Saturday, March 28th17.4°C
25657

Measure of US homebuilders' confidence falls as winter weather dims sales outlook

U.S. homebuilders' confidence in the housing market declined sharply this month as the severe weather battering much of the nation keeps many would-be buyers at home.

Storms and cold weather dampened builders' outlook for sales ahead of the spring home-selling season and could further slow the pace of home construction.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday slid to 46. That's down from January's reading of 56 and is the lowest level since May.

Readings below 50 indicate that more builders view sales conditions as poor rather than good.

Builders' view of current sales conditions for single-family homes, their outlook for sales over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers have all declined since January.

The overall index had been above 50 since June, reflecting a strengthening housing market. The latest reading complicates the outlook for sales just as the annual spring buying season ramps up. Typically, the spring season sets the pattern for residential hiring and construction in the ensuing months.

Sales of new homes jumped 16.4 per cent last year to 428,000, the highest level in five years. Sales typically slow in November and December. But this winter's onslaught of snowfall and freezing temperatures has exacerbated the seasonal slowdown. Economists predict that sales of new homes fell for the third month in a row in January.

The builder survey adds to reports showing that severe weather this winter has taken a toll on the economy. Auto sales fell 2.1 per cent in January and posted their first year-over-year drop in sales since August 2010. Retail sales also tumbled last month after a smaller decline in December.

"The weather also hurt retail and auto sales, and this had a contributing effect on demand for new homes," said David Crowe, the NAHB's chief economist.

Builders also continue to grapple with a shortage of skilled workers and ready-to-build land and delays in obtaining building materials, Crowe noted.

Those factors and the weather dimmed the outlook for some of the respondents polled in the latest NAHB survey, which included responses from 321 builders.

A measure of current sales conditions for single-family homes dropped 11 points to 51. Builders' outlook for single-family home sales over the next six months fell 6 points to 54. And a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers slid nine points from last month to 40.

Even so, most economists expect U.S. home sales and prices to keep rising this year.

The housing market has been recovering steadily over the past two years, helping boost economic growth and hiring. Home construction slowed in December but ended 2013 with the best showing since the housing bubble burst.

Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the homebuilders association.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

25607


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14812.42-57.38
S&P CDNX681.43+1.87
DJIA17712.66+34.43
Nasdaq4891.22+27.86
S&P 5002061.02+4.87
CDN Dollar0.7928-0.0082
Gold1196.30-8.80
Oil48.43-3.00
Lumber282.40-3.60
Natural Gas2.62-0.05

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.125-0.005
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.50+0.00
Cantex0.03-0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.219+0.009
Metalex Ventures0.04-0.01
Russel Metals24.50-0.18
Copper Mountain Mining1.13+0.00
Colorado Resources0.125+0.010
ReliaBrand Inc0.006-0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.045+0.000
Mission Ready Services0.255+0.020
Decisive Dividend Corporation1.80+0.02

 



25718

FEATURED Property
17961112605 Thacker Drive, Kelowna, BC
10065287 bedrooms
$2,895,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


CRA Notice of Assessment

Many Canadians rush to file their taxes on time each year and don’t think about it until the next year. One of the most overlooked notices received from the CRA annually is the annual Notice of ...


Medical confidential?

If ICBC asks your doctor for your information you may wonder: Can ICBC ask my doctor for my medical information? Can ICBC request a medical report from my doctor without my consent? What is ICBC entit...


Stay out of sales limbo!

Have you ever had a series of good meetings with a prospect … gathered all kinds of information … and given what you thought was a great presentation … only to receive a response ...

_





25666


Member of BC Press Council


25577