Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November Builder Confidence Slips a Little Bit

Confidence among home builders eased in November from a decade high, indicating some cooling in the housing market.

The National Association of Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment gauge unexpectedly fell to 62 this month from a revised 65 in October, the highest level since October 2005, the Washington-based group reported Tuesday. Readings above 50 mean more respondents said conditions were good.

The housing market may be plateauing at a robust pace as high rental costs and mortgage rates at historic lows push more Americans to purchase a home. Powered by an improving job market, consumers are keeping the U.S. economy on track as they continue to spend on big-ticket items such as cars and homes, indicating little risk of recent global uncertainty translating into the housing sector.

Sustained readings greater than 60 are "a sign that the single-family housing market is making long-term headway," said National Association of Builders Chairman Tom Woods, a homebuilder from Blue Springs, Mo. "However, our members continue to voice concerns about the availability of lots and labor."

The home builder index's reading for October was revised up from a previously reported 64. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 46 economists called for the gauge to maintain that level in November. Estimates in the survey ranged from 60 to 66.

Confidence fell in two of the four U.S. regions, with builders in the South showing the biggest setback. Confidence was little changed in the Northeast and rose in the West.

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