Builder Confidence Continues Its Downward Slide in September | Economy

For the ninth straight month, builders grew more pessimistic in September, the National Association of Homebuilders reported on Monday.

At 46, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is now at its lowest level since the spring of 2014, except for a brief spell in the spring of 2020 as the coronavirus was first reaching the country.

Buyer traffic is weak in many markets as more consumers remain on the sidelines due to high mortgage rates and home prices that are putting a new home purchase out of financial reach for many households,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, a Savannah, Georgia, builder and developer.

“In another indicator of a weakening market, 24% of builders reported reducing home prices, up from 19% last month,” Konter added.

The housing market, once red hot and a symbol of strength curing the pandemic, is being buffeted by the twin forces of rising prices and higher mortgage rates. While there have been recent signs that prices are stabilizing, or even falling in some markets, mortgage rates are still nearly double what they were a year ago.

Current sales conditions dropped 3 points to 54 in the HMI index, while sales expectations in the next six months declined one point to 46 and buyer traffic fell 1 point to 31.

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