After a post-election surge in December, homebuilder confidence pulled back more than expected to kick off the year. While economists were forecasting the NAHB homebuilder sentiment survey to come in at a level of 69 this month, the actual reading came in two points lower at 67, and down three points from December’s originally reported reading of 70. We would note that last month’s initial reading was also revised down one point, so the m/m decline was just two points. Looking at the chart below, even after this month’s decline, sentiment remains above every other reading of this expansion prior to December.
The table to the right shows the breakdown of this month’s report by traffic as well as present and future sales along with sentiment broken down by region. Every component of the overall index declined in January, with the biggest decline coming in Present Sales while Traffic saw the smallest decline. In terms of regions, sentiment on the coasts saw the largest decline, while homebuilder sentiment in the Midwest, which includes the rust belt states that went in favor of Trump, was unchanged at its highs for the cycle. Even for the other three regions, though, it is important to remember that January’s decline in sentiment comes from what were the highest levels of the cycle.