2/20: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

February builder confidence slips one point to 74 but still near highest levels since December 2017

Although builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes edged one point lower to 74 in February, the last three monthly readings mark the highest sentiment levels since December 2017. The HMI index for current sales conditions fell one point to 80, the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell one point to 79, and the metric charting traffic of prospective buyers also decreased one point to 57.


January housing starts decline 3.6 percent from December but up 21.4 percent year-on-year

Privately‐owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,567,000. This is 3.6 percent below the revised December estimate of 1,626,000, but is 21.4 percent above the January 2019 rate of 1,291,000.


January building permits up 9.2 percent from December and 17.9 percent year-on-year

Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,551,000, or the highest annual rate since March 2007. This is 9.2 percent above the revised December rate of 1,420,000 and is 17.9 percent above the January 2019 rate of 1,316,000.