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NAHB Estimates Sept. Housing Starts Will Approach 900,000 Units

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Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes fell two points in October from a downwardly revised reading in the previous month to a level of 55 on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index (HMI) released recently.

“Builder optimism remains above 50 and we are still seeing signs of pent-up demand in many markets across the country,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C. “This slight dip in builder sentiment is the result of continuing challenges in the marketplace with regard to the cost and availability of labor and lots and uncertainty in Washington.”

“A spike in mortgage interest rates along with the paralysis in Washington that led to the government shutdown and uncertainty regarding the nation’s debt limit have caused builders and consumers to take pause,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “However, interest rates remain near historic lows and we don’t expect the level of rates to have a major impact on sales and starts going forward. Once this government impasse is resolved, we expect builder and consumer optimism will bounce back.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 25 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores from each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

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