Homebuilder sentiment cools in April following record reading in March

Work on new houses in New Orleans, Louisiana

Melanie Stetson Freeman | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images
Work on new houses in New Orleans, Louisiana

A survey of confidence among American home builders fell in April but remains optimistic headed into the spring, new data showed Monday.

The National Association of Home Builders said its housing-market index fell by three points to 68 in April. The index reached 71 in March, its strongest reading since June 2005.

Economists expected home builder confidence for the month of April to hit 70, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Last month’s results were the highest seen on the index in 12 years, as President Donald Trump has been viewed as rolling back regulations in the industry.

In Monday’s report, the trade group’s chief economist, Robert Dietz, said “there is continued demand for new construction,” but “builders are facing several challenges” including “hefty regulatory costs and ongoing increases in building material prices.”

“Even with this month’s modest drop, builder confidence is on very firm ground, and builders are reporting strong interest among potential home buyers,” NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald added in a statement.

All three of the index’s components reported losses in April but are maintaining healthy levels. The components gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 74, while the index charting sales expectations over the next six months dropped three points to 75. Lastly, the component measuring buyer traffic fell one point to 52.

Note: The Housing Market Index is based on a monthly survey of NAHB members targeting the single-family housing market. The survey asks respondents to rate market conditions for the sale of new homes at the present time and in the next six months, as well as the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes.

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