The National Association of Home Builders just released the first quarter results of its 55+ Housing Market Index. This index reflects surveys of builders for prospective homebuyer traffic, expected sales in the next six months and current sales in the 55+ age market. It also tracks single-family homes and multiunit condominiums separately.
Builder confidence in single-family home sales to boomers hit its highest level (46) since the index started in 2008. Confidence levels, which range from zero to one hundred, increased nineteen points in the year-over-year measure, the sixth straight annual increase.
All of the measured factors (consumer traffic, current sales and prospective sales) increased by double digits in the single-family 55+ sector. Builders are even more optimistic about condominiums for these buyers. The overall increase for condominium confidence rose 23 points with the exact same year-over-year increase for each measured factor. This 23-point increase set another record high for the index.
Despite these extraordinary gains, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe cautioned,
While demand for new 55+ housing has improved due to a reduced inventory of homes on the market and low interest rates, builders’ ability to respond to the demand is being limited by a shortage of labor with basic construction skills and rising prices for some building materials.
The housing labor force has dropped by more than one million people since the peak of the housing boom. A recent article by Southern California Public Radio attributed that decline to workers who left the industry for other jobs when the bottom fell out of the market. Also, KPCC suggests that Mexican migrant workers may have not only left the industry but the States due to lack of work. Now, the work is back, but the labor is missing.