US housebuilder sentiment picks up a touch in August - NAHB
Sentiment among US housebuilders improved a touch in August, according to data released on Thursday.
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index ticked up to 66 from 65 in July, beating expectations for an unchanged reading.
The component gauging current sales conditions rose by two points to 73, while the component measuring traffic of prospective buyers rose two points to 50. The measure charting sales expectations in the next six months dipped one point to 70.
"Even as builders report a firm demand for single-family homes, they continue to struggle with rising construction costs stemming from excessive regulations, a chronic shortage of workers and a lack of buildable lots," said NAHB chairman Greg Ugalde.
Pantheon Macroeconomics said the headline index is still eight points shy of the cycle high, reached back in December 2017, despite the plunge in mortgage rates since last fall.
"We remain hopeful that demand will keep rising, but the response to the drop in rates so far has been slower than we had hoped, perhaps because lenders have tightened standards a bit this year," said economist Ian Shepherdson.