Housing Market on Track for Stability and Rebound in 2023

The housing market is on track for stability and a rebound later in 2023, according to forecasts from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).[0] The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) showed a seven-point increase in builder confidence for newly built single-family homes in February, the strongest reading since September 2022.[1]

The Federal Reserve has continued to tighten monetary policy conditions, yet the housing market has passed peak mortgage rates for this cycle, according to the NAHB. While mortgage rates and housing costs remain volatile, the building market should achieve stability in the coming months, followed by a rebound back to trend home construction levels later in 2023 and the beginning of 2024.

The NAHB’s February survey found that 31 percent of homebuilders reduced home prices in February, down from 35 percent in December and 36 percent in November.[2] In February, the average price decrease was 6 percent, which is lower than the 8 percent drop experienced in December.[3] In December, 62 percent of builders provided concessions to buyers, whereas only 57 percent offered them in the present.[4]

According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate hit a high of 7.08% in November of last year.[5] At the beginning of February, the 10-year Treasury rate dropped to around 6.1%. In the following weeks, it has risen again due to worries about inflation, indicating that further increases are probable.[6]

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose four points to 37, the Midwest edged one point higher to 33, the South increased four points to 40, and the West moved three points higher to 30.[7] Builder confidence has increased for two months in a row, partially due to the decline in mortgage rates, which could be a sign that the housing market is headed in a positive direction. Despite this, builders still struggle with costly construction expenses and issues with the supply chain for building materials.[1]

NAHB chairman Alicia Huey noted that the most challenging part of the homebuilding market is the construction of entry-level homes, and he called on policymakers to “help by reducing the cost of developing lots and building homes via regulatory reform.[2]

0. “Homebuilder Confidence Improves at Fastest Pace in a Decade” Investopedia, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.investopedia.com/homebuilder-confidence-7110198

1. “Builders Turn ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ in Feb.” | Florida Realtors, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2023/02/builders-turn-cautiously-optimistic-feb

2. “U.S. builder confidence rises for second consecutive month, to highest level since September 2022” MarketWatch, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-builder-confidence-rises-for-second-consecutive-month-to-highest-level-since-september-2022-60e70553

3. “Builders feeling cautiously optimistic thanks to lower mortgage rates” HousingWire, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.housingwire.com/articles/builders-are-feeling-cautiously-optimistic-thanks-to-lower-mortgage-rates/

4. “Homebuilders are feeling a lot more optimistic as market begins to thaw” Inman, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.inman.com/2023/02/15/homebuilders-are-feeling-a-lot-more-optimistic-as-market-begins-to-thaw/

5. “Builder Sentiment Rises with Cautious Optimism” Builder Magazine, 14 Feb. 2023, https://www.builderonline.com/data-analysis/builder-sentiment-rises-with-cautious-optimism_o

6. “Home builder sentiment sees biggest monthly jump since 2013 – Local News 8” LocalNews8.com, 15 Feb. 2023, https://localnews8.com/news/economy/2023/02/15/home-builder-sentiment-sees-biggest-monthly-jump-since-2013/

7. “Builder Confidence at Best Levels in Ten Years” Mortgage News Daily, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/news/02152023-nahb-builder-confidence