MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
December builder confidence slips another 2 points to 31
Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes posted its 12th straight monthly decline in December, dropping two points to 31. This is the lowest confidence reading since mid-2012, with the exception of the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 36 and traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 20. The component charting sales expectations in the next six months increased four points to 35.
December economic output index falls to 44.6, well below neutral 50 level
The headline Flash US PMI Composite Output Index registered 44.6 in December, down from 46.4 in November.
This drop signaled the joint-fastest (i.e., sharpest pivot) decline in business activity for over two-and-a-half years as 2022 was brought to a close. Excluding the initial pandemic period, however, the downturn was the joint-sharpest since 2009.
Homebuyers are flocking to the Sun Belt, attracted to relatively affordable home prices
Nationwide, 24.1% of homebuyers looked to move to a different metro during the three months ending in November, on par with the record high set in the summer and up from around 18% before the pandemic. Half of the 10 most popular destinations are in Florida. Nearly all of them are in the Sun Belt, with warm and sunny weather. The typical home in eight of the top 10 destinations is more affordable than in the most common origin for homebuyers moving in, and seven of the top 10 are places with no state income tax.