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4-Month Low for Home Builder Confidence

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Slowing buyer traffic drove U.S. home builder confidence to the lowest level in four months, though the degree of confidence still remains solid. The Midwest deteriorated most.

As of March, the seasonally adjusted Housing Market Index, a gauge of builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations, was 70.

That put the index at its lowest level since November 2017, when it came in at a downwardly revised 69. Still, an index of more than 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The National Association of Home Builders reported the index, which is jointly produced with Wells Fargo, on Thursday.

While there continues to be growing demand for single-family homes, “builders are reporting challenges in finding buildable lots, which could limit their ability to meet this demand,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said in the report.

In February 2018, the index was a downwardly revised 71, while it landed at 71 in March 2017.

One of three components of the index,
a gauge of buyer traffic, tumbled three points to 51. The component gauging current sales conditions was unchanged at 77, and the component gauging sales expectations over the next six months fell two points to 78.

At 68, the three-month moving average for the HMI in the Midwest declined from the prior month by four points — the most of any region. The West fell two points to 79, and the South dipped a point to 73.

But builders grew more optimistic in the Northeast, where the index inched up a point to 57.

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