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. The Q3 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 modest declines in metropolitan areas, especially in the large metro core and suburban markets, while the multifamily construction slowed its pace in all submarkets. Rising interest rates, elevated construction costs and supply-chain bottlenecks all continue discouraging the single-family market in the third quarter of 2022.

Key findings from the Q3 2022 HBGI

Between the third quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2022:

  • Large metro outlying counties (exurban areas) registered the largest 12-month decline in single-family production, falling from a 31.9% growth rate to a minus 4.4% rate.
  • Smaller metro outlying counties also saw a significant deceleration, registering a 30.6% drop in growth rate.
  • Urban core areas in both large and small metro counties also posted negative growth rates.
  • Rural counties (including micro counties and non-metro/micro counties) were the only areas to post a positive year-over-year growth rate.

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The Home Building Geography Index is the successor to the Leading Market Index (LMI), whose tracking is no longer maintained.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