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Lumber Prices and Rising Rates Take a Toll on Builder Confidence; Another Long-Term Rate High Ahead of Fed

Lumber Prices and Rising Rates Take a Toll on Builder Confidence; Another Long-Term Rate High Ahead of Fed

Escalating costs took a toll on builder confidence this month. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said its Housing Market Index dipped two points from its February level. At 82 it is down 8 points from the all-time high it established last November. NAHB's chief economist Robert Dietz said, while there is still a high volume of buyer traffic and strong consumer demand, rising lumber prices, especially for softwood lumber and other material costs as well as delivery delays, have pushed builder confidence lower. Lumber prices are up by about 200 percent since April, driven by shortages and high demand. This his added about $24,000 to the price of a new home at a time when interest rates are also rising. Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 35 years, the
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