U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Steady as Low Rates Buck High Costs

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Confidence among U.S. homebuilders stabilized in May despite rising costs and shrinking availability of most construction materials.

A gauge of builder sentiment held at 83, National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data showed Monday. The reading matched the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Since the start of the year, the measure has held within a two-point range.

Historically low mortgage rates are helping offset soaring property prices and lumber and materials costs that have skyrocketed as housing demand and renovations strengthened during the pandemic. In a sign that the market remains strong, a gauge of sales expectations in the next six months rose slightly, according to the report.

“Builder confidence in the market remains strong due to a lack of resale inventory, low mortgage interest rates, and a growing demographic of prospective home buyers,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the NAHB and a builder in Tampa, Florida, said in a statement.

A measure of current sales conditions was unchanged, while the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers fell slightly. Overall, confidence rose in the South and held steady in the West. Sentiment weakened in the Northeast and Midwest from the prior month.

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