Morning Briefing: Home builder confidence reaches ten-year high

by Steve Randall18 Aug 2015
Home builder confidence reaches ten-year high
The confidence of builders in the market for new single-family homes hit its highest point since 2005 this month. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 1 point to hit 61 this month. “The fact the builder confidence has been in the low 60s for three straight months shows that single-family housing is making slow but steady progress,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. “However, we continue to hear that builders face difficulties accessing land and labor.” 

The index’s components on buyer traffic and current sales conditions were higher while market expectations for the next six months were flat. The strongest gains in sentiment were in the West and Midwest with more modest gains in the South and an unchanged Northeast.
 
Who are the first-time buyers these days?
New analysis sheds some light on the demographics and behavior of first-time homebuyers. The study by Zillow shows that those taking their first step on the home ownership ladder are likely to be older than first-time buyers would have been in the 70s and 80s; they are also more likely to be single. Americans are renting for an average of six years before buying their first homes. In the 1970s, they rented for an average of 2.6 years.

First-time buyers are also spending a bigger chunk of their incomes to buy; in the 1970’s they bought homes that cost about 1.7 times their annual income whereas now they're buying homes that cost 2.6 times their annual income.

The average first-time homebuyer is about 33 with a median income of $54,340, which is about the same as what first-time homebuyers made in the 1970s, when adjusted for inflation. In the late 1980s, 52 per cent of first-time homebuyers were married compared with 40 per cent today.
 
Iowa homes selling at fastest pace for 5 years
The housing market in Iowa is picking up pace as sales volume and prices increase. The Iowa Association of Realtors says that 4,661 homes were sold in July compared to 4,155 a year earlier. Pending sales were up almost 11 per cent. Lack of inventory is driving buyers to snap up homes aster while the median sales price has increased by 3.4 per cent in the past year to $150,000 and the average sales price has risen 6.1 per cent to $176,861. 
 

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