U.S. Homebuilder Sentiment Increases to a Six-Month High
(Bloomberg) -- Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose to a six-month high in November on stronger sales and foot traffic even as labor and supply-side challenges delay completion times and drive up costs.
A gauge of builder sentiment rose to 83 from an October reading of 80, National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data showed Tuesday. It marked the third-straight increase. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for no change from the month before.
A measure of current single-family home sales rose to the highest since February, while a gauge of prospective buyer traffic increased to a five-month high. The component assessing sales expectations for the next six months held steady at 84, the highest since December.
Robust demand, fueled in part by low mortgage rates and a desire for more space among people working remotely, has given builders a boost despite sky-high prices.
Still, supply-chain delays have pushed up costs and wait times of inputs from windows to appliances to paint. Furthermore, builders are contending with persistent labor shortages and a scarcity of buildable lots, which are impeding the pace of production.
“In addition to well publicized concerns over building materials and the national supply chain, labor and building lot access are key constraints for housing supply,” Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist, said in a statement. “Lot availability is at multi-decade lows and the construction industry currently has more than 330,000 open positions.”
Builder confidence climbed in three regions, with only the Northeast seeing a decline.
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