U.S. homebuilder confidence sinks to lowest in eight months

U.S. homebuilder confidence sinks to lowest in eight months

The NAHB, Wells Fargo housing market index fell 2 points to 64 in July from a downwardly revised reading of 66 for June, which marked the lowest reading since November 2016.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. Still, the outlook for the next six months and the traffic of prospective new home buyers remains positive.

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Builders are faced with a tough choice when dealing with higher materials costs such as lumber-either raise prices on homes or absorb the added expense.

In addition to a thin supply of available land parcels cleared for home construction, builders continue to grapple with a shortage of skilled construction workers and rising materials prices, particularly lumber. The component measuring current sales conditions fell two points to 70; the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months decreased two points to 73, and the component measuring buyer traffic moved down one point to 48. In the Northeast, the index increased one point to 47 while the index fell by one point in both the West and Midwest to July scores of 75 and 66, respectively.

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All three HMI components posted losses in July but remained at historically solid levels. Economists had expected the index to hold at the 67 originally reported for the previous month.

Editor's Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public.

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