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Builder Confidence Drops as Hurricanes Add Uncertainty

September 2017

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes fell three points to a level of 64 in September from a downwardly revised August reading of 67 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

“The recent hurricanes have intensified our members’ concerns about the availability of labor and the cost of building materials,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “Once the rebuilding process is underway, I expect builder confidence will return to the high levels we saw this spring.”

“Despite this month’s drop, builder confidence is still on very firm ground,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With ongoing job creation, economic growth and rising consumer confidence, we should see the housing market continue to recover at a gradual, steady pace throughout the rest of the year.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as good, fair or poor.

The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as high to very high, average or low to very low. Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted losses in September but remain at healthy levels. The component gauging current sales conditions fell four points to 70 and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped four points to 74. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic slipped a single point to 47.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West increased three points to 77 and the Northeast rose one point to 49. The South dropped a single point to 66 and the Midwest fell three points to 63.

HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi. More information on housing statistics is also available at housingeconomics.com.

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