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
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.


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