Real Estate in Brief: Builder confidence steadies, home sizes decrease and more

by Kelly McCabe


While tight inventory continues to nag the U.S. housing industry, homebuilders around the country are confident in the market, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The Housing Market Index revealed that builder confidence for new single-family homes stayed unchanged in February at 72. Respondents said they are encouraged by a pro-business political climate and surging consumer demand, said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

“The HMI gauge of future sales expectations has reached a post-recession high, an indicator that consumer demand for housing should grow in the months ahead,” he said. “With ongoing job creation, increasing owner-occupied household formation, and a tight supply of existing home inventory, the single-family housing sector should continue to strengthen at a gradual but consistent pace.”

In other recent industry news:

  • The NAHB also reported that the size of new homes around the country is falling. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the median floor area of a single-family home was 2,371 square feet.
  • U.S. home construction jumped 9.7 percent in January to an annual rate of 1.326 million, the U.S. Commerce Department reported. Meanwhile, the number of building permits issued also increased 7.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.396 million as builders try to alleviate low inventory around the country.
  • Mortgage applications for new homes spiked 18.4 percent year over year in January 2018 from January 2017, according to the latest Builder Application Survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association.  The MBA predicts new home sales will hit 700,000 on a seasonally adjusted annual basis — the most since the survey started in 2013.