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Severe weather shakes builders’ confidence

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After hurricanes rocked the South and Southeast in the past month, builder confidence dipped due to the storms’ impact on labor and materials. The Housing Market Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo shows confidence falling three points in September to 64.

The index is determined by gauging builder perception of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, as well as traffic of perspective buyers.

“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.”

Meanwhile, housing starts were steady in August, falling just 0.8 percent to 1.18 million units, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family starts jumped 1.6 percent over July and 8.9 percent from the same time last year. However, multi-family starts dropped 6.5 percent from July.

“This month’s report shows that single-family starts continue to move forward at a gradual, consistent pace,” Dietz said. “The three-month average for single-family production has reached a post-recession high, but the months ahead may show volatility given that the building markets affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma represent about 14 percent of national production.”

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