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Homebuilder confidence falters on rising lumber prices

June confidence slips two points to 68

Sharply elevated lumber prices contributed to homebuilder confidence slipping two points to 68 in June, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

“Builders are optimistic about housing market conditions as consumer demand continues to grow,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said. “However, builders are increasingly concerned that tariffs placed on Canadian lumber and other imported products are hurting housing affordability.”

Lumber hit a record-high price, adding nearly $9,000 to the price of a new single-family home since January 2017, according to Noel.

“Improved economic growth, continued job creation and solid housing demand should spur additional single-family construction in the months ahead,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “However, builders do need access to lumber and other construction materials at reasonable costs in order to provide homes at competitive price points, particularly for the entry-level market where inventory is most needed.”

In June, all three HMI indexes inched down. Sales conditions fell to 75 points, while buyer traffic and expectations over the next six months dropped to 76 and 50, according to the NAHB.

The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, show the Northeast rose to 57 points, the South fell to 71 and the West and Midwest remained unchanged at 76 and 65, respectively.

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