumble in October, according to a popular measure. The National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index, a closely watched gauge of builder sentiment, rose four points in the latest reading to a level of 58. The increase followed a five-point drop in October and put the index close to its September reading of 59, a nearly nine-year high. NAHB's chief economist, David Crowe, cited low interest rates, affordable house prices, and solid job creation as the catalyst behind the recent trend of rising confidence.
All three of the index's components improved in November, led by a five-point gain in the gauge tracking current sales conditions, which came up to 62. The index measuring expectations for future home sales moved just two points, landing at 66, while the index gauging traffic from prospective homebuyers increased four points to 45.
A recent survey of lenders conducted by the Collingwood Group found most are tepid about current business conditions for the mortgage industry. In a release this week, the firm reported that a little more than a third of mortgage finance leaders expect business conditions to improve at all in the next six months as companies continue to adjust to heightened regulation. At the same time, about a quarter of respondents anticipate conditions will worsen. Many respondents said seasonal trends tend to affect their outlook on business conditions, such as one lender who reported that the winter months hurt production last year, and they expected that to be the case again this year.