As we noted last week on the release of the latest mortgage purchase data, housing activity appears to have finally stabilized after plummeting earlier in the tightening cycle. That improvement in housing markets is flowing through to builders as this morning’s release of homebuilder sentiment from the NAHB rose to 50 versus the expectation of it remaining unchanged at 45. While the index still has a long way to go to get back to pre-pandemic levels, let alone the record highs from the first two years of the pandemic, in May it hit the highest level since last July.
The higher reading in the headline index was a result of improvements across the board, including increases in present and future sales and traffic. As for regional sentiment, homebuilders have gotten more optimistic across most of the country. Everywhere save for the Northeast have seen steady improvements to homebuilder sentiment over the past several months. As for the Northeast, that is not to say sentiment has not improved. The reading has rebounded off of the worst levels but remains below the recent highs of 46 from February and March.
Homebuilder stocks continue to be even more impressive. Proxied by the iShares Home Construction ETF (ITB), homebuilders have been trading in a steady and uninterrupted uptrend. In fact, the ETF has been overbought every day for a month now.
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