Home builders were again less optimistic about market conditions, and builders in the West saw the biggest decline. One region of the country, though, saw improvement.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was at 53 this month, the NAHB reported Monday.
An index level that is greater than 50 is an indication that more home builders view current conditions as good than those who see them as poor.
Still, the index was down from 55 in February and has moved lower each month since November, when it stood at 58.
But NAHB Chairman Tom Woods maintained an optimistic outlook.
“Even with this slight slip, the HMI remains in positive territory and we expect the market to improve as we enter the spring buying season,” Woods stated in the report.
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explained in the report that supply chain issues such as shortages in lots and labor were behind the drop. Also impacting confidence were tight underwriting standards.
Like Woods, Crowe remained optimistic about this year’s activity.
“These obstacles notwithstanding, we are expecting solid gains in the housing market this year, buoyed by sustained job growth, low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand,” Crow said.
Among three components of the index, two — one that gauges current sales conditions and
another that measures buyer traffic — were both down.
The third component, sales expectations for the next six months, was higher.
The index tumbled seven points in the West — more than any other region. Still, the West’s index remained higher than its three counterparts.
In the Midwest, the index was up two points.