Home builder confidence in the single-family 55-plus housing market took a dive in the first part of the year, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) recently released 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI). The Index reading for the first quarter of 2017 was 55—down from 67, a post-recession high, in the fourth quarter of 2016. An above-50 reading indicates more builders have a positive outlook than a negative one.
“Although builder sentiment in the 55-plus housing sector is down from the previous quarter, overall confidence is still in positive territory and builders remain optimistic about the market,” said Dennis Cunningham, chairman of the NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council, in a statement.
Home builders’ expectations regarding present and expected single-family home sales in the 55-plus market both fell in the first quarter, down to 62 and 68, in order, while expected homebuyer traffic fell 15 points to 34. Home builders’ expectations regarding present multifamily condominium sales in the 55-plus market stayed unchanged at 50, while expected sales fell five points to 47 and expected homebuyer traffic rose two points to 37.
“We saw an unusually high 55-plus single-family HMI in the fourth quarter of 2016 due to a post-election surge in optimism,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist at the NAHB. “As this wears off, confidence is returning to a more sustainable level. Although builders are struggling with shortages of labor and lots, as well as higher lumber prices, market conditions on balance remain favorable, and we expect solid growth in the 55-plus housing sector.”
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