Real Estate

Homebuilder confidence remains steady in July

Rising cost of materials haunt homebuilders

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained unchanged at 68 points in July, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.

"Consumer demand for single-family homes is holding strong this summer, buoyed by steady job growth, income gains and low unemployment in many parts of the country,” NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said.

Homebuilders are encouraged by the growing housing demand, but construction material costs still hinders optimism, according to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

Last year President Donald Trump imposed anti-subsidy tariffs, averaging 20%, on Canadian softwood lumber imports, contributing to sharply elevated lumber prices in June.

According to the NAHB, the tariffs have caused home prices in the U.S. to jump by an average of $9,000 per home.

 “Builders need to manage these cost increases as they strive to provide competitively priced homes, especially as more first-time home buyers enter the housing market,” Dietz said.

In July, the HMI index measuring current sales conditions remain unchanged at 74 points, while buyer traffic rose two pints to 52 and expectations over the next six months dropped to 73, according to the NAHB.

The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, show the Northeast rose to 57 points, the South fell to 70, the West fell to 75 and the Midwest remained unchanged at 65, respectively.

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