Home builder confidence slips slightly in February

Hovering in the same three-point range during the past four months, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) slipped a point in February.

The measure of builder confidence declined from 47 in January to 46 in February, according to the data released Tuesday morning.

“This is partly due to ongoing uncertainties about job growth and consumer access to mortgage credit, but it’s also a reflection of the fact that builders are now confronting rising costs for building materials and, in some markets, limited availability of labor and lots as demand for new homes strengthens,” said NAHB chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

The decline in the index marked the first slip since April.

Three-month moving averages for each region’s HMI score were mixed in February, with the Northeast up three points to 39; the West up four points to 55; and the Midwest and South each down two points, to 48 and 47, respectively.