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NAHB: Builder Confidence Declined to 80 in July

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by Calculated Risk on 7/19/2021 10:06:00 AM

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported the housing market index (HMI) was at 80, down from 81 in June. Any number above 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

From the NAHB: Builder Confidence Edges Lower as Material Challenges Persist

Atrong buyer demand helped to offset supply-side challenges relating to building materials, regulation and labor as builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes inched down one point to 80 in July, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today.

“Builders continue to grapple with elevated building material prices and supply shortages, particularly the price of oriented strand board, which has skyrocketed more than 500 percent above its January 2020 level,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “We are grateful that the White House heeded our urgent plea to hold a building materials meeting with interested stakeholders on July 16 to seek solutions to end production bottlenecks that have harmed housing affordability.”

“Builders are contending with shortages of building materials, buildable lots and skilled labor as well as a challenging regulatory environment. This is putting upward pressure on home prices and sidelining many prospective home buyers even as demand remains strong in a low-inventory environment,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

The three major HMI indices were mixed in June. The HMI index gauging current sales conditions fell one point to 86, the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers dropped six points to 65 and the gauge charting sales expectations in the next six months posted a two-point gain to 81.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell four points to 75, the Midwest moved one-point lower to 71 and the West posted a two-point decline to 87. The South held steady at 85.

Click on graph for larger image.

This graph show the NAHB index since Jan 1985.

This was below the consensus forecast, but still a very strong reading – and lumber prices have continued to decline.

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