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-family and multifamily permits to gauge housing construction growth in various submarkets. The fourth quarter of 2022 rollout of the HBGI focuses on the population density-based delineation of home building that has been the mainstay of the HBGI.

The latest findings show that single-family home building experienced declines in all submarkets, except for Micro Counties. In the multifamily market, Large Metro core counties growth rate fell drastically over the quarter to 1.5% while Large Metro outlying counties remained above 30.0% for the sixth consecutive quarter at 35.7%, the highest of any submarket. Aggressive federal reserve monetary policy and higher mortgage rates continue to drag down the single-family market in fourth quarter of 2022.

Key findings

  • The largest growth of single-family construction came in rural markets (micro counties and non-metro micro counties), rising from a market share of 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 11.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
  • The market share of single-family construction in urban core markets of small and large metro areas declined to 44.5% in the fourth quarter of 2022, representing a persistent shift in buyer preferences to live outside of densely populated areas.
  • Multifamily construction remains elevated above historical levels, with six of the seven submarkets experiencing growth rates above 15% during the final quarter of 2022.

Download the data file of the full HBGI findings here.

Regional Building Growth Conditions

NAHB classified all counties in the U.S. as one of seven regional categories based on population density and regional location. For each area, NAHB tracked single-family and multifamily growth rates (not seasonally adjusted) and market shares.

The Home Building Geography Index is the successor to the Leading Market Index (LMI), whose tracking is no longer maintained.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.

Update to County Populations

Beginning with the second quarter of 2022, NAHB updated the HBGI to use the most recent county population estimates from the 2020 5-year American Community Survey (ACS). This necessitated a reclassification of county-level regional assignments, based on population density-based delineations. The number of counties in the HBGI is 3,133, with the newest updates for counties in Virginia and Hawaii.