Ekonomické zprávy

U.S. homebuilder confidence unexpectedly improves in March

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) reported on Monday its housing market index (HMI) jumped to 51 in March from an unrevised February reading of 48. This marked the fourth straight monthly improvement in builder sentiment and represented the highest reading since July 2023 (56).

Economists had forecast the HMI to hold steady at 48.

A reading over 50 indicates more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three major HMI components demonstrated increases in early March. The component tracking current sales conditions surged 4 points to 56, the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers rose 2 points to 34, and the component charting sales expectations in the next six months also increased 2 points to 62.

Commenting on the latest report, NAHB Chairman Carl Harris noted that buyer demand remains brisk, and more consumers are expected to jump off the sidelines and into the marketplace if mortgage rates continue to fall later this year. “But even though there is strong pent-up demand, builders continue to face several supply-side challenges, including a scarcity of buildable lots and skilled labour, and new restrictive codes that continue to increase the cost of building homes,” he added.

Meanwhile, NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said that with the Federal Reserve expected to announce future rate cuts in the second half of 2024, lower financing costs will draw many prospective buyers into the market. However, he warned that, as home-building activity picks up, builders will likely grapple with rising material prices, particularly for lumber.

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