Gains in home builder confidence stalls

Sept. 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- A U.S. home builders confidence index fell flat in September after four months of increases, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday.

The trade group said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index held steady at 58, one point under expectations, but remaining at an eight-year high.

"While builder confidence is holding ... many are reporting some hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the sharp increase in interest rates," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson in a statement.

"Home buyers are adjusting to the fact that, while mortgage rates are still quite favorable on a historic basis, the record lows are probably a thing of the past," Judson said.

The index climbed above 50 for the first time in more than seven years in June. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales as good than poor, the NAHB said.

"We are seeing a pause in the momentum as consumers wait to see where interest rates settle and as the headwinds of tight credit, shrinking supplies of lots for development and increasing labor costs continue," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

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