Back in February 2012, we were cautiously optimistic about residential home construction because the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index had doubled from September 2011 to February 2012 in builder confidence in the construction of new single-family homes nationwide. Last February, the NAHB Housing Market Index jumped to 29 from 25, measuring the expectations of buyers over the next six months. It was the strongest index that had been seen since 2008.
Lots of real estate professionals - developers, builders, contractors, lenders, suppliers, you get the idea - were happy about this and keeping their fingers crossed.
This month, things are looking even better.
NAHB Index in June 2012: Solid Builder Confidence Reflects Improving Housing Markets.
On June 18, 2012, the National Association of Home Builders released their latest HMI, quoting from their report:
“This month’s modest uptick in builder confidence comes on the heels of a four-point gain in May and is reflective of the continued, gradual improvement we are seeing in many individual housing markets as more buyers decide to take advantage of today’s low prices and interest rates,” said Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.
“While the June HMI is in keeping with our forecast for gradually improving single-family home sales this year, recent economic reports that have shown some weakening in the pace of recovery likely factored into the marginal gain,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “In addition, builders across the country continue to report that overly tight lending conditions and inaccurate appraisals are major obstacles to completing sales at this time.”
How Is This Playing Out in Florida?
News media took this latest report and went to local industry folk to get their take on things, with interesting results.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal checked with the division marketing manager of Taylor Morrison, who confirmed that Florida appears to be in the early stages of recovery.
Business Week checked with Gainesville builder Barry Rutenberg, who confirmed that the NAHB report is showing the reality of a gradual improvement in the housing market -- but expect this from Rutenberg, since he's also chairman of the NAHB.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune checked with a local company, Anchor Builders, whose head honcho confirmed that things are better now than they were last year.
Here in Florida, we've been hit harder than almost any other part of the country in this housing crisis and it's not going to be a fast recovery no matter how much we would all like to see that happen. Things are getting better, and that's good.
It's good to see this confirmation, both from people who are out there working in the market as well as those crunching the numbers. We may not be moving and shaking like we were a few years ago, but it's looking like the worst part of this bad time is over for housing. Fingers crossed!