Builder confidence rose in the 55+ housing market in the first-quarter of 2013, with the National Association of Home Builder’s 55+ single-family Housing Market Index jumping 19 points year-over-year to an index score of 46.

This is the highest first-quarter number recorded since the index began in 2008 and the sixth quarter in a row of year-over-year improvements. 

"Builders and developers for the 55+ housing sector continue to report increased optimism in the market," said Robert Karen, chairman of NAHB's 50+ Housing Council. 

He added, "We are seeing an increase in consumer demand for homes and communities that are designed to address the specific needs of the mature homebuyer." 

Each 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that questions builders on current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales. 

An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good. 

All of the components of the 55+ single-family HMI revealed significant growth year-over-year. Present sales jumped 19 points to 46, expected sales for the next six months rose 21 points to 53 and traffic of prospective buyers increased 15 points to 41. 

"The strong year over year increase in confidence reported by builders for the 55+ market is consistent with year over year increases in other segments of the home building industry," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.  

Crowe added, "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."