PhotoThere's been a drop in builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes -- and you can blame Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The Housing Market Index (HMI) calculated by the the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo fell three points in September to a level of 64.

At the same time, the August reading was revised down a point to 67.

“The recent hurricanes have intensified our members’ concerns about the availability of labor and the cost of building materials,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “Once the rebuilding process is underway, I expect builder confidence will return to the high levels we saw this spring.”

The survey

The HMI is derived from a monthly survey that gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” Builders are asked to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.”

Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components posted losses in September but remain at healthy levels. The component gauging current sales conditions fell four points to 70 and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped four points to 74. The component measuring buyer traffic slipped a single point to 47.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the West was up three points to 77 and the Northeast rose one point to 49. The South dropped a single point to 66 and the Midwest fell three points to 63.

“Despite this month’s drop, builder confidence is still on very firm ground,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “With ongoing job creation, economic growth and rising consumer confidence, we should see the housing market continue to recover at a gradual, steady pace throughout the rest of the year.”


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