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September Builder Confidence Hits High for Year

The index gauging builders’ attitudes hit 68 this month. Readings above 50 are considered positive territory, and they’ve been in the mid- to upper 60s since May.

WASHINGTON – Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes rose one point to 68 in September from an upwardly revised August reading of 67, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any reading above 50 is considered positive territory, and sentiment levels have held in the mid- to upper 60s since May.

“Low interest rates and solid demand continue to fuel builders’ sentiments even as they continue to grapple with ongoing supply-side challenges that hinder housing affordability, including a shortage of lots and labor,” says National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Greg Ugalde.

“Solid household formations and attractive mortgage rates are contributing to a positive builder outlook,” adds NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, builders are expressing growing concerns regarding uncertainty stemming from the trade dispute with China. NAHB’s Home Building Geography Index indicates that the slowdown in the manufacturing sector is holding back home construction in some parts of the nation, although there is growth in rural and exurban areas.”

The HMI index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 75 and the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers held steady at 50. The measure charting sales expectations in the next six months fell one point to 70.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a two-point gain to 59, the West was up two points to 75, and the South moved one point higher to 70. The Midwest was unchanged at 57.

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