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NAHB: Builder Confidence Decreased to 82 in March

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 82, down from 84 in February. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Higher Material Costs, Interest Rates Lower Builder Sentiment
Despite high buyer traffic and strong demand, builder sentiment fell in March as rising lumber and other material prices pushed builder confidence lower. The latest National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) shows that builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes fell two points to 82 in March.

Though builders continue to see strong buyer traffic, recent increases for material costs and delivery times, particularly for softwood lumber, have depressed builder sentiment this month. Supply shortages and high demand have caused lumber prices to jump about 200 percent since last April.

Builder confidence peaked at a level of 90 last November and has trended lower as supply-side and demand-side factors have trimmed housing affordability. While single-family home building should grow this year, the elevated price of lumber is adding approximately $24,000 to the price of a new home. And mortgage interest rates, while historically low, have increased about 30 basis points over the last month. Nonetheless, the lack of resale inventory means new construction is the only option for some prospective home buyers.
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The HMI index gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 87 while the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased three points to 83. The gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers held firm at 72.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose two points to 80, the Midwest fell one point to 80, the South dropped two points to 82 and the West posted a three-point loss to 90.
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was slightly below the consensus forecast, but still a very strong reading.

Housing and homebuilding have been one of the best performing sectors during the pandemic.

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