The NAHB’s Housing Market Index for August saw its second straight month with a modest increase bringing it to 66 compared to expectations of an unchanged 65. Although the index has been grinding higher since plummeting to its late 2018 low, it is still well off of its December 2017 record high of 74.
Breaking down the indicator by its sub-indices, improved present sales and traffic led to a stronger index in August. Both rose by 2 and are now at their highest levels of 2019. Future sales outlook still remains bleaker though as it declined to 70 in August. As shown in the chart below, in addition to the spike lower at the end of last year, future sales have been in a downtrend since February 2018. Unlike present sales and traffic, the rebound of future sales’ off of the December low has not seen promising follow-through.
Of the individual regions, sentiment in the West continues to be the strongest improving to 75 in August. Granted this is still off of its cycle highs; as is the case for each of the regions. The other regions generally saw improvements as well, other than the South. While the South did not improve, it did hold steady at a solid reading of 69. The Midwest jumped by 5 points and the Northeast also improved to 57. Start a two-week free trial to Bespoke Institutional to access our interactive economic indicators monitor and much more.