Home Building Geography Index (HBGI)

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The Home Building Geography Index (HBGI) is a quarterly measurement of building conditions across the country and uses county-level information about single- and multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various submarkets.

For the HBGI, NAHB classifies each county in the U.S. into one of seven regional categories based on population density and regional location. Within each category, NAHB tracks single-family and multifamily growth rates (not seasonally adjusted) and market shares. These categories include:

Key Findings for Q1 2020:

  • Single-family construction expanded across all seven economic geographies, posting the strongest growth (9.1 percent) in outlying suburbs (exurbs) of small metro areas, as measured on a one-year moving average.
  • Over the past year, apartment construction growth in less dense markets has outpaced expansion in larger metropolitan areas.
  • All economic geographies reported net growth over the past year for single-family and multifamily construction, a reminder of the momentum home building possessed before the current recession.

Download the data file of the full HBGI findings here.

Featured Category: Education and Health Services Counties’ Building Conditions

Beginning with the first quarter of 2020, NAHB classified all the counties in the United States based on their percentile ranking in terms of the proportion of their labor force employed in the Educational Services sector or Health Care and Social Services sector, which collectively make up the Education and Health Services (EHS) supersector as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. NAHB, therefore, defines an EHS county as one which falls in the top quartile of employment in this supersector.

EHS Counties

Total population 73,784,005; 23.2% of total U.S. population

  • 12.4% of single-family construction for 1Q20
  • 5.5% single-family quarterly growth rate for the 1Q20
  • 19.5% single-family year-over-year growth rate (1Q20 vs 1Q19)
  • 4.8% single-family 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate
Home Building Geography Index (HBGI)
  • 18.4% of multifamily construction for 1Q20
  • -38.9% multifamily quarterly growth rate for the 1Q20
  • -9.7% multifamily year-over year growth rate (1Q20 vs 1Q19)
  • 17.4% multifamily 4-quarter MA of the year-over-year growth rate

The Home Building Geography Index is the successor to the Leading Market Index (LMI), whose tracking is no longer maintained. The LMI used single-family housing permits, employment, and home prices to measure proximity to a normal economic and housing market. It was calculated for 337 local markets, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), as well as the entire country. View an archive of LMI data with its original methodology.