Industry News

Builder confidence in 5-month slide

Inventories, affordability problems high on industry's radar

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Builder confidence is at its lowest level in more than 16 years, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. The NAHB's Housing Market Index (HMI) declined four points in July, to 24 -- the lowest level since January 1991, the group said. A number over 50 indicates more builders see sales conditions as good than poor. The index was last above 50 in April 2006, and has fallen every month since hitting a high for the year of 39 in February. The group blamed a surplus of unsold homes on the market, ongoing concerns in the subprime mortgage arena, and affordability issues associated with tightened lending standards and higher interest rates, for the erosion in builder confidence. "The bottom line is that the single-family housing market is still in a correction process following the historic and unsustainable highs of the 2003-2005 period," said NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders in a statement. "Builders are actively trimming p...