The U.S. Census Bureau announced that construction spending during March 2019 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.28 trillion, retreating 0.9% from the revised February estimate of $1.29 trillion.

Notably, the organization indicated March’s spending is 0.8% below the March 2018 estimate of $1.293.3 billion.

Additionally, spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $961.5 billion, 0.7% below the revised February estimate of $968.6 billion.

Of that, residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $500.9 billion in March, which is 1.8% below the revised February estimate of $510.1 billion.

March’s Housing Market Index revealed that although homebuilders reported the market was strengthening, affordability remained a significant deterrence to its growth.

In fact, while the index measuring current sales conditions rose from 66 to 68 points, buyer traffic declined from 48 to 44 points.

“Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018 and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season,” NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said.

However, the report indicated that a skilled worker shortage, lack of buildable lots and stiff zoning restrictions were among the biggest challenges builders faced as they strived to construct affordable homes.

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