NEW YORK Homebuilder sentiment waned for the third month in a row in April, with builders citing increasing materials costs and supply chain concerns, the National Association of Home Builders said on Monday.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index slipped to 42 from 44 in March, shy of economists' expectations for a pick up to 45.
The index has not been above the 50 mark that signals more builders view market conditions as favorable since April 2006, when the housing market collapse was taking hold. Even so, the index staged a strong come back in 2012 and is 18 points above where it was a year ago.
"Supply chains for building materials, developed lots and skilled workers will take some time to re-establish themselves following the recession, and in the meantime builders are feeling squeezed by higher costs and limited availability issues," NAHB chief economist David Crowe said in a statement.
The single-family home sales component fell to 45 from 47, while prospective buyer traffic eased to 30 from 34.
Still, the outlook for the coming months was more optimistic as builders pointed to low inventory and mortgage rates, and improved consumer confidence. The gauge of single-family sales expectations for the next six months rose to 53 from 50.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)