Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Housing Market Index


The Housing Market Index (HMI) is a measurement used to gauge the outlook of home builders on the residential housing market. It is produced monthly by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) alongside Wells Fargo. It assesses builders’ perceptions of current single-family home sales and expectations for the next six months and also considers the traffic of prospective buyers.


The phonetic spelling for “Housing Market Index” is: “how-zing mar-ket in-deks”

Key Takeaways

  1. Indicator of Economic Health: The Housing Market Index (HMI) is considered a key indicator of the economic health of a country. A rising index suggests an increase in housing market activity reflecting a strong economy, while a declining index may indicate a slow-down in the housing sector, which can be indicative of weakening economy.
  2. Sentiment Gauge: HMI is also a sentiment tool, providing insight into the perceptions and attitudes of builders towards the housing market. Builders are asked to rate current sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good” , “fair” , or “poor”. They are also asked to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high” , “average” , or “low to very low”. Answers to these questions are thus used to calculate the index.
  3. Fluctuation and Influencing Factors: The Housing Market Index can fluctuate because of many external factors. These can include interest rates, government policy, and economic conditions. For instance, lower interest rates can lead to increased purchasing, driving up the HMI, while economic downturns or restrictive government policy can dampen builders’ sentiment and lower the index.


The Housing Market Index (HMI) is an important business/finance term because it serves as a vital economic indicator used to gauge the health of the housing market. The index, which is released monthly, measures home builder sentiment about present and future sales of new, single-family homes. By examining factors such as current sales, sales predictions for the next six months, and traffic of prospective buyers, the HMI provides investors, real estate professionals, and policymakers with critical insights into the housing market’s strength or weakness. Higher HMI values indicate a positive outlook for the housing market from builders, which can signal broader economic growth, while lower values suggest less confidence and potential downturns. Thus, the HMI plays an essential role in predicting economic trends and informing decision-making in related sectors.


The Housing Market Index (HMI) serves as a significant tool in the realm of real estate economics, providing key insights into the performance and projected direction of the residential housing market. Developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the HMI gives an indication of homebuilder sentiment and is thus used by analysts, economists, investors, and policymakers to gauge housing market conditions and forecast future trends. The monthly HMI report not only indicates the present state of the housing market but also provides am insight into how builders perceive the market’s future, which can, in turn, indicate future home construction activities.The purpose of the HMI is multi-faceted. It is not only used to assess the demand for housing, but it also examines the economic health of the nation as it is closely tied to broader macroeconomic factors. For investors and real estate professionals, the HMI can be an invaluable tool for anticipating shifts in the market, informing strategic decisions around buying, selling, or developing residential properties. The index can equally serve policymakers and economic planners by influencing decisions relating to interest rates, housing policy, and urban development based on the current and predicted health of the housing sector.


1. U.S. Housing Market Bubble (2006): The Housing Market Index is seen in the U.S. housing market bubble of the mid-2000s. During this time, the HMI was extremely high as builders were very confident due to the increasing demand for houses and continuously rising prices. This resulted in massive construction of new homes. However, this confidence eventually led to overproduction and a crash in housing prices.2. Housing Recovery After the 2008 Financial Crisis: After the financial crisis in 2008, the US Housing Market Index was very low, reflecting the pessimism in the housing industry due to decreased demand and price fall. Over several years, as the economy recovered, the HMI started rising again. This can be seen as an example of where the HMI was used as a measure to track the recovery of the housing market after a major economic downturn.3. The COVID-19 Impact on U.K. Housing Market: The Housing Market Index decreased substantially in spring 2020 due to the uncertainty and economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption caused by the pandemic made many potential buyers hesitant, leading to a drop in builder confidence. However, thanks to government stimulus and a temporary cut to stamp duty, the UK Housing Market Index started to gradually rise again towards the end of the year.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Housing Market Index?

The Housing Market Index (HMI) is an economic indicator that measures builders’ sentiment about the current and future housing market. It is released monthly by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

What factors influence the Housing Market Index?

The HMI is influenced by multiple factors including economic trends, interest rates, employment rates, government policies, and overall consumer confidence in the economy.

How is the Housing Market Index calculated?

The index is calculated based on a survey given to builders, which asks them to rate their sales of single-family homes as good, fair or poor. It also asks builders to rate prospective buyer traffic and sales expectations for the next six months.

Why is the Housing Market Index important?

The HMI is considered a key indicator of housing-market health. Higher values imply better sales conditions, which can be a positive signal for the overall economy. A declining HMI may indicate a slowing economy.

How can I use the Housing Market Index in finance and business planning?

The HMI can be used in various financial and business plans. For example, it can help in forecasting housing demand, planning investments in real estate, and understanding broader economic trends.

Where can I find the latest Housing Market Index data?

The most recent data about the HMI can be found on the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) website. They release it every month.

Can the Housing Market Index predict future housing market conditions?

While the HMI can give a snapshot of builders’ sentiment and the housing’s market current condition, it is not designed to predict future housing market conditions. However, its findings can be used in economic forecasting models.

What is a good Housing Market Index score?

An HMI score above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor. The maximum score is 100, indicating extremely favorable market conditions.

Related Finance Terms

  • Real Estate Market: This is a part of the broader housing market index that measures the numbers of property transactions and their prices in a particular area.
  • Interest Rates: A central term in finance, these rates can greatly impact the housing market, affecting mortgage rates and the affordability of homes.
  • Supply and Demand: These are basic economic principles that directly impact the housing market index. High demand for housing and limited supply can drive prices up, and vice versa.
  • Mortgage Rates: The interest rate on a loan used to buy property. Fluctuating mortgage rates can affect housing affordability and move the housing market index.
  • Home Construction: This refers to the number of new houses being built, which directly affects the housing market index by adding or reducing available supply.

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More