US homebuilder confidence nears 8-year high

By Qiong (June) Zhang43 Comments

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders is at its highest level in nearly 8 years, fueled by optimism that demand for new homes will drive sales growth into next year.

The brighter sales outlook is the latest sign pointing to a sustained pickup in construction in coming months and comes as applications for permits to build single-family houses are at a 5 year high.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday jumped to 59 this month from 56 in July. It was the fourth consecutive monthly gain.

Steady hiring, rising home prices and still-low mortgage rates are encouraging more people to buy homes. New-home sales jumped 8.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, the fastest pace in 5 years.

Applications for permits to build single-family homes rose for the third straight month in June to 624,000, the highest since May 2008. That suggests home construction should rebound in the coming months.

Many of the large, publicly traded homebuilders have been reporting sharp growth in completed sales and new-home orders this year. And sales for privately held U.S. homebuilders are up 18% over the past year, according to data provider Sageworks Inc.

On a regional basis, confidence grew in the West, Midwest and South, but was unchanged among builders in the Northeast.


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