Builder Confidence Rises

Build confidences rises

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose four points in to reach a level of 49 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. It remains one point shy of the threshold for what is considered good building conditions.

After several months of little fluctuation, a four-point uptick in builder sentiment is a welcome sign and shows some renewed confidence in the industry," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. "However, builders are facing strong headwinds, including the limited availability of labor."

"Consumers are still hesitant, and are waiting for clear signals of full-fledged economic recovery before making a home purchase," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "Builders are reacting accordingly, and are moving cautiously in adding inventory."

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair" or "poor." The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average" or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three index components posted gains in June. Most notably, the component gauging current sales conditions increased six points to 54. The component gauging sales expectations in the next six months rose three points to 59 and the component measuring buyer traffic increased by three to 36.

Housing Starts Surge 13.2% in April

Housing starts surge

Driven by pent-up demand, the nation's housing starts broke the million mark for the first time in 2014. According to Commerce Department data released this morning, U.S. housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,072,000, up 13.2% from March's revised estimate of 947,000 and 26.4% above April 2013's rate.

Building permits also performed at an impressive clip, hitting their highest level in nearly six years. Permits jumped 8.0% to a 1.08 million unit rate, a level not seen since June 2008.

New Home Starts Reach 4-Year High

The pace of home building surged to a four-year high, according to a government report issued Wednesday. Builders started work at an annual pace of 872,000 homes last month, up 15% from the pace in August. They also filed for permits to build homes at an annual rate of 894,000, up 11.6% from the previous month. Both indicators are the best since the summer of 2008, before the collapse in financial markets that caused home lending and building to freeze up.

With mortgage rates near record lows and the Federal Reserve's decision to buy $40 billion in mortgages every month, rates are likely to stay low for the foreseeable future. The low mortgage rates, coupled with affordable housing prices and a drop in unemployment have helped to restart home sales.

Housing Momentum Continues

Housing Momentum Continues

Signed contracts for home purchases increased 4.1% in March, the highest increase in nearly two years, according to the National Association of Realtors. This index supports recent reports that 2012 Q1 home closings were the best in five years. Low interest rates, warm weather and improving confidence are contributing factors.

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Single-Family Housing Starts Rise 4.4 Percent in December

Nationwide production of new single-family homes rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 470,000 units in December, according to newly released figures from the U.S. Commerce Department. This marked a third consecutive increase in single-family housing starts, a market where production hit a 50-year low in 2011.

"Today's report adds to the growing evidence that demand for new, single-family homes is finally starting to firm up in an increasing number of markets nationwide," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "This emerging trend is allowing builders to put more crews back to work, and could be even stronger if not for the overly tight credit conditions that prevail for both builders and buyers."

At Timber Trading, this report resonates with what we are seeing and hearing in the marketplace. Our expectations are for slow but steady improvement in new, single-family home starts. It looks like the market is finally turning!

Home Building Continues to Pick Up

The home construction market is showing signs of picking up while it continues to absorb a glut of vacant and foreclosed homes.

U.S. home construction rose in June, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Builders began work on 629,000 homes, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up from 549,000 in May.

Turning The Corner

Local home remodelers say business is finally starting to improve after the worst industry downturn in 50 years, according to Worcester Business Journal (June 6, 2011). The local recovery tracks national trends, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies and several remodeling indices that say 2011 will be a recovery year nationwide for the industry.

The Harvard report predicts steady remodeling growth of 3.5% annually for the next several years. That's compared to a 12% drop from 2007-2009. The National Association of Home Builders' index also shows signs of recovery. In the first quarter of 2011, the association's remodeling index reached the highest point it has been at since 2007. Fueling the remodeling recovery is a glut of foreclosed homes needing repairs, winter ice storm damage and general economic improvements.

Home construction show signs of improvement

On April 19, the Commerce Department announced that in March home construction rose 7.2 percent from its dismal showing a month earlier. And building permits rose 11.2 percent after reaching a five-decade low in February.

Many industry watchers consider the ratio of permits to housing starts a positive sign. Steven A. Wood, chief economist for Insight Economics, believes that the rise in permits could signal a turnaround in the coming months. This is good news for everyone with a stake in the home building industry.

Timber Trading's New Website

Welcome to our new website. We hope you'll check out our products, our commitment to quality and service, and our operations center in which we put the finest lumber through a value-added process. Don't see what you're looking for? Just give us a call at 1.800.331.7319 or send us your questions at

Timber Trading Offers Tours of Operations Center

During the coming months, Rodger Ekstrom, Sales Manager of Timber Trading Group, is offering tours of the company's operations and distribution center in Stoughton, Mass. "It's one thing for us to talk about the way we inspect, grade, label, and package our lumber before sending it to its destination. It's a whole other thing to see that process in action," Ekstrom says. To set up an appointment for a tour, he invites retailers to contact him at 1.800.331.7319.