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August Builder Confidence: Tight Supplies, Lots of Buyers

Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to 67 reading in August though any number above 50 means that attitudes are in positive territory.

By Toby Tobin

WASHINGTON, August 16, 2018 – Builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes edged down one point to 67 reading in August on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), though any number above 50 means that attitudes are in positive territory.

"The good news is that builders continue to report strong demand for new housing, fueled by steady job and income growth along with rising household formations," says NAHB Chairman Randy Noel. "However, they are increasingly focused on growing affordability concerns, stemming from rising construction costs, shortages of skilled labor and a dearth of buildable lots."

"The solid economic expansion and firm job market should spur demand for new single-family homes in the months ahead," adds NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Meanwhile, builders continue to monitor how tariffs and the growing threat of a trade war are affecting key building material prices, including lumber.

"These cost increases, coupled with rising interest rates, are putting upward pressure on home prices and contributing to growing affordability challenges, as indicated by the latest quarterly reading of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index."

The HMI index measuring current sales conditions inched one point lower to 73 while the component gauging expectations in the next six months all fell a single point to 72. Meanwhile, the metric charting buyer traffic dropped two points to 49.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and West each held steady at 70 and 75, respectively. The Northeast fell three points to 54 and the Midwest also posted a three-point decline to stand at 62.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 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 for 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.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Update: 54 single-family residential building permits have been issued by Flagler County and Palm Coast through August 15.


Toby Tobin: REALTOR®, SRES®

I am a REALTOR® licensed by the State of Florida and Seniors Real Estate Specialist, SRES®, with Grand Living Realty, where 'The GoToby Team'  helps fellow aged 50+ buyers and sellers achieve improved outcomes in real estate transactions by integrating real estate decisions with other age-related decisions/plans through my broad network of respected service providers; financial, wills, trusts, probate, insurance, healthcare, home services, recreation, lifestyle, estate planning, and adult living facilities.

Take advantage of my "Been there. Done that." experience, typically at no additional cost to you. Call me at (386) 931-7124 or email me at Toby@GoToby.com.

Be sure to listen to my radio show, Real Estate Mattersevery Saturday morning right after the 11:00 A.M. news break on WNZF News Radio (1550 AM or 94.9 FM). Download the Flagler Radio App from the App Store so you can hear Real Estate Matters anywhere in the world.

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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.