US homebuilder confidence holds steady in November

ConDig (19-Nov-19).  US homebuilders remain largely positive about the near-term outlook for newly-built single-family homes amid low mortgage rates and continued job growth.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) edged down one point to 70 in November. Despite the slight drop, the past two months mark the highest sentiment levels this year.

“Single-family builders are currently reporting ongoing positive conditions, spurred in part by low mortgage rates and continued job growth,” said NAHB chairman Greg Ugalde.

NAHB officials also noted that for the fourth consecutive month at least half of all builders surveyed have reported positive buyer traffic conditions.

The HMI index tracking current sales conditions fell two points to 76 and the measure charting traffic of prospective buyers dropped one point to 53. The component measuring sales expectations in the next six months edged up one point to 77.

The three-month moving average for the Northeast posted a two-point gain to 62, the West was up three points to 81 and the South moved one point higher to 74. The Midwest remained unchanged at 58.

Construction industry leaders continue to warn that rising materials costs, lot shortages and a deepening shortage of labor that could delay some projects and make others financially unviable.

“…lot shortages remain a serious problem, particularly among custom builders. Builders also continue to grapple with other affordability headwinds, including a lack of labor and regulatory constraints,” said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz.

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