Spending on U.S. construction during September was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.294 trillion, increasing 0.5% from the revised August estimate of $1.287 trillion, the U.S. Census Bureau said. September’s spending was 2% below a year earlier.

Spending on private construction was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $961.7 billion, 0.2% above the revised August estimate of $959.9 billion, and 4.6% below a year ago.

Of that, residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $511.4 billion in September, which is 0.6% above the revised August estimate of $508.4 billion but 3.6% down from a year ago.

A measure of homebuilder confidence in September revealed that the nation’s low-interest rates continue to fuel homebuyer demand, which has spurred an uptick in overall homebuilder confidence.

According to the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, the Housing Market Index, which measures current sales conditions, rose from 73 to 75 points, while buyer traffic came in at 50 points.

Low-interest rates and solid demand continue to fuel builders’ sentiments even as they continue to grapple with ongoing supply-side challenges that hinder housing affordability, including a shortage of lots and labor,” NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said.

The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores show the Northeast grew from 57 to 59 points, the South moved one point from 69 to 70, the West increased two points to 75 and the Midwest held steady at 57 points.

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