Confidence among U.S. builders is down for the second consecutive month, as a shortage of construction sites plagues the industry, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing figures from the National Association of Home Builders.
NAHB saw its housing market index fall two points to 44 in March from February — its lowest level since October 2012. A number above 50 on the index indicates that a majority of the 341 builders surveyed view market conditions as good rather than poor. The index hasn’t seen a positive number since the height of the housing bubble in April 2006.
The decline came despite what many see as a resurgence in the U.S. housing market with stronger interest from potential buyers; economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted that the index would rise two points to 48.
“Although many of our members are reporting increased demand for newhomes in their markets, their enthusiasm is being tempered by frustrating bottlenecks in the supply chain for developed lots along with rising costs for building materials and labor,” Rick Judson, the group’s chairman and a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., said.
Regionally, the only area of the U.S. to see positive growth in builder confidence was in the Midwest, where the index rose five points. [WSJ] —Christopher Cameron