NEW YORK Feb 18 U.S. homebuilder confidence
suffered its largest one-month drop ever in February, hit by
this winter's relentlessly severe weather and concerns about the
costs of labor and building lots, the National Association of
Home Builders said on Tuesday.
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index plunged by 10
points to 46 in February from 56 in January.
"Significant weather conditions across most of the country
led to a decline in buyer traffic last month," the
Washington-based industry group's chairman, Kevin Kelly, said in
a statement. "Builders also have additional concerns about
meeting ongoing and future demand due to a shortage of lots and
It was the first time since May that the reading was below
the key 50 mark. Readings below 50 mean more builders view
market conditions as poor than favorable.
"Clearly, constraints on the supply chain for building
materials, developed lots and skilled workers are making
builders worry," NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in the
same statement from the group. "The weather also hurt retail and
auto sales and this had a contributing effect on demand for new
All three of the index's major components declined in
The survey's index on homebuilders' views on current sales
conditions fell 11 points to 51, the lowest level since May,
from 62 in January.
The gauge of expectations for single-family home sales for
the next six months fell 6 points to 54, a nine-month low, from
60 the month before.
The component on prospective buyer traffic dropped 9 points
to 31 from 40 in January. February's level was the lowest since
April, when it came in at 30.
(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)