Industry group blames D.C. for flat builder confidence

An industry group blames lackluster builder confidence largely on budget uncertainty in Washington.

Builder confidence remained flat in November, but most builders still view market conditions as good, according to a report released Monday.

Confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes stayed unchanged this month from a downwardly revised October level of 54, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

While builder confidence remains above the 50% mark, the score is still a bit lackluster. NAHB officials say the blame for that rests largely on budget uncertainty in Washington.

“Given the current interest rate and pricing environment, consumers continue to show interest in purchasing new homes, but are holding back because Congress keeps pushing critical decisions on budget, tax and government spending issues down the road,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. “Meanwhile, builders continue to face challenges related to rising construction costs and low appraisals.”

“Policy and economic uncertainty is undermining consumer confidence,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “The fact that builder confidence remains above 50 is an encouraging sign, considering the unresolved debt and federal budget issues cause builders and consumers to remain on the sideline.”